B.C. Attorney General David Eby announces changes to B.C.’s public insurance system. (B.C. government)

B.C. moves ahead on removing lawyers from ICBC cases

David Eby vows change will increase injury benefits

The B.C. government has introduced changes to Insurance Corp. of B.C. laws that Attorney General David Eby has predicted will lead to a “street fight” with personal injury lawyers over the enormous legal fees they generate suing the corporation.

Eby told the legislature Wednesday his latest amendments will deliver a promised 24-fold increase in the maximum payout for serious disabling injuries, from about $300,000 to $7.5 million, and in some cases even more to cover costs of life-long nursing care.

The new system takes effect in May 2021, and Eby says it will do more than improve care for seriously injured people. He vowed that it will increase wage loss payments by up to 60 per cent and finance a 20 per cent reduction in premiums paid by B.C. drivers next year. Basic ICBC insurance rates are to be frozen after April 1 this year.

The changes are to be financed by continuing the NDP government’s move to divert disputes from court to a new civil resolution tribunal, which already is dealing with smaller disputes. Getting all cases out of court is expected to save ICBC an estimated $1.5 billion in legal fees, courtroom experts and related costs once the changes are in effect.

RELATED: Horgan rejects ‘no fault’ description of new ICBC rules

RELATED: ICBC shifting to Alberta model, private insurers say

The Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. has questioned the independence of the tribunal approach, since its members are appointed by the provincial government and make decisions that directly impact ICBC’s bottom line. Soaring injury claims and legal costs have contributed to a $2.5 billion net loss in ICBC operations over the past two years, forcing the government to transfer money from its general budget to keep the corporation afloat.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada, representing private insurance companies, noted that ICBC’s proposed rate reduction will cost it $713 million in sales revenue. ICBC’s own books show its capital reserves are “significantly depleted” and well below its management and regulatory targets after the years of substantial payouts and losses, IBC representative Aaron Sutherland said.


@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

BC Hydro opens applications for COVID-19 Relief Fund to residential customers

Small business owners will be able to apply to the fund next week.

Northern B.C. charity rolling out COVID-19 relief funds soon

United Way of Northern BC say funding requests are outweighing the amount of donations received.

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

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

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

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Most Read