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

Woodyatt seeks help to pursue physics education in London

Ballenas Secondary product gets accepted to prestigious university in United Kingdom

Solar system spending, asbestos removal in SD69 plan

Green house gas emission report received at May 22 board meeting

Gr. 7s learn about digital safety, health, consent at con in Parksville

SD69 hosts first Health and Wellness Conference for students headed to high school

Qualicum Beach east village plans take shape

Staff moving forward with east village concept

Three-for-one at Parksville studio for tour

Local artists participating in Central Island Studio Tour May 26-27

VIDEO: Meet some of the Vancouver Island Tribute Festival performers

The NEWS speaks with Elvis, Liberace tribute artists and others before they go on parade

Giant beer tanks arrive in new B.C. home city

Molson Coors tanks finish river journey and move to overland trip in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Pipeline supporters rally across B.C.

Five simultaneous events organized by month-old Suits and Boots lobby group

VIDEO: B.C. woman praises burn fund after boat explosion in 1978

White Rock woman was 16 years old when she was left with second- and third-degree burns

B.C.’s Ryan Craig, Vegas Golden Knights chase history

Local product behind bench for expansion team’s incredible championship run

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

RCMP investigating after gunshots fired in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP officers are investigating after gunshots rang out in Courtenay… Continue reading

Vancouver Island wife brings husband back to life with CPR, thanks to 911 dispatcher

‘The dispatcher literally taught me CPR over the phone’

Most Read