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

More rescues, less flames: Future of Abbotsford firefighting up for discussion

Mayor says talks with province needed, councillors suggest city may need more full-time firefighters

String of purse snatches at Mill Lake in Abbotsford

Two women were mugged in a three week period starting Sept. 30

Harrison outdoor skating rink to open this weekend

Public skating will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

Mission principal saves goat, praised as hero by kindergarten students

“Today I get to be the hero in their eyes, changing the world one stuck goat at a time”

Abbotsford man’s murder trial set for January

David Albert Miller charged in death of 52-year-old woman in Kamloops

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Trudeau appears open to safer-opioid proposal in Vancouver: mayor

The city has applied for $6 million from Health Canada to allow for the safe distribution of diamorphine

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Most Read