Victoria – The Provincial Government is transforming ICBC by removing lawyers and legal costs from the system to reduce rates and substantially increase care benefits.
In a nut shell, a system that looks like what has been called no-fault will be implemented in B.C , but you will have to wait until May 2021.
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Legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks that will lower ICBC premiums by approximately 20% – an average of $400 in savings per driver. At the same time, maximum care and treatment benefits for anyone injured in a crash will increase to at least $7.5 million, and new benefits will provide care for those most seriously injured, for as long as they need it. These benefits will be available to every British Columbian without having to hire a lawyer.
These improvements will be achieved by removing the majority of legal fees and other costs associated with the current litigation-based system. The new care-based insurance system is forecast to remove more than $1.5 billion in the first full year, savings that will be passed on to ICBC customers through lowered insurance rates.
- Similar care-based insurance systems exist in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Those systems have kept rate changes steady, near 0%.
- Under Enhanced Care coverage, a driver who is responsible for a crash will continue to be found at fault. This will remain a primary factor in what drivers pay for their insurance. If a driver causes a crash, their premiums will go up.
- Those injured by dangerous drivers convicted of certain Criminal Code offences, such as impaired driving, will still be able to sue for additional compensation.
Highlights of Enhanced Care coverage:
Government will introduce legislation to create the new care-based system, which would take effect on May 1, 2021, so that British Columbians will benefit from:
- average savings of $400 on their premium, compared with the previous full-year policy;
- care and treatment benefits that are 24 times higher than today, up to at least $7.5 million;
- wage loss coverage that is 60% higher than today; and
- new benefits – such as benefits for full-time students, caregivers, those working in the family business or those approaching retirement, who suffer income loss following a crash – replacing lump-sum payments that were previously awarded only through lengthy and expensive litigation.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation released the following statement in response to changes made by the government of British Columbia to I.C.B.C:
“While we appreciate the government trying to douse the dumpster fire at I.C.B.C., it is very discouraging to see drivers being left with even fewer choices than they had before,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “This is like rotating the tires on your broken down car, when, what you really need is some new cars to choose from.
It’s easy for politicians to try and promise savings on insurance rates possibly happening years from now, but, B.C. drivers have heard that promise before and rates still went up.”
“B.C. drivers are forced to deal with the government-controlled ICBC monopoly while paying the highest rates in Canada. Drivers need more choices in auto insurance, not fewer, and today’s announcement means that people who are injured in vehicle crashes will be the ones with even fewer choices.”