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Mysterious ‘ICBC Monopoly’ board game encourages players to avoid losing money

An unknown individual or organization has produced an ICBC Monopoly board game criticizing the public insurer.
An unknown individual or organization has produced an ICBC Monopoly board game criticizing the public insurer. Richard Zussman/Global News

A new board game is asking players “How Long Can You Last?” before running out of money dealing ICBC.

The professional-looking board game has recently been sent to an unknown number of people and the creator of the game remains a mystery.

But the principle of the game is clear: ICBC is burning through money and the ‘player’ must stay financially afloat the longest to win. The goal is also to criticize the public insurer and the monopoly on basic car insurance in the province.

“Imagine a dystopian world, where a complacent, government monopoly over car insurance burns through billions of dollars in taxpayers’ money every year,” reads the start of the four page rule booklet.

“Everyday, there’s a new excuse for raising prices despite its clear financial mismanagement and head-scratching refusal to adopt technology from this century. Your challenge? Stay afloat as every interaction with this monopoly leaves you more frustrated and inching closer to bankruptcy.”

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Province moving to no-fault style insurance at ICBC
Province moving to no-fault style insurance at ICBC

The board game’s arrival coincides with the return of the B.C. legislature next week, where the government still needs to pass legislation to move to a no-fault-style insurance system.

ICBC’s monopoly has no shortage of critics, including the BC Liberal Party, the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, the Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Trial Lawyers’ Association.

No one has stepped forward to claim they created the game and there is no branding on the board or in the rule books.

The game is designed like a Monopoly board, and the tokens are chosen with the ICBC theme in mind, including a dumpster on fire, an insurance broker, a politician and a lawyer.

A politician, broker, ICBC employee and dumpster fire are all included as pieces for ICBC Monopoly.
A politician, broker, ICBC employee and dumpster fire are all included as pieces for ICBC Monopoly. Richard Zussman/Global News

Chance cards are replaced by “Mystery Letters” and “Renewal Notices” including ICBC premium jumps for hiring young employees, renewal notices and insurance broker commissions.

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“You’ll likely relate to a lot of the experiences depicted in the game, and we’ve added a few facts you might now be aware of. Be warned, this game may leave you just as frustrated with ICBC as you are in reality,” reads a note attached to the game.

Famous locations like Boardwalk and Park Place are replaced by communities across the province. The property cards describe how players can purchase brokerages and provides facts about the cost of car insurance in those communities.

The public insurer’s finances are currently in flux due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to a report published in mid-May, 103,700 British Columbians had cancelled their ICBC policies since the start of the pandemic.

READ MORE: No ICBC rebate yet despite lower crash rate, as COVID-19 impacts remain unclear

Lowering the insurance rate class has also been popular, with 57,561 ICBC customers doing that since the beginning of the pandemic.

These changes led to $283 million in declined revenues.

But ICBC opened 46 per cent fewer claims compared to the same time last year, with an average weekly reduction of 7,200 claims. The drop amounts to approximately $158 million in savings.

The pandemic is not included in the board game rules, but losses totaling more than $2 billion over the last two years are. There is also mention of ICBC losses insuring taxi and ride-sharing vehicles as well as the province’s inability to so far move ICBC renewals online.

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“You must buy ICBC insurance, yet these companies make up to 19% commission for each policy they sell,” the rule book reads.

“They also get commissions for providing licence plates, insurance decals for your licence plates and collecting fine from drivers. Nothing is done for free.”