The BC government said on Thursday that is “transforming” ICBC through the introduction of new legislation that will lower ICBC premiums by approximately 20%, an average of $400 in savings per driver.
At the same time, maximum care and treatment benefits for anyone injured in a crash will increase to at least $7.5 million, and new benefits will provide care for those most seriously injured, for as long as they need it.
These benefits will be available to every British Columbian without having to hire a lawyer, the province noted.
“It’s time for change at ICBC,” said BC Premier John Horgan. “The old government ignored ICBC’s problems, allowing it to become a system that made lawyers rich, while drivers paid too much for insurance.”
The province said these improvements will be achieved by removing the majority of legal fees and other costs associated with the current litigation-based system. The new care-based insurance system is forecast to remove more than $1.5 billion in the first full year, savings that will be passed on to ICBC customers through lowered insurance rates.
Customers who still have complaints or disputes about their claim, benefit payments or fairness issues will not need a lawyer to have them resolved. They will have recourse through:
- the Civil Resolution Tribunal, which is independent of ICBC;
- the BC ombudsperson;
- the upcoming ICBC fairness officer, who will be appointed by government to ensure greater independence from ICBC.
“You shouldn’t need a lawyer to access the benefits you’ve paid for,” said BC Attorney General David Eby. “By removing expensive lawyers and legal fees from the system, we are making ICBC work for British Columbians again with more affordable insurance rates and much better coverage, so anyone injured in a crash gets the care they need.”
In addition, the province said that as ICBC transitions to this new care-based model, there will be no basic rate change this year.
The province said the “new care-based system” would take effect on May 1, 2021.