A crash in Nanaimo’s Wakesiah area a little over a year ago. (News Bulletin file photo)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Incentivize safer driving

We are effectively just socializing the cost of road accidents here, says letter writer

To the editor,

Re: Let’s have a referendum on auto insurance in B.C., Letters, Jan. 14.

Recent debate in these pages has got me thinking more deeply about auto insurance.

In most advanced economies, driving is a privilege and drivers are required to have the means to cover the cost of their errors – i.e. mandatory insurance. In the normal situation where the private sector provides insurance, companies manage their total risk by competing for the lowest risk customers by offering low premiums. Higher risk customers pay more and have less choice. The highest risk customers become uninsurable, effectively losing their driving privilege.

Our situation in B.C. is totally different because the government is the ‘insurer.’ It has no one to compete with. So why does it adjust premiums according to risk? We are effectively just socializing the cost of road accidents here. The valid reason to vary premiums would be to influence driver behaviour so as to reduce the overall cost and make roads safer. But if that were the strategy, then why do we take one big risk factor – driving experience – and make it more expensive for young drivers to accomplish? It would make much more sense to incentivize things people can control, like GPS speed data logs, or accident-free kilometres driven, or regular skills updates and retests. And to penalize for infractions of course.

I can only imagine that the government is dancing around public opinion and sense of fair play, making our cost-socialization scheme look like the risk-weighted private sector alternative, in order to keep it in the public sector, and in order to avoid having to confront us with the fact that driving is indeed a privilege. This is a fudge. We should either open auto insurance to the private sector and let the market set the rates, or we should set rates to incentivize behaviours that deliver better collective outcomes on the roads.

Andy Reynolds, Nanaimo

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Insurance rates discriminatory

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Private insurers discriminate, too

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Beefs & Bouquets, Feb. 20

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Snuneymuxw flag once again flying atop Nanaimo City Hall

Ceremony held Thursday to return flag after it was taken down in 2017

‘Stretched’ art show returns to Gabriola Island

Artists challenged to create works on six-by-36-inch long canvases

Coldest Night of the Year walkers to brave elements this weekend

Fundraiser benefits Island Crisis Care Society in Nanaimo

Proposed garden at Maffeo Sutton Park goes $186,000 over budget

City of Nanaimo’s finance and audit committee recommends funding the shortfall

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

Burger King breaks the mould with new advertising campaign

The company is known for irreverent ad campaigns

Maggie and Tim: B.C. residential school survivor turns to faith, forgiveness in mourning son

A young man’s tragic death and his mother’s survival through hardship

PHOTOS: RCMP call on kids to name latest police puppy recruits

This year’s theme is the letter ‘N,’ and 13 German shephards must be named

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett standing by to return to Smithers

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

Most Read