Former Liberal MLA Barry Penner named ICBC chairman

VICTORIA – Former Liberal MLA Barry Penner is the new chairman of the Insurance Corporation of B.C.

Penner will start the job March 31, on a three year term, ICBC announced Tuesday.

“I’m honoured to have been asked to take on this challenging and important role,” he said in a statement.

“I’m looking forward to serving the people of British Columbia once again.”

Penner was B.C.’s longest-serving environment minister, and also held the roles of Attorney General and Minister of Aboriginal Relations during 16 years as the Liberal MLA for Chilliwack-Hope. He resigned in early 2012 to join a law firm, and then briefly moved to Myanmar.

Most recently, government had tapped him to review a contentious harbour dock proposal in Pender Harbour.

ICBC has been grappling with rising rates, caused in part by the increased cost of claims from crashes as well as fraud. The government has expressed disappointment at the continued rate hikes, and has in the past sharply criticized the Crown auto insurance agency for unacceptable proposals to raise rates before looking within the corporation for savings.

“Mr. Penner’s deep commitment to public and community service led him to accept the government’s request that he take on this challenging position,” said Transportation Minister Todd Stone.

“His extensive experience with government and the private sector will make him an excellent fit for this important role.”

Penner replaces accountant Ronald Olynyk, who had served as interim ICBC chairman since December after the retirement of Walter Gray.

Vancouver Sun