February 13, 2018 4:15 pm
Updated: February 13, 2018 4:17 pm

Auditor General considers bumping up timeline for review of ICBC capital reserves

A Mazda at the scene of a vehicle incident in Maple Ridge on Feb. 1, 2018.

Shane MacKichan/Global News

B.C.’s Auditor General may bump up its timeline for a closer look at ICBC’s finances.

Carol Bellringer says the Crown corporation was added to her office’s watch list last fall, with questions swirling about the insurer’s capital reserves.

READ MORE: B.C. government to bring in caps on pain and suffering ICBC payouts

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“We weren’t planning to get the project started right away because we thought it was a longer-term conversation,” Bellringer said.

“It sounds like we might speed up the timing on that.”

Earlier this month, the province announced major changes to ICBC designed to shave about $1 billion in losses from the Crown corporation’s balance sheet. The public insurer posted a $1.3-billion loss in the 2017-18 fiscal year.

READ MORE: ‘This is not sustainable’: ICBC loses $935M in first 9 months of fiscal year

Those changes will include a $5,000 cap on pain and suffering payments for minor injuries, the use of a civil resolution tribunal to keep cases out of the courts and increasingly funding medical treatment in place of cash payouts.

The NDP government has also initiated a pair of reviews of the public insurer, one by PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) aimed directly at ICBC, and one by independent consultants looking at a number of Crown corporations.

The PwC review identified about $60 million in potential ICBC savings.

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“We are keeping an eye on what reviews are taking place within the ministry, and then we’ll decide what we are going to do,” Bellringer said.

“That’s why were are looking with great interest at the changes that are being communicated for where the capital reserves are going at ICBC.”

The auditor general’s office does not regularly conduct reviews of large Crown corporations such as ICBC, but does verify their financial statements annually after external audits.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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