Attorney General David Eby and Premier John Horgan (B.C. government)

VIDEO: B.C. to reduce ICBC rates, further restrict people from suing

Premier John Horgan says benefits will increase starting 2021

Taking lawyers out of personal injury claims will allow the Insurance Corp. of B.C. to cut vehicle insurance rates by an average of 20 per cent next year, while increasing wage loss and other payments to injured people, Premier John Horgan says.

Horgan and Attorney General David Eby announced a new vehicle insurance system Thursday that they expect to have in place by May 2021. In the meantime, Eby said basic insurance rates will not increase after April 1, 2020, and the 2021 rate will be reduced by an average of $400 by further restricting lawsuits.

Legislation will be introduced this spring to cut ICBC rates by an average of 20 per cent, and increase maximum care and treatment benefits for people injured in a crash to $7.5 million, or more in some cases for catastrophic injuries that require long-term care. The current cap is about $300,000, with many areas of care determined through legal disputes.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said Thursday the new rules will force seriously injured people deal with the “state-run monopoly” for the rest of their lives.

“Why aren’t we being offered the Saskatchewan model where drivers can choose either no-fault or the current system of lump-sum payments, with no difference in premiums?” Wilkinson said. “People deserve a choce and they deserve it now.”

The B.C. Green Party endorsed the changes, which will require support beyond the B.C. NDP minority to pass the necessary legislation.

“Government and ICBC will need to earn the trust of British Columbians as they implement this new system,” said Saanich North and the Islands MLA Adam Olsen, the interim Green leader. “It is critical that people are able to smoothly access the support and compensation they need for their recovery.”

The improvements will be paid for by removing the majority of legal fees and other costs from courts, with disputes directed to a civil resolution tribunal. The new system is not “no fault,” government officials say, with exceptions that would still allow legal action.

People who commit criminal offences such as impaired or dangerous driving, or those who do faulty manufacture or repair of vehicles would still be liable to be sued for damages. Rates will also rise for drivers who cause accidents.

RELATED: ICBC caps ‘pain and suffering’ payouts from crashes

RELATED: Eby warns trial lawyers about challenging reforms

The legislation will create an “ICBC fairness officer,” and people can also appeal to the B.C. Ombudsperson if they dispute a decision from the civil resolution tribunal.

ICBC calculates that with the April 2019 move of minor cases to a civil resolution tribunal, and capping “pain and suffering” payments at $5,500, the corporation expects to save about $1 billion this year. But even with the cap, pain and suffering claims are still expected to total $940 million in 2022 without the changes to be implemented this year.

ICBC currently has 90,000 claims in the current court-based model, and the corporation expects it will take five years or more to settle those.


@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

COVID-19: District of Kent announces property tax break

Second provincial late payment penalty delayed until October

‘Difficult but necessary’ – local parks, trails, rec sites closed amid pandemic

Several closures by province in area due to physical distancing concerns

Organ donation gives Fraser Valley RCMP officer a second chance at life

Cathleen Falebrinza celebrates Green Shirt Day after receiving a double lung transplant in 2016.

Stay off the tracks and stay alert, rail police warn

Last year, seven were killed and 10 seriously injured in rail crossing, trespassing incidents

Open houses discouraged as Chilliwack realtors look for a way forward

March saw strong sales but April likely to see lower numbers

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

BC institution has highest number of positive results for COVID-19

11 inmates in Mission test positive for coronavirus, more than any other federal prison in Canada

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

Most Read