Skip to content

British Columbians want auto insurance choice – regardless who they vote for

As the NDP try to douse the ‘dumpster fire,’ so far they’re ignoring the one option even their voters want
Daniel Avram /

British Columbians want choice in auto insurance – regardless of party affiliation, according to a new poll.

An overwhelming 82% of British Columbians support the introduction of choice – and they feel strongly about it. Fully 57% strongly support, with only 9% strongly opposed. That’s a 6 to 1 margin. Those numbers are remarkably consistent across party lines. 84% of BC Liberals and 85% of Green voters support choice – along with 80% of NDP voters.

Attitudes among NDP voters appear to be shifting. A survey asking the same question in September 2017 – slightly more than 15 months ago – found 67% of NDP voters supporting choice in auto insurance.

Still more than two-thirds, but less than a year and a half later, a 13-point shift is noteworthy.

When given potential options of what to do with ICBC if it were opened to competition, the majority of respondents want it taken out of government control. 42% chose “turn ICBC into a co-op owned by drivers in B.C.” as their first choice, and 41% as their second choice.

The other options, “Sell ICBC’s assets and operations to a private insurance company,” and “Keep ICBC as a government run corporation,” respectively, received much less support.

Support for government’s current efforts to place limits on payouts minor injuries following accidents is remarkably strong with 74% of respondents in favor. The numbers were also remarkably consistent across party lines.

However, there is little support to further curtail the right of accident victims to sue for pain and suffering and move towards a no-fault style insurance system similar to Saskatchewan or Quebec. Only 10% of respondents strongly favour such a move.

Introduced under an NDP government in the 1970s, ICBC has long been an article of faith for party faithful. As the poll indicates, while NDP voters were much more likely to have a positive view of ICBC – those numbers are slipping. 41% of NDP voters reported either a very favourable or somewhat favourable opinion, compared with just 26% of Green voters, and 19% of BC Liberal voters.

The survey, done by Maple Leaf Strategies for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, of 800 residents of British Columbia was conducted via telephone between January 16 and 20, 2019, with a margin of error of +/- 3.5%, 19 times out of 20.

Maclean Kay is Editor-in-Chief of The Orca

To see the detailed results, click here: IBC January 2019 Tables for release - Final