ICBC caps injury claims

The B.C. government is capping injury claims to straighten out ICBC's financial crisis.

Attorney General David Eby said the move will keep rates affordable for B.C. drivers.

"ICBC was created to provide affordable insurance to all B.C. drivers, but years of reckless decisions by the previous government have thrown the corporation into financial chaos," Eby said Tuesday. "Today we start making the tough decisions that will stem ICBC's losses, keep insurance affordable and provide enhanced care for people injured in automobile accidents. We're going to make ICBC work for people again."

The changes follow revelations of a projected net loss of $1.3 billion at ICBC. Drivers could face premium increases of $400 or more, if no action is taken, Eby said.

"The changes we're initiating today will reduce ICBC's claims costs by more than $1 billion every year," he added.

Taking effect April 1, the changes include:

  • A new limit of $5,500 on pain and suffering for minor injury claims. The cost of those claims has increased 265 per cent since 2000. British Columbia is the last province in Canada to take this kind of action.
  • The first major improvements in accident benefits in 25 years, dramatically increasing the care available for anyone injured in a crash, regardless of fault. The overall medical care and recovery cost allowance will be doubled to $300,000. This change will be made retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018.
  • An independent dispute resolution process for certain motor vehicle injury claims.

The changes are expected to reduce the amount ICBC spends on legal fees and expenses, which have grown to 24 per cent of the insurer's budget. 

Disputes over claims, including the classification of an injury, will be adjudicated by B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal, an independent body that already adjudicates strata and small claims disputes in the province.

"We're putting ICBC's priority back where it should be – providing fair, affordable rates for British Columbians, and giving drivers peace of mind with appropriate care if they are in a collision," Eby said.

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