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Attorney General

Transforming ICBC to deliver lower rates, better benefits

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Attorney General

Transforming ICBC to deliver lower rates, better benefits

Media Contacts
Jen Holmwood
Press Secretary
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
jen.holmwood@gov.bc.ca
250 818-4881
Ministry of Attorney General
Media Relations
778 678-1572
(flickr.com)
Media Contacts
Jen Holmwood
Press Secretary
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
jen.holmwood@gov.bc.ca
250 818-4881
Ministry of Attorney General
Media Relations
778 678-1572

Backgrounders

More affordable auto insurance rates

Making rates more affordable and improving care will take expensive lawyer and legal fees out of the picture.

Context

Historically, one in every four dollars that drivers spend on auto insurance has gone to lawyer and legal fees – one of the major reasons insurance rates in B.C. continue to increase.

With the work done over the last two years to improve the finances at ICBC, government has been able to hold the basic insurance rate change for 2020 at 0%. Without further changes, current projections show that rates would need to continue to rise by approximately 35% over the next five years.

By introducing Enhanced Care coverage, government is largely removing lawyer and legal fees to ensure rates are more affordable and that British Columbians injured in a crash can have peace of mind, knowing they will get the care they need.    

All B.C. drivers will see savings

Under ICBC’s new Enhanced Care coverage, drivers will:

  • save approximately 20% annually on their auto insurance. For the average driver that is savings of $400;
  • have significantly enhanced care benefits, at least up to 24 times higher than today; and
  • have more stable insurance rates in the future.

In 2020, ICBC’s average premium for basic and optional insurance is $1,900. With this change, the average premium will drop to approximately $1,500 in 2021 – a $400 saving. All drivers will benefit from more stable annual rate changes in years to come.

Like today, various factors will continue to affect each driver’s premium and will, therefore, determine the amount of savings they experience, including: driving experience and that of their listed drivers; crash history; driving convictions; where they live; and the type of vehicle they drive.

Impacts on inexperienced drivers

Inexperienced drivers – who pay some of the highest insurance rates today – will get some of the biggest help in actual dollar savings. With 20% savings on average, someone with a current premium of $3,500 will save $700 a year on average, while a customer whose premium is $1,500 will save $300 a year on average.

Rate increases in other provinces

As a comparison, the highest rate increases in Canada are happening in private auto-insurance markets, including Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick. Ontario has the highest rates in the country with increases for nine-straight quarters. In Alberta, drivers are seeing increases in insurance rates of up to 30%. In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, rates have been increasing by up to 50%.

Conversely, other care-based auto insurance systems – such as in Manitoba and Saskatchewan – have seen smaller rate increases than in B.C.

To learn more about the savings, visit: icbc.com/2021

Enhanced care and recovery benefits

Increasing care and recovery benefits helps anyone injured in a crash get the care they need, for as long as they need it.

Context

Maximum care and recovery benefits for those injured in crashes will increase to at least $7.5 million – 24 times higher than today – under Enhanced Care coverage.

Currently, the limit for care and recovery benefits is $300,000. Right now, any additional benefits beyond that – including to provide for future care for those catastrophically injured – can only be obtained if a person is not responsible for a crash and often through expensive and lengthy litigation. Settlements are then eaten up by legal fees, leaving people without the resources to pay for the care they may need for the rest of their lives.

Types of care and recovery benefits

The new care and recovery benefits will be available to anyone hurt in a crash, regardless of who was responsible for the crash, and will last for a lifetime, if needed.

The maximum in benefits of at least $7.5 million will include, but will not be limited to, paying for:

  • treatments, such as massage therapy, chiropractic care and physiotherapy;
  • prescriptions, dental care and counselling; and
  • assistance with personal-care services, such as bathing, dressing and other household tasks – 24 hours a day, if required.

On top of the $7.5 million, government is also proposing other forms of coverage. This includes:

  • increased wage-loss payments – a proposed maximum of $1,200 per week (up from $740 per week today)
    • if a person is self-employed, a full-time student or family caregiver, they will also have access to new benefits to cover income, time lost from studies or increased expenses.
  • new benefits for the catastrophically injured – permanent impairment compensation (proposed maximum of $250,000); and additional personal care assistance (proposed maximum of $10,000 per month); and recreational benefits.

While the maximum in benefits of at least $7.5 million will be set out in legislation, government and ICBC will consult with the medical and disability advocacy community on details around additional benefit levels to ensure they will meet patient needs.

To learn more about the full range of care and recovery benefits, visit: icbc.com/2021

For a comparison of accident benefits, visit: http://news.gov.bc.ca/files/New-Model-Launch_BKDR-Graph.pdf

Scenario: Jasmine

Jasmine is 40 years old and living in Surrey with her husband. Driving home from work one day, she is responsible for a crash leaving her catastrophically injured. Jasmine suffers from a traumatic brain injury, multiple fractures and a significant scalp laceration. As a result of her injuries, Jasmine will not be able to return to work, nor will she be able to perform any of her daily activities. She makes $75,000 a year.

Under today’s Autoplan, she would receive up to $300,000 in medical care and rehabilitation benefits and $280 a week for homemaking assistance. She cannot sue for additional compensation, as she is responsible for the crash, despite the catastrophic injury. She would receive up to 75% of her gross income, a maximum of $740 a week. But she receives no permanent impairment benefit and no recreational benefit.

Under the new Enhanced Care coverage, she would have a maximum medical care and recovery benefits of at least $7.5 million. Jasmine would be eligible for up to $10,000 a month in personal care assistance if her injuries required 24-hour care, up to $250,000 in permanent impairment benefits, and up to $4,000 in recreational benefits every two years. In addition, she would receive 90% of her net income, up to $1,200 per week until retirement age. The significantly increased care supports Jasmine to be active and continue living life, not having to worry that she will run out of care benefits.

Ensuring fair treatment from ICBC

To give British Columbians confidence that they will be treated fairly, ICBC will be required, by law, to assist every person who makes a claim and to help ensure those injured receive all the benefits to which they are entitled. The Civil Resolution Tribunal, which is independent of ICBC, will have an expanded ability to resolve motor vehicle disputes and the new fairness office will have greater authority to address complaints and make recommendations to ICBC to improve processes and fairness.

Care and benefit levels in other provinces

The new care and recovery benefits amount is substantially higher than the vast majority of private auto insurance jurisdictions in Canada, and in line with benefits offered by other care-based public auto insurers like Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Private insurance companies in Alberta, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia provide $50,000 in basic care coverage, not enough for someone who is seriously injured in a crash.

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