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

Person finds bag of drugs while out for walk in Langford

Police ask residents, drivers to check surveillance footage

West Shore Parks and Recreation to reopen weight room

Visitors must reserve one and a half hour workout blocks starting June 2

One in custody after two men stabbed in Victoria

Police arrest suspect morning after stabbings on Pandora Avenue

Langford man arrested after fleeing a serious crash in Saanich

Other driver sustained non-life-threatening injuries, police say

Beefs & Bouquets, May 27

To submit a beef or a bouquet, email publisher@goldstreamgazette.com

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Police watchdog recommends charges against five Mounties in Prince George man’s death

Police used pepper spray on the man, who then had trouble breathing before dying at the scene

B.C. tourism seeks relief as businesses wait for COVID-19 restrictions to ease

Mid-June earliest for more in-province travel to be authorized

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Most Read