Johnny Depp, in a scene from Pirates of the Caribean, is chased across the beach by a hostile tribe. If you want to empathize with Johnny, criticize ICBC on twitter. The hoards will descend. Some have memes and aren’t afraid to use them.
David Black (President of MoveUp who has 5,000 ICBC members or 40% of their union), Jeffrey Ferrier (public affairs communicator for P.R. firm National), Meli Maher (MoveUp executive), Annette Toth (MoveUp Vice President) and friends shared their defence of ICBC which can be best summed up by a tweet from Ms. Maher:
“I’ve had back and forth between one potential @BCLiberals candidate who wants ICBC dissolved and 5,000 plus of us to lose our jobs! This is what they stand for! Money in their pockets not in the working class of B.C.!”
In ICBC’s mandate letter 12 December 2018 it states that it is required to “provide Basic universal compulsory and Optional vehicle insurance in an integrated manner for B.C. motorists, and is dedicated to providing customers with the best insurance coverage and service, at the lowest possible cost.”
What is going on today with ICBC?
Nothing good. ICBC persuaded NDP Eby to implement a driver risk model that has made insurance extremely expensive, some argue unaffordably so, for young drivers. It targets age, experience, and where you live rather than a driver’s record. Mr. Black acknowledged on twitter that “this needs to be worked on”. Mr. Black is the President of the union representing employees; he is not on the management board of ICBC, or is he? Judging by this weekend’s tweets, many of us are left with the distinct impression that MoveUp runs the ICBC show today.
“ICBC will book a one-time hit of $400 million on the year’s financial statements over the loss on the medical experts’ case, according to Eby.
Defeat on the latter two reforms would mean a further $1 billion hit to the books, reckons Eby.” Vancouver Sun 2 November 2019
MoveUp President Black disputes that ICBC is in the red, he tweeted that ICBC has produced a small surplus for 2019. More importantly:
“Once the people of B.C. votes out the incompetent Liberals, the losses went with them. Want to make sure that care insurance is affordable and sustainable? Never elect a Liberal government again.”, David Black (President of MoveUp), “Those losses were a result of Liberal management and neglect.”
Are the MoveUp executives right?
In the mandate letter 12 December 2018, the BC NDP Government highlights the need for “the rationalization of the corporation’s operational real estate portfolio”. If the NDP is telling you that you have too many buildings, you have too many buildings. That rationalization plan is supposed to be delivered this December.
Those buildings have printers, photocopiers, staff, hydro bills… insurance that they renew online. They are a cost to the B.C. taxpayer.
Online renewal of insurance in the rest of the world is as standard as checking your bank balance using your phone. MoveUp has fought this initiative with a Public Relations campaign aimed at persuading B.C. that it isn’t safe to do so. Carole James, among other NDP MLAs/Ministers, was watching the twitter debate and appeared to agree that it’s time to go online. (See the tweet she liked.) Why then is Eby refusing to tell ICBC to make this option available? Who runs ICBC?
This year in B.C., we have witnessed a crisis in Forestry. Forestry is a core industry for this province. Auto insurance is not. One adds to our GDP and economy, the other is a cost. Thousands of Forestry workers are unemployed and communities in crisis. In response, the NDP Government repurposed $69 million that had already been allocated to rural B.C. communities and called it a two-year Forestry fund. In comparison to ICBC for whom they are willing to risk $1.4 billion this year.
The BC Liberals left $2 billion in surplus to shore up ICBC or B.C. Hydro if needed (the two most significant risks to our economy, according to Moody’s & S&P). That surplus has vanished without investing in desperately needed infrastructure, and our economy is heading directly into a recession with job losses continuing month-on-month. Mr Black, when questioned on this risk, stated that B.C.’s credit rating is ironclad and not in danger. (Has anybody got a copy of both Moody’s & S&Ps report to pass to him?)
The obfuscation of the issues was remarkably sophisticated and co-ordinated. With a P.R. specialist (Jeffrey Ferrier of National) and all the union executives busily labeling me a worker-hating B.C. Liberal who wants to line the pockets of Toronto based private insurers, Mr. Ferrier consistently brought up the U.S. medical insurance model as if that is in any way relevant or applicable. Anything to scare us, it seems, no matter how ridiculous, from demanding an independent review of ICBC.
If you are curious about other models that work, take a look at the Australian auto insurance industry, Alberta and Washington, or even in B.C. dental and life insurance industries. Choosing the worst of the worst insurance models that exist on earth today speaks to a lack of communication ethics.
It is time to ask these Union Executives and their PR pals: who made you the ICBC boss? I am pro-labour, I am pro-Union, but I am adamantly against a group that feels entitled to exist on the backs of B.C. taxpayers and our young drivers. Just to prove that point, a photo of me with the 300 North Delta workers locked out recently. Not one NDP MLA or Minister cared or showed up.