Attorney General David Eby (Black Press)

ICBC in ‘financial dumpster fire’: minister

Attorney General David Eby says body shop costs rising along with crashes, claims

Capping minor injury awards and raising deductible amounts will be part of an overhaul of the Insurance Corporation of B.C. this spring to get its runaway costs under control, Attorney General David Eby says.

Rising costs of accidents and a “massive increase” in the awards for minor injuries are unsustainable, and measures will be unveiled in the spring legislature session to deal with the deficit, Eby said Monday. Without an overhaul, it would require a $400 premium hike for each B.C. driver just to get ICBC to break even, he said.

While he continued to reject a switch to “no-fault” insurance that would prevent all claimants from suing ICBC for a settlement, Eby said the costs of injury awards are not sustainable, and auto body shop costs have also risen 30 per cent in the last two years.

“These initiatives will be difficult for groups with an interest in the status quo,” Eby said.

ICBC basic insurance rates went up 6.4 per cent in November, which works out to an increase of $4.75 per month for the average B.C. driver.

RELATED: ICBC projects deficit of $1.3 billion this year

RELATED: ICBC board members replaced before NDP overhaul

Eby released a consultant’s report after the NDP government took office in July, projecting ICBC rates could rise 30 per cent by 2019 if changes aren’t made. At the time, Eby rejected the idea of no-fault insurance that would cap the awards available for soft tissue and other minor injuries.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates and the new NDP government have traded blame for the soaring increase in claim costs, which has been a cause of alarm for ICBC executives since 2013.

Eby called the situation “a dumpster fire” and blamed the B.C. Liberal government for removing recommendations for change from a 2014 independent review. Those proposed changes included caps on minor injury awards.

Barry Penner, the former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister who was replaced by former NDP minister Joy MacPhail as ICBC board chair after the change of government, said the tactics of personal injury lawyers to maximize injury claims are among the big drivers of cost.

ICBC is also dealing with a big jump in accidents. After a steady rate for several years, crashes went up 23 per cent in two years, 2015 and 2016. The previous government increased penalties for distracted driving, and Eby said more measures are on the way to get people to put away their smartphones while driving.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Farmers Market sees successful start to season

More vendors expected as veggies and fruit start to ripen

Gallery: Kid’s Bike Parade

Williams Lake bicycle festival carries into the weekend

Bicycle Festival pedals into Williams Lake

Plenty of activities - for bicyclers and non-bicyclers - through weekend

Tsilhqot’in community names officially recognized by Province

Tsilhqot’in names will now appear on provincial government resources, maps and databases

Indian Horse audiobook narrated by Williams Lake city councillor

Jason Ryll is the voice of Saul Indian Horse in a new audiobook

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats that could carry deadly disease

‘White-nose syndrome’ has killed millions of bats in North America, but hasn’t arrived in B.C. yet

Are B.C.’s gas prices enough to keep you from travelling May long weekend?

Gas prices in B.C. ranging from 125 cents per litre to more than 150 cents

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle wed in Windsor as millions watch

Windsor sparkled on a warm spring day as tens of thousands of people jammed its quaint roads

Most Read