Former NDP cabinet minister Joy MacPhail was appointed to chair the ICBC board in 2017, as the corporation struggles with a deteriorating financial situation. (Black Press files)

ICBC expecting $1.18 billion annual loss as new injury caps take effect

Injury lawyers ramping up opposition to minor injury tribunal

The Insurance Corp. of B.C. continues to struggle with increasing accident and injury claims as it prepares to implement new limits on pain and suffering claims on April 1.

ICBC posted its latest results Thursday, showing an $860 million net loss for the first nine months of the fiscal year that ends March 31. Net claims incurred during that period total nearly $5 billion, an increase of about $600 million from the same period a year earlier. The current projected net loss for the year is $1.18 billion.

ICBC’s new rules for pain and suffering, and an out-of-court dispute settlement system for minor injury claims take effect April 1. ICBC is also facing a court challenge from the Trial Lawyers’ Association of B.C., arguing the changes are an attack on the independence of the courts to settle disputes.

The lawyers’ group has also applied to be intervenors at the B.C. Utilities Commission, which is hearing arguments before setting the next rate increase for ICBC’s monopoly basic insurance.

Reports of “lowball” offers from ICBC adjusters were refuted by the Attorney General’s ministry Wednesday, with the release of an internal case review.

Attorney General David Eby called the losses “unacceptable” and focused on personal injury cases.

“A key reason for ICBC’s worsening financial crisis is the escalating costs of settling personal injury claims, which have increased 43 per cent in the last five years,” Eby said in a statement Thursday. “This trend is being exacerbated by the current gaps in the system which allow, for example, the use of almost unlimited experts who prepare costly reports in litigation that lasts for years, all paid for by drivers. Over the past year, the increasing use of expert reports has contributed to inflating ICBC’s settlement costs by 20 per cent.”

RELATED: ICBC lowball injury offers aren’t driving up costs, ministry says

RELATED: ICBC overhaul includes $50 fee for lending your car to relative

“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.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Warriors fall to Vipers after controversial call

The West Kelowna Warriors fell to the Vipers for the fifth time this season

Kelowna weather: mix of sun and cloud

The sun will be hiding behind the clouds for the next few days

Missing Kelowna man found safe

Jordan Abbate has been reported safe by Kelowna RCMP

VIDEO: Popular Lake Country cafe goes through redesign with customers’ help

The Wooden Nickel Cafe has been in operation for nearly 30 years

Rockets hang on to playoff dreams after back to back weekend losses

The Rockets get a break Sunday, but head to Victoria for back to back games Feb. 18

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Summerland’s Justin Kripps wins bobsleigh world cup event

Canadian team picks up their first four-man bobsleigh win on the world cup circuit

B.C. VIEWS: Power politics wins over rational energy policy

B.C Hydro continues to face interference on rates

PR firm suspends contract with former B.C. premier amid groping accusation

Edelman says in a statement that Campbell has served as a special adviser to the firm since last July

SilverStar Emergency Services Day raises funds for hospital

Over $20,000 was raised for the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation

Most Read