Care, recovery and wage-loss benefits for people injured in crashes will be even more generous than originally proposed, under the new Enhanced Care coverage regulations.
“Extensive consultation with medical, health-care and disability advocacy stakeholders has strengthened Enhanced Care, which will ensure people get the care they need, when they need it and for as long as they need it,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “The regulations we’ve finalized prove that, along with more affordable auto insurance, British Columbians will have much better benefits starting May 1.”
Highlights of the Enhanced Accident Benefits include:
- No overall limit to the medical and rehabilitation benefits available under Enhanced Care. Originally, the intentions paper released in February 2020 proposed a new maximum accident benefit of at least $7.5 million. The current maximum in accident benefits is $300,000.
- Treatments such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic care, dental care, counselling, medical equipment and other supports and services.
- If needed, help with daily living activities like cleaning, meal preparation and personal care during recovery will be covered to higher maximum benefit amounts than before.
- Enhanced Care will provide all the care people need if they are injured in a crash. But people will continue to choose their own doctors and preferred health-care providers to lead their care.
- More compensation if a serious or life-altering injury is suffered from a crash than was originally proposed in February 2020. A new benefit will provide approximately $265,000 in lump sum cash compensation if a person is catastrophically injured in a crash – up approximately $15,000 from the original sum proposed – or up to approximately $167,000 in lump sum compensation if a person suffers a serious, but non-catastrophic, permanent impairment.
- A higher maximum income replacement benefit amount if unable to work due to injuries sustained in a crash. The maximum wage loss replacement will increase to 90% of net income based on a maximum gross annual income of up to $100,000 – up from the $93,400 maximum benefit amount proposed last year. There will also be optional income top-up coverage available for higher-wage earners.
- New grief counselling and caregiver benefits, plus much more substantial death benefits for a surviving spouse and eligible dependants.
Since government outlined its initial proposed suite of Enhanced Accident Benefits a year ago, government and ICBC have conducted more than 50 engagement and consultation meetings with members of the medical, health-care, disability advocacy and road safety advocacy communities. A report summarizing this process and how it helped to develop and inform the final benefits and amounts is available here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/organizational-structure/crown-corporations/enhanced-care-coverage-summary-report.pdf
“Providing insurance coverage that truly makes available all of the care and support you need if you are injured in a crash – especially for those who suffer the most serious, life-altering injuries – is at the very heart of our new care-based model,” said Nicolas Jimenez, president and CEO of ICBC. “Importantly, you will choose your own doctor and health-care provider to lead your care, and they will work with ICBC to develop your customized recovery plan and get you back on the road to recovery.”
Drivers who are responsible for crashes will still pay higher auto insurance premiums. Although there will be a ban on most lawsuits related to bodily injury caused by a vehicle, dangerous drivers convicted of certain Criminal Code offences, such as impaired driving, could still be sued in a civil claim for certain damages and may be prevented from receiving some Enhanced Care benefits.
Enhanced Care is also making auto insurance more affordable for British Columbians. When it comes into effect on May 1, customers who buy full basic and optional insurance from ICBC will save 20% on average. Most customers will also be eligible for a one-time, pro-rated Enhanced Care refund.
ICBC’s Enhanced Care coverage: http://icbc.com/enhancedcare
Enhanced Accident Benefits engagement and consultation report: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/organizational-structure/crown-corporations/enhanced-care-coverage-summary-report.pdf
Two backgrounders follow.