ICBC chair Joy MacPhail (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

ICBC to cap pain and suffering payouts to stem car insurance losses

Limit on pain and suffering, increased care for major injuries

The Insurance Corporation of B.C. is placing a $5,500 limit on payouts for pain and suffering, while increasing the maximum payout for people killed or seriously injured in vehicle accidents.

To stem the losses from rising accident rates and an 80 per cent increase in injury claim costs in the past seven years, ICBC is also introducing a claim resolution tribunal to settle disputed claims without going to court.

The overall accident benefit maximum goes from $150,000 to $300,000 for serious injury claims, including nursing care and recovery, medical, dental, occupational and funeral costs.

ICBC has seen a steep increase in the costs for minor injury claims, now averaging about $30,000 each. A third of that cost is legal costs, both to ICBC for lawyers and expert reports, and to customers who pay lawyers to sue the corporation.

RELATED: ICBC in financial ‘dumpster fire’

The legal definition of a minor injury is being developed, Attorney General David Eby said Tuesday. It is expected to include strains, sprains, mild whiplash, aches and pains, cuts and bruises, with cases to be determined by medical professionals independent of ICBC.

The changes are to take effect April 1, 2019, and are expected to save the corporation about $1 billion a year when they take effect, Eby said. In the meantime, rates are up eight per cent this year for the average driver, combining basic and optional insurance provided by ICBC.

ICBC board chair Joy MacPhail said the increase to major injury payouts is overdue, since they haven’t changed since 1991.

“These changes make the injured customer our top priority, redirecting payments away from legal costs into significantly enhancing the care and treatments for anyone who is injured in a crash,” MacPhail said.

Jane Dyson, executive director of Disability Alliance B.C. said her organization has been advocating for increased support for seriously injured people for more than a decade.

“The doubling of the overall allowance for medical care and recovery is a significant improvement,” Dyson said.

Just Posted

Port McNeill Cannabis Committee stumbles out of the gate

“I’m worried we could just be all over the map and I need to see a plan.”

Port Alice’s new RCMP officers going through clearance process

The medical process can take several months to complete as there are several steps involved.

UPDATED: East Zeballos placed under evacuation alert as “out of control” wildfire approaches homes

BC Wildfire Service says rolling debris on steep terrain poses danger to firefighters

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Port Hardy Fire Rescue knocks down wildland fire

PHFR members responded to the scene, located the fire, and contained it to the immediate area.

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

B.C. golfer, just 23, scores the rare albatross

Six-million-to-one shot a first for the Terrace club

Most Read