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

MP Morrison pushes for accountability following federal fiscal update

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian says it is time to restart the economy

RCMP confirm fatality in Bootleg Mountain biking accident

Kimberley RCMP have confirmed there was a fatality in a mountain biking… Continue reading

No serious injuries reported after head-on collision near Fort Steele

Traffic was stopped for several hours on Highway 93 while police investigated.

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

New comet appears in pre-dawn sky above Cranbrook

Neowise can be seen without a telescope over the next couple of weeks

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Most Read