B.C. Attorney General David Eby announces changes to B.C.’s public insurance system. (B.C. government)

B.C. moves ahead on removing lawyers from ICBC cases

David Eby vows change will increase injury benefits

The B.C. government has introduced changes to Insurance Corp. of B.C. laws that Attorney General David Eby has predicted will lead to a “street fight” with personal injury lawyers over the enormous legal fees they generate suing the corporation.

Eby told the legislature Wednesday his latest amendments will deliver a promised 24-fold increase in the maximum payout for serious disabling injuries, from about $300,000 to $7.5 million, and in some cases even more to cover costs of life-long nursing care.

The new system takes effect in May 2021, and Eby says it will do more than improve care for seriously injured people. He vowed that it will increase wage loss payments by up to 60 per cent and finance a 20 per cent reduction in premiums paid by B.C. drivers next year. Basic ICBC insurance rates are to be frozen after April 1 this year.

The changes are to be financed by continuing the NDP government’s move to divert disputes from court to a new civil resolution tribunal, which already is dealing with smaller disputes. Getting all cases out of court is expected to save ICBC an estimated $1.5 billion in legal fees, courtroom experts and related costs once the changes are in effect.

RELATED: Horgan rejects ‘no fault’ description of new ICBC rules

RELATED: ICBC shifting to Alberta model, private insurers say

The Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. has questioned the independence of the tribunal approach, since its members are appointed by the provincial government and make decisions that directly impact ICBC’s bottom line. Soaring injury claims and legal costs have contributed to a $2.5 billion net loss in ICBC operations over the past two years, forcing the government to transfer money from its general budget to keep the corporation afloat.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada, representing private insurance companies, noted that ICBC’s proposed rate reduction will cost it $713 million in sales revenue. ICBC’s own books show its capital reserves are “significantly depleted” and well below its management and regulatory targets after the years of substantial payouts and losses, IBC representative Aaron Sutherland said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureICBC

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Women win provincial award for Williams Lake Farmers Market work

Co-market managers Jane Bowser and Barb Scharf share the honour

WLIB breaks ground on $8 million-plus administration building construction project

Safety precautions will be in place to protect workes on site against COVID-19

COVID-19: Williams Lake 83rd annual Bull Show and Sale goes online only

The event is one ranchers look forward to every year

DOWN TO EARTH: Adjusting to our new normal

Water wise instructor says school shutdown prompts finding ways to reach out to community

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

Most Read