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

COVID-19: Haida Gwaii School District busy with plans to keep kids learning

District educational staff will take survey responses from parents, guardians into account

‘Focus on prevention’: Haida Nation webinar emphasizes avoidance of an outbreak

Dr. Caroline Walker says prevention is key to avoid “worst-case scenario” of an outbreak on-island

Want to volunteer during COVID-19? Here’s how to apply to the Queen Charlotte EOC

Young, healthy people can submit an online application to the Emergency Operations Centre

‘It was violating’: Skidegate fire department called to St. Patrick’s Day cemetery blaze

Queen Charlotte RCMP fire investigator says there was no evidence of arson

Masset RCMP seize ‘substantial’ amount of guns, cash in Friday the 13th drug bust

Officers executed search warrant on March 13 at ‘suspicious’ Old Massett Village residence

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

B.C. unveils $3.5M COVID-19 emergency fund for post-secondary students

Money will help students cover living expenses, food, travel, portable computers

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by B.C. Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer

B.C. adding $300 to monthly income and disability assistance payments

‘Crisis supplement’ for COVID-19 for April, May and June

Most Read