VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – An audit aimed at cutting waste, fraud and over-billing at ICBC will be done by one of Canada’s leading accounting firms.
This follows an exclusive NEWS 1130 story about body shops inflating repair costs.
An audit has been in the works since Attorney General David Eby confirmed premiums for most BC drivers are climbing more than six per cent — that rate hike starts today.
PwC Canada has now been chosen to lead an operational review in the wake of bad decisions Eby says were repeatedly made by the former Liberal government.
“We’re directing PricewaterhouseCoopers to pull 100 random files at ICBC and do a full going-over of the contents of the file to make sure that good decisions are being made,” Eby tells NEWS 1130. “And also, strangely, for the first time, apparently, we are directing this organization to speak to front line employees that have concerns about waste or fraud or opportunities for cost saving, and it seems pretty obvious to me that we should be talking to the employees of ICBC, but apparently that hasn’t been directed before.”
Listen to NEWS 1130’s Marcella Bernardo’s full interview with David Eby:
Eby believes there are opportunities to find savings, and the review is aimed at addressing what he refers to as “gaps” in previous audits.
“This is a corporation that belongs to the public and lost 500, well lost almost half a billion dollars last year. So it continues to lose money at quite an astounding rate, so there is some urgency in this and certainly if there are any opportunities that are identified early we want to begin the process of implementing them right away.”
As we reported yesterday, he’s also promising to make improvements identified while the audit is underway and he’s seeking the advice of front-line workers like Lance Leswick. He’s the estimator at Surrey’s Newton Claim Centre who told NEWS 1130 repeated attempts to expose evidence of over-billing were ignored as far back as 2001, when the former Liberal government gave body shops the power to directly bill ICBC for repairs.
Former Transportation minister Todd Stone issued a statement today.
“As I did with any issue that put upward pressure on insurance rates for British Columbia drivers during my time as Minister, I took allegations of fraud at ICBC extremely seriously. In fact, last December I announced ICBC’s implementation of new fraud analytics tools which are projected to save up to $44 Mill a year by 2019. However, on this particular allegation, concerns related to potential over-billing at body shops were never brought to my attention.”