The leader of the B.C. Greens says the provincial government should not rule out major changes to the way auto insurance is delivered through ICBC.
In a statement issued today, Andrew Weaver said the system "is overly litigious and adversarial".
"Payouts for minor bodily injuries have increased 365 percent since 2000," Weaver said. "Every other public insurance system in Canada either limits certain types of claims or operates as a no-fault model."
He made the comment after Attorney General David Eby announced a 6.4 percent increase in ICBC's basic insurance rate. This came after ICBC posted a loss of $916 million in the last fiscal year.
Under no-fault insurance systems, an independent body often determines awards based on the types of injuries that people sustain. This is how WorkSafe B.C. operates—employers pay premiums and workers are not allowed to file lawsuits against them for workplace injuries.
Weaver pointed out that a recent Ernst & Young report for the former B.C. Liberal government noted that ICBC could save 13.5 percent by 2019 if it adopted a no-fault system.
According to Ernst & Young, this would generate $630 per year in savings per motorist. The NDP government released the report in July.
The Ernst & Young report laid out four options showing how savings could be achieved. The fourth suggested a fundamental change from the "current adversarial nature" to a "comprehensive care model".
This would provide no benefits for pain and suffering and only grant motorists the right to sue in instances of criminal negligence.
Systems in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and New Zealand include some of these elements.
“I concur with the Attorney General’s statement that ICBC’s abysmal financial standing is due to the unwillingness of the previous government to make tough choices," Weaver said. "With this new government, there is an opportunity to do things differently. As the business audit of ICBC proceeds, the B.C. Green caucus will advocate for bold, evidence-based solutions that will ensure the best possible outcome for B.C. ratepayers.”More