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ICBC privatized

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In Canada, six provinces (Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland & Labrador) rely entirely on private insurers to provide auto insurance. Saskatchewan and Manitoba are much like BC in that government-owned insurers have a monopoly over basic auto insurance but compete with private companies in the market for optional insurance coverage. Quebecs government monopoly for basic coverage does not compete with private insurers for optional insurance.

A 2011 Fraser Institute study comparing automobile insurance premiums found that from 2007 to 2009, auto insurance has been the most costly and least affordable in British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewanthree of which are provinces with government-run auto insurance monopolies.

Given the recent ICBC executive pay revelations and the fact that BC has among the highest premiums in the country, drivers should be asking why the provincial government continues to restrict competition and consumer choice.

The benefits of privatizing crown corporations are well established in the academic literature. For example, renowned privatization experts, Professors William Megginson and Jeffry Netter, provided the most comprehensive review of worldwide privatizations in a 2001 study published in the prestigious Journal of Economic Literature. They found both short- and long-term benefits to economies undertaking privatizations. In the short term, taxpayers gained through one-time revenues from the sale of government assets. In the longer term, privatization improved firm performance and increased economic growth.

If British Columbians want cheaper automobile insurance and an end to politicized staffing and pay at ICBC, privatize it.

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