Attorney General David Eby (Black Press)

ICBC in ‘financial dumpster fire’: minister

Attorney General David Eby says body shop costs rising along with crashes, claims

Capping minor injury awards and raising deductible amounts will be part of an overhaul of the Insurance Corporation of B.C. this spring to get its runaway costs under control, Attorney General David Eby says.

Rising costs of accidents and a “massive increase” in the awards for minor injuries are unsustainable, and measures will be unveiled in the spring legislature session to deal with the deficit, Eby said Monday. Without an overhaul, it would require a $400 premium hike for each B.C. driver just to get ICBC to break even, he said.

While he continued to reject a switch to “no-fault” insurance that would prevent all claimants from suing ICBC for a settlement, Eby said the costs of injury awards are not sustainable, and auto body shop costs have also risen 30 per cent in the last two years.

“These initiatives will be difficult for groups with an interest in the status quo,” Eby said.

ICBC basic insurance rates went up 6.4 per cent in November, which works out to an increase of $4.75 per month for the average B.C. driver.

RELATED: ICBC projects deficit of $1.3 billion this year

RELATED: ICBC board members replaced before NDP overhaul

Eby released a consultant’s report after the NDP government took office in July, projecting ICBC rates could rise 30 per cent by 2019 if changes aren’t made. At the time, Eby rejected the idea of no-fault insurance that would cap the awards available for soft tissue and other minor injuries.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates and the new NDP government have traded blame for the soaring increase in claim costs, which has been a cause of alarm for ICBC executives since 2013.

Eby called the situation “a dumpster fire” and blamed the B.C. Liberal government for removing recommendations for change from a 2014 independent review. Those proposed changes included caps on minor injury awards.

Barry Penner, the former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister who was replaced by former NDP minister Joy MacPhail as ICBC board chair after the change of government, said the tactics of personal injury lawyers to maximize injury claims are among the big drivers of cost.

ICBC is also dealing with a big jump in accidents. After a steady rate for several years, crashes went up 23 per cent in two years, 2015 and 2016. The previous government increased penalties for distracted driving, and Eby said more measures are on the way to get people to put away their smartphones while driving.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chaotic Metro Vancouver vote rejects Hazelmere Valley development

Accusation of ‘improper’ behaviour, after Surrey Coun. Starchuk notes receipt of ‘new information’

Langley City, Township ponder pot rules

Local politicians will have to decide on retail marijuana zoning and other issues soon.

Langley condo flipping increased as market heated up

Local realtors say investors were re-selling through assignment sales, but the trend may reverse.

Eight arrested in Surrey following fraud investigation by RCMP

Police probe focused on residence in the 18900-block of 64th Avenue

Langley MP pledges support for stranded adopting families

Mark Warawa said he will pressure the minister of immigration on the issue.

B.C. BMX kid wows GoPro with homemade video

Eight-year-old Rex Johnson wins award for inventive video

10 feet from home: B.C. grassfire offers stark reminder how quickly blazes burn

Kamloops woman among first people in B.C. to be told to evacuate home this wildfire season

Happy ending for orphaned bear cubs

Two orphaned bear cubs were captured in Castlegar and sent for rehabilitation.

Platform chosen for online B.C. cannabis sales

Ottawa-based company to create websites for when marijuana becomes legal in Canada on Oct. 17

Maple Ridge tent city resident who attacked strangers gets day in jail

Chad Edwards ordered to complete counselling for mental health and abuse of meth

UPDATE: Police say story of pretend cops ‘arresting’ woman in CRA scam fake

Vancouver police urge people not take calls from anyone saying they’re from the Canada Revenue Agency

Almost 2,400 young athletes set to compete at BC Summer Games

Full list of participants was released Friday for the Cowichan Valley event

Canucks ink Markus Granlund to one-year extension

Finnish forward’s contract is worth US$1.475 million

Warning issued as swimmer dies, boater missing this week in B.C. waters

Coroner says statistics show a spike in drownings beginning in May and rising through August

Most Read