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

Women, girls in Silver Creek demonstrate a creative demand for the vote

One of the women, described as a ‘raging suffragette,’ is the aunt of resident Phil Wright

Okanagan man killed in head-on collision on Highway 1 near Salmon Arm

Police say 21-year-old died at scene after pickup truck collided with transport trailer

After 30 years, Shuswap Lady Striders run stronger than ever

Women’s outdoor fitness, social group celebrates anniversary

Sweet Caroline: Neil Diamond tribute to bring favourites to Shuswap

Jason Scott to put on his Diamond Forever show at the Salmon Arm Legion Oct. 25

VIDEO: Shuswap resident’s yard becomes nighttime thoroughfare for grizzlies

Malakwa man has captured images of 12 different grizzlies on video

4 arrests, 6 pounds of drugs and $30,000 seized: Vernon RCMP

Suspected drug traffickers believed to supply Vernon, Enderby and Revelstoke

Morning Start: Should you actually shake a Polaroid photo?

Your morning start for Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

Women, girls in Shuswap demonstrate a creative demand for the vote

One of the women, described as a ‘raging suffragette,’ is the aunt of resident Phil Wright

Advanced polls see 29 per cent increase in voter turn out from 2015

Some 4.7 million people took part, says Elections Canada

Pot use admission at U.S. border snagging Canadian boomers, says lawyer

A waiver to enter the U.S. can cost $2,000 and isn’t a guarantee

Health concerns over vaping cast haze over Canadian cannabis market expansion

More than 1,000 people in the United States, and a handful in Canada, have developed a lung ailment

Fuel Good Day has most successful year to date with $680,000 raised in Western Canada

The Sept. 17 fundraiser beat last year’s amount by $80,000

Okanagan ski hills highlighted on website’s ‘most affordable’ list

HomeToGo looks at rentals, lift passes, accommodations and food to compile list of Top 50

Most Read