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

Car fire destroys vehicle in Chemainus

Traffic rerouted for a short time at the Henry Road roundabout

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

Column: Snow reveals the character of a community

For every internet complainer there were two more willing to help a neighbour

Ladysmith walks to help others on the Coldest Night of the Year

Community asked to step up for the local hungry and homeless

Unplowed Roads parody song destined to be a classic

Move over Weird Al, Island elementary students on the same level

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

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

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

North BC broken axle derailment could happen again: TSB

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

Former B.C. fire chief sues his city after termination

Keith Green’s civil claim says that he believes he was wrongfully terminated

B.C. man injured in police shooting now in wheelchair

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

Peter Tork, Monkees’ lovable bass-guitar player, dies at 77

Tork, Micky Dolenz, David Jones and Michael Nesmith formed the made-for-television rock band

From a drunk judge to Clifford Olson: George Garrett recounts a life in B.C. news radio

New book from ‘Intrepid Reporter’ George Garrett offers readers a glimpse behind the headlines

Wife remembers B.C. man killed in possible case of mistaken identity

Rex Gill was in Kamloops working to support his family after oilfield job dried up

Early morning shooting in Courtenay

Reporter at taped-off scene outside apartment complex

Most Read