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

Comox Valley Farmers’ Market set for online shopping

An online store will complement the market and is set to start taking orders soon.

Comox Valley Food Bank set to reopen

The organization closed last week due to concerns around COVID-19

Comox Valley centre offering free online meditation and mindfulness teachings

The Comox Valley has a well-kept secret in the Sherab Chamma Tibetan… Continue reading

VIDEO: Courtenay residential community offers nightly balcony salute to frontline workers

Residents of The Tides in Courtenay gathered, social distancing intact, to salute… Continue reading

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

Comox Valley grocers going extra mile during coronavirus

We have had numerous requests to post a fluid article directing consumers… Continue reading

Duncan man asks community to donate RVs to essential workers in need of quarantine

Ryan Oakley creates a Facebook group to help coordinate the effort

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets switches to ‘Only Bouquets’

We are all in need of positive reinforcement; send us your cheerful notes

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

Most Read