It’s no joke: The beginning of April is bringing with it a wide variety of major changes to auto insurance in BC, including a basic rates increase of 6.3% on an interim basis for all new and renewal policies with an effective date on or after April 1.
- ICBC gets green light to hike insurance rates by 6.3%
- BC announces reforms to ICBC in wake of huge projected losses
- BC Civil Resolution Tribunal streamlining the way it handles vehicle accidents
According to the ICBC, this latest approval is “consistent with past applications” and will “lessen the depletion of ICBC’s already low basic insurance capital while the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) reviews the full application.”
The BCUC is also conducting a review on the application and allowing for the public to participate through requesting intervener status, submitting their comments or registering as an interested party.
At the end of this process, which is likely to run through the spring of this year, the BCUC will reach a final decision on ICBC’s basic rate application.
Any difference between the approved interim rate and the permanent rate will be refunded or collected, at the time.
Last December, BC Attorney General David Eby explained that the increase of 6.3% could have been much worse, had his government not stepped in.
In fact, he commented that the increase could have been by almost 40%.
Other changes taking effect today, the changes include:
- A new limit of $5,500 on pain and suffering for minor injury claims. The cost of those claims has increased 265% since 2000 and BC is the last province in Canada to take this kind of action.
- The first major improvements in accident benefits in 25 years, dramatically increasing the care available for anyone injured in a crash, regardless of fault. The overall medical care and recovery cost allowance will be doubled to $300,000. This change will be made retroactive to January 1, 2018, so it will effectively be in place to protect injured drivers and passengers immediately.
These changes, which were first announced in early 2018 by BC’s Attorney General David Eby, will “will reduce ICBC’s claims costs by more than $1 billion every year, helping make it sustainable for decades to come,” he said.
Also starting today, BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) is expanding its services to include assistance for British Columbians who are injured in motor vehicle accidents who are looking to resolve injury claim disputes with ICBC and other insurers.
The CRT will now resolve motor vehicle accident injury claim disputes valued at $50,000 or less, with the creation of an online form for people to fill out.
For ICBC disputes, the CRT will also help determine — based on evidence from both parties — whether an injury is “minor” according to legislation, entitlement to accident benefits and responsibility for the crash. The CRT helps parties reach an agreement when possible. Where parties can’t agree, the CRT can make binding decisions that are enforceable as court orders.