Changes to ICBC were implemented today
Changes to ICBC, including the claims dispute system, have been implemented.
BC's Attorney General, David Eby, says the two biggest changes, which went into effect on Monday, April 1st, have to do with the claims dispute process, and minor injury awards.
"The biggest change is that every single claim that someone has against ICBC, every dispute, no longer goes to the BC Supreme Court. It's now going to go to the civil resolution tribunal. This is an independent tribunal, from ICBC and from government, that will be resolving these disputes. And then there's also a limit on the maximum of the pain and suffering awards for what's called in the law a minor injury, though it might be quite serious for someone. But this is the award that recognizes that they've been injured, and the maximum has been set at $5,500."
Eby adds that these changes will allow ICBC to save about a billion dollars a year, which will end being reflected in drivers's insurance premiums. He says without the changes, British Columbian's would have had to face a 40% increase to premiums to cover ICBC's loses.
Ever since the proposed changes were announced, trial lawyers and personal injury lawyers have been speaking out, and threatening to sue the government. Eby says he understands that the changes, which he says are constitutional, will have a negative impact on their business. He adds that although the BC Supreme Court is a good tool for resolving disputes, it doesn't make sense to have a $50,000 process that may end up taking years to resolve, and only pay out $100,000. Eby adds that it's a very expensive system for car crashes, and British Columbians deserve a better, simpler process.
Eby also says that the government has a goal of keeping insurance rate increases to inflation or lower, and the changes will do their part in making that goal a reality.
"There are some people who are going see significantly lower rates in September. If you have a long history of accident free driving, and you're not excessively speeding or engaging in drunk driving, you're going to see a reduction in your rates. If you engage in high risk activities, in September you're going to see a significant increase in your rate. There's a re-balancing that's happening there. But what no British Columbian is going to see is the 40% increase that we would have to do if we didn't make the changes to save a billion dollars."
He adds that these are the first of a series of fixes to the insurance corporation. Eby says they have to tackle the big issues first, then move on to issues related to auto-body repair and other costs to the insurer.
What’s going on with ICBC?
Adam Stirling was joined by Richard McCandless of BC Policy Perspectives to find out more