The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) says it will cut up to 800 jobs by the end of the year, in a move that some observers expect is in preparation for competition in the provincial auto insurance market. The government-run insurance corporation has had a monopoly on insurance in the province, but Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell vowed during his election campaign to eliminate that situation and allow private insurance companies to compete with ICBC. ICBC says the cuts are necessary to allow the corporation to operate “as cost-effectively as possible.” The cuts will reduce IBC’s staff size by 12.5% from 6,400 employees. ICBC chief executive officer Thom Thompson says that employees affected by the cuts will be offered voluntary separation and early retirement packages. “Over the coming weeks, work will continue on a detailed implementation plan for these changes,” Thompson says. “We expect that all areas will have their implementation planning completed in late September, and that all of the required changes will be completed by the end of 2001.” Thompson added that the cuts will be broad and will affect union staff and management alike.