ICBC projects deficit of $1.3 billion as growth in injury claims and costs piles up. (Black Press files)

ICBC reform aims to slow rising car insurance costs

‘Pain and suffering’ payouts to be capped, major injury limit to double

The B.C. government is moving ahead with promised reforms to the Insurance Corporation of B.C., which has seen a huge increase in injury claim costs and a projected deficit of more than $1 billion a year.

Attorney General David Eby introduced the legislation Monday, to act on his promise in February to impose limits on the growing payouts from vehicle accident claims.

A second bill creates allows insurance disputes of under $50,000 to be dealt with by a civil resolution tribunal. The Attorney General’s ministry said in a statement the new structure would allow these disputes to be dealt with in as little as 90 days, compared to two to three years in B.C. Supreme Court.

RELATED: ICBC to cap pain and suffering awards

The cap of $5,500 for pain and suffering and other changes are to take effect April 1, 2019, and is expected to save ICBC up to $1 billion a year. The Crown corporation has seen a steep increase in costs for minor injury claims, with the average rising to $30,000 each. A third of that cost is legal fees, which ICBC has to pay for lawyers and expert reports even if claims are settled out of court.

ICBC has also seen a steep increase in the number of accident claims in recent years, and has tracked a 30 per cent increase in body shop costs as well. The corporation is running advertisements reminding people to check the alignment of their vehicle headrests to prevent whiplash-type injuries in a collision.

The rising costs have continued after a 6.4 per cent basic insurance rate increase was approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission in January. That translates to an average increase of $4.75 per month for basic personal insurance coverage, which took effect Nov. 1 on an interim basis.

The changes include a doubling of the maximum payout for serious injuries, from $150,000 to $300,000. It’s the first increase in 25 years in the amount to pay for nursing care, medical, dental, occupational and funeral costs.

“It is unacceptable, not just the British Columbians faced skyrocketing rates while ICBC lost hundreds of millions of dollars, but also that benefits for injured drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians have been frozen in time for a quarter century,” Eby said.

“We are rebalancing where ICBC premium dollars go. We’re shifting the money out of administration, expert reports and court processes, and into drivers’ pockets through stable rates and better benefits.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Columbia Basin Trust funds $1 million in environment grants

Reptiles, grizzlies and more to benefit from the projects

Revelstoke Community Choir presents Candy Canes & Carols

The Revelstoke Community Choir presented their annual Christmas performance on Sunday and… Continue reading

Funding available for caribou habitat restoration

The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation is now accepting grant applications

UPDATE: Sagmoen to stand trial

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will appear on all three Vernon matters this week

Crash temporarily closes Trans Canada Highway near Sicmaous

DriveBC reported the accident at 3 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

Most Read