ICBC premiums to drop by about 20 per cent with new B.C. government legislation 

That's an average of $400 in savings per driver

click to enlarge The B.C. government says legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks that will lower ICBC premiums by about 20 per cent. File photo by Darren Stone/Times Colonist
  • The B.C. government says legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks that will lower ICBC premiums by about 20 per cent. File photo by Darren Stone/Times Colonist

VANCOUVER — The British Columbia government is moving to curtail lawyers and legal costs in the public auto insurance system by severely limiting injured people's ability to sue at-fault drivers or the auto insurer after a crash.

The government says legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks that will lower premiums at the Insurance Corporation of B.C. by about 20 per cent, an average of $400 in savings per driver.

At the same time, maximum care and treatment benefits for anyone injured in a crash would increase to at least $7.5 million, and those benefits will be available to every B.C. driver without having to hire a lawyer.

If the legislation is passed it will take effect in May 2021 and will require ICBC to assist every person who makes a claim and ensure that they receive all their entitled care and benefits.

The government says that people can still sue at-fault drivers if they are convicted of a criminal offence linked to the crash, such as drunk driving, and they could also sue a vehicle manufacturer if a defect caused or contributed to the collision.

If a customer has a complaint about how ICBC handled their case, they can turn to the independent Civil Resolution Tribunal, the B.C. ombudsperson or the recently announced ICBC fairness officer.

Attorney General David Eby has previously called the financial situation at the public auto insurer a "dumpster fire," and the government believes this new system will free up more than $1.5 billion to lower rates by 2022.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 6, 2020.

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