ICBC’s costs for injury settlements and lawsuits are a major part of its deficit. (Black Press files)

ICBC lowball injury offers aren’t driving up court costs, ministry says

B.C. auto insurance monopoly struggling with rising legal, settlement costs

A review of Insurance Corp. of B.C.’s rising injury claim cases finds no evidence for a common complaint that the provincial monopoly makes low offers, the Attorney General’s ministry said Wednesday.

“ICBC is not responsible in any observable, systemic way for making inappropriate offers or inappropriately pressing cases and this generating legal costs,” says a report compiled by ministry lawyers.

“Instead, the claims files reveal beyond dispute that the longer the time taken to resolve a claim, the higher the cost.”

The review was conducted last summer using aggregate data from claim files, plus 100 randomly selected claims that were settled between 2013 and 2017. They included major or catastrophic industry claims and minor injury claims, some where claimants hired lawyers and some where lawsuits were filed.

Soaring accident rates and an 80 per cent increase in claims costs over seven years have plagued ICBC, prompting Attorney General David Eby to introduce changes that include a $5,500 limit on payouts for pain and suffering. That cap takes effect April 1.

RELATED: ICBC to cap pain and suffering payouts to stem losses

RELATED: ICBC moves to tighten safe driver discount rules

Minor injury claim costs have increased steeply, averaging about $30,000 each by last year. A third of that is legal costs, both to ICBC for lawyers and expert reports, and to customers who hire lawyers to sue the corporation.

The settlement cap and a new claim resolution system to keep cases out of court are expected to cut as much as $1 billion from ICBC’s costs. Another change that ICBC board chair Joy MacPhail called long overdue is increasing the maximum benefit for serious injury claims from $150,000 to $300,000.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Kelowna man in wheelchair following police-involved shooting

“Shots were fired by police and the male was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.”

Alberta’s oil-by-rail plan a worry for Shuswap mayor

High volume of train traffic already an environmental/public safety concern

Snowplow accident leads to power surge, small claims decision

Tribunal rules Salmon Arm resident not entitled to additional compensation

Intentionally-set fire damages Scotch Creek building

Men help extinguish blaze by kicking snow on it

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Concert intended to help audience let go of stress and be happy

Northern Lights Chamber Choir celebrates 10 years of singing together

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

Man wanted for sex trafficking, confinement may be heading to B.C.

Kevin Myrthil, 26, is also accused of assault on a 19-year-old woman at an Edmonton hotel

Bursaries available for trades students at Okanagan College

“With this bursary, we want women to know that there is a place for you in this industry and a place for you to excel.”

A mother’s warning: Man follows Peachland teen to her home from Kelowna

The teen’s mother is warning others about the incident

Kelowna RCMP urge hit and run driver to turn themselves in

An alleged hit and run occured late Feb. 18

B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas resumes battle with suspended staff

Committee meets at B.C. legislature to consider new allegations

Northern B.C. train derailment due to broken axle could happen again: TSB

CN coal train derailment caused by broken axle can happen again without a different way to inspect

Most Read