Kelowna West B.C. Libertarian candidate Kyle Geronazzo with his electonic billboard sign questioning ICBC rates.—Image: contributed

Kelowna West B.C. Libertarian candidate Kyle Geronazzo with his electonic billboard sign questioning ICBC rates.—Image: contributed

Kelowna West Libertarian goes after ICBC

Kyle Geronazzo feels B.C. drivers are being “ripped off” by the provincial auto insurer

He may be new to politics, but Kelowna West Libertarian candidate Kyle Geronazzo is wasting no time making a visible entrance into the campaign.

Geronazzo has taken out an ad on a large electronic billboard on the Westside, advertising his campaign and asking the public if they are “being ripped off by ICBC.”

The young candidate is going after the provincial auto insurer, saying British Columbians are been getting “gouged” on their auto insurance premiums.

“While prices have come down for collision, loss-of-use and other coverages since private insurers were allowed to compete with ICBC, for third-party liability coverage the opposite has happened,” said Geronazzo in a news release issued Friday.

Geronazzo is one of four candidates in the Kelowna West byelection race. He is running against B.C. Liberal Ben Stewart, B.C. Green Robert Stupka and Shelley Cook of the NDP.

“While ICBC performs important functions as a regulator, its insurance business is a Frankenstein that combines the worst parts of public and private sector organizations. In good times, it can make profits, but these can be pilfered by governments to balance their books. In bad times, the ratepayers have to pick up the tab with higher premiums.”

And he predicted more bad times are ahead, saying ICBC has warned it could raise rates by more than 40 per cent over the next five years.

Geronazzo said more competition is needed and he is advocating removing ICBC’s monopoly on basic auto liability insurance to create what he says would be a truly competitive insurance market.

“Virtually every other jurisdiction in North America has gone this route and it hasn’t been a disaster,” says Geronazzo. “In fact, premiums have gone down and the level of customer satisfaction has gone up.”

Both Premier John Horgan and B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver were in the riding recently to help raise the profile of their respective candidates prior to Horgan’s byelection call earlier this week. Both men have promised to be back often during the campaign.

Candidates running for leadership of the B.C. Liberal Party have also been in the riding to help Stewart campaign.

On Saturday, Social Development Minister Shane Simpson will join Cook at her campaign office in the Westbank Shopping Centre to help her kick off her campaign.

The byelection has been called for Feb. 14.

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