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

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.

BC legislatureICBC

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

Just Posted

North District RCMP are urging the public's assistance in locating Prince George resident Amber Wuetz, 25, last seen Oct. 18 in the Canim Mahood Lake area north of 100 Mile House. (Photo submitted)
Prince George woman confirmed dead, foul play not suspected

Police confirm Amber Wuertz was found deceased on Oct. 31

As winter gets underway the city is reminding residents of its snow and icy policy and the role residents have in clearing sidewalks and keeping vehicles and carts off the street when snow plows are in the area. (Monica Lamb-Yorski file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake reminds residents of snow and ice policy requirements

Clearing of snow and ice from sidewalks is responsiblity of property owners

Masks are now officially mandatory in all City of Campbell River facilities. (Black Press File Photo)
Interior Health reports 49 new COVID-19 cases overnight

302 cases remain active; two in hospital

Quesnel Kangaroos forward Justin Fulton (17) fires the puck on Stampeders goaltender Matt Brenner’s (37) during a contest at the West Fraser Centre in Quesnel last season. (Sasha Sefter - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Stamps, Central Interior Hockey League, cancel 2020/21 season

The team said it would like to thank the community, its fans, volunteers and sponsors

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

A fentanyl test strip is used at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, Tuesday, January, 21, 2020. The test strips will be made available to drug users to ensure that their drugs are safe and free of Fentanyl. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Drug overdoses lead to 5 deaths each day in October; drug toxicity continues to increase

COVID-19 crisis continues to exacerbate the overdose crisis

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

An accountant at the Adventure Hotel is in hospital in Kelowna

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Beaver Creek RCMP Cpl. Robert Drapeau, left to right, Gary Bath, Lynn Marchessault, Payton Marchessault, Rebecca Marchessault and Tim Marchessault pose in this recent handout photo near the Canada-U.S. border crossing near Beaver Creek, Yukon. A family reunion trip for the woman from Georgia that left them stranded ended on a bright note when Bath drove them to the Alaskan border following an appeal for help. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Gary Bath *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Help from B.C. man allows American family to reunite in Alaska

Lynn Marchessault drove from Georgia to the Alaska border to join her husband, who serves in U.S. military

Most Read