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

Flood threat increases at Nelson’s waterfront

Peak expected between May 30 and June 1

MP Cannings’ long-awaited wood-use bill passes in House vote

The private member’s bill is his first to pass the House, a rare feat for rookie MPs in opposition

LETTER: Causing any species to go extinct is a crime

‘The earth is not dying. It is being killed’

COLUMN: A look back at May, 1968

Greg Scott: Touchstones of Nelson

L.V. Rogers grads shine spotlight on talent at annual fundraiser

Show set for Tuesday, May 29 at the Capitol Theatre

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

B.C. teacher charged with sexual offences involving two teens

Henry Kang, 50, of Abbotsford charged with two counts each sex assault and sexual exploitation

Toronto Raptors star to hold basketball camp in B.C.

DeMar DeRozan is hosting a four-day camp for players aged 6-16 at the University of Victoria

Most Read