(ItkasanImages / Victoria Buzz)

The British Columbia government is directing changes for the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) in an attempt to get the corporation’s financial crisis under control.

Today’s changes come in the wake of multiple revelations, including the projection of a 2017-2018 net loss of $1.3 billion.

B.C. drivers could face premium increases averaging $400 or more, if no action is taken.

Taking effect April 1, 2019, 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% 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, so it will effectively be in place to protect injured drivers and passengers immediately.
  • An independent dispute resolution process for certain motor vehicle injury claims.

Together, these changes will reduce the amount ICBC spends on legal fees and expenses, which have grown to consume 24% of ICBC’s budget. In a media release, the government said that “the savings from this change, when coupled with other planned initiatives, will restore ICBC to financial sustainability and finance the planned accident benefit improvements.”

“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,” said Attorney General David Eby.

Eby also announced that ICBC will be consulting with customers on major revisions to the corporation’s rate structure with the goal of ensuring good drivers pay less, and bad drivers pay more.

 

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