Being a personal injury lawyer in Vancouver since 1995 gives me the benefit of some experiential knowledge when it comes to what ICBC says publicly about bodily injury claims and how they behave in private litigation. The recent attempt of ICBC to obtain an insurance rate increase is the latest example of a government corporation gone wrong. The fact is since 1990 accident rates for injury and death have consistently and substantially decreased (Transport Canada). So it makes no sense that ICBC now spends more money defending these claims when the BC courts are now also required to award less ( gross income loss decreased to net, as an example) .
Contradicting the comments made only two years ago to justify a rate increase, now ICBC blames distracted drivers for the need for higher car insurance rates. In ICBC’s last argument to the BC Utilities Commission for a rate increase they did not even mention distracted driving at all. On the contrary, ICBC identified an increase in the number of cyclists, pedestrians and low cost property damage claims with no injury as the reason the rate of accidents have statistically been going down in the face of increased claims costs. ICBC gives no reasonable explanation for why they say the individual costs have gone up.
ICBC is forcing many more cases through court procedures such as case planning conferences, examination for discoveries, and trial. No surprise that each case will cost more. It has been revealed that ICBC has been paying out historical amounts of money to fund the legal defence of at fault drivers. However innocent injury claimants that are forced to go to trial generally recover more than what ICBC offers before litigation.
It appears that ICBC has made too many financial mistakes and planning blunders to recover gracefully. Cutting funding for their alternative dispute resolution department and protection of privacy departments will certainly lead to long term costs that will make the recent $110 million insurance rate mistake look like a drop in the bucket.
If ICBC wants to continue to operate as an insurance company they have to start acting like one. High profits should be rewarded with lower rates and happy customers not the lowest rating of any auto insurance company in Canada( the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia scored the lowest in J.D. Power’s 2012 Canadian Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study). The Province should reconsider whether ICBC ought to be entrusted with road safety, as it is being used to justify yet another auto insurance rate increase for the insurance company.
ISSUE: Should the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia be responsible for promoting road safety for the Province of BC?
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer in Vancouver Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.– Serving al lof BC