February 7, 2020
On February 6, 2020, the provincial government and ICBC announced that we are moving to a new way of doing auto insurance in B.C.
We are lowering the price of insurance for drivers in our province and providing everyone with access to significantly better care and recovery benefits if they’re injured in a crash, regardless of whether they were at-fault — maximum care and recovery benefits will increase to at least $7.5 million.
Improvements have already been made to B.C.’s auto insurance system over the past two years that have increased care for the injured, made the way we set rates fairer and helped put ICBC back on the path to financial stability. These changes are working.
However, our current auto insurance system is still seeing far too much spending on legal costs — including expert reports, legal fees and disbursements, and contingency fees, which typically range anywhere from 25-33 percent. A similar amount is also spent on pain and suffering awards each year and the other overall costs of settling injury claims in our litigation-based system remains very high.
As a result, the auto insurance system we have today is not affordable, it’s not sustainable and it’s not working for British Columbians.
This new way of doing auto insurance in B.C. will build on the success of the changes made to date, but also help to address the outstanding issues of all these high costs associated with our current litigation-based system, in order to achieve the most important goal – more affordable insurance rates for British Columbians.
All told, by removing the adversarial approach of suing the driver who is at-fault for the crash and instead of money going towards lawyers and legal fees, approximately $1.5 billion will be used to lower rates.
As the name suggests, Enhanced Care will be a care-based model, which prioritizes the recovery and treatment benefits British Columbians need to get better if they are injured in a crash.
Under our new Enhanced Care coverage:
- Drivers will save approximately 20 percent or $400, on average, on their auto insurance.
- British Columbians hurt in a crash will have access to significantly enhanced medical care and recovery benefits — maximum care and recovery benefits will increase to at least $7.5 million, 24 times higher than what’s available today.
- We are proposing to again increase wage loss payments, now to a maximum of up to $1,200 per week — an increase of approximately 60%.
We’re able to do this by moving from the adversarial approach of suing an at-fault driver in today’s system to a model where each driver’s own policy covers their claim. This will dramatically lower the costs associated with our current litigation-based system – and the savings are passed on to the people of British Columbia through more affordable rates and significantly enhanced care.
This new auto insurance for B.C. will launch in spring 2021, with a target date of May 1.
You can find out more about the changes at icbc.com/2021 and on the Business Partners page.
In addition, ICBC would like to offer interested stakeholders a briefing on the proposed changes. If you would like to attend a session, please contact Tracey MacLennan, ICBC Stakeholder and Community Relations by email or by phone at 604-982-4749.
Government will also be reaching out to various medical, healthcare, disability and other stakeholder organizations to arrange for feedback in person. Following these sessions, if you or your members have additional feedback to provide, please do so by May 15, 2020 by emailing AGAssocDM@gov.bc.ca.
We are committed to working with you — and with the provincial government — throughout these changes.