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

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation celebrates new water system

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna cuts cedar ribbon at Ty-Histanis event.

Reflecting Spirit offers tapestry of West Coast stories

Gallery showcases Tofino and Ucluelet artists.

Foul play not suspected in man’s death in Chemainus

Long attempt made to revive unidentified person on the dock

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark criticizes feds for buying pipeline

The $4.5 billion purchase of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline second worst decision, she said

New B.C. Hydro electric car chargers launch on Vancouver Island

Fast-chargers to reduce ‘range anxiety’ for B.C. electric car drivers

‘Takes more courage to fail’: B.C. ultra-marathon swimmer reflects on cancelled try at record

Susan Simmons halted her swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back because of hypothermia

Animals moved from B.C. Interior shelters to make way for pets displaced by wildfires

The Maple Ridge SPCA houses animals to make space for pets evacuated from B.C.’s burning interior.

$21.5 million medical pot plant to be built in B.C.

The facility is to be built in Princeton

Spokane man enlists 500,000+ box fans to blow wildfire smoke back to B.C.

Spokane man Caleb Moon says he’s had enough with smoky skies from B.C.’s forest fires blanketing his city

Feds agree to look at easing jury secrecy as part of review

At issue is a law that forbids jurors from talking about closed-door deliberations

Forest fuel work needed to slow wildfires, B.C. premier says

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan joins John Horgan for tour

Most Read