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

‘Avalanche Awareness Days’ emphasize backcountry safety at Shames

The Skeena Bar and Shames Mountain Co-op both holding events this weekend

Wilson returns to Pacific Crest Trail undeterred

Terrace hiker was forced to abandon journey last year due to back injury at 566-mile marker

More exported goods needed for Terrace transloading facility “financially viable,” according to report

Build-out of SIDP lands, potential for micro-LNG facilities could warrant future development

Province provides three rural grants to Terrace

Each project will receive $10,000 to boost their operations

Student rangers sought for Terrace

Young adults interested in student ranger program have until Feb. 24 to apply

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read