How Is British Columbia Changing Its Caps On Minor Claims For Car Accidents?

The Insurance Commission in British Columbia (ICBC) is unlike any insurance system in Canada’s other provinces. When first established, that Commission was a non-profit organization. Later though, it was turned into a government-associated business.

The financial effects of that change

ICBC must take on some functions that are normally assumed by a government office. For instance, it needs to register vehicles, issue licenses to the operators of those vehicles, and help with outreach efforts in the area of traffic safety. Normally, an insurance company does not have to use some of its profits in order to support such activities. For that reason, ICBC has sought to limit its losses. The changes in the capping policy, which were introduced in 2019, represented an attempt a limiting the possible monetary losses.

What are the details of the changes in the capping system?

The Province has placed a cap of $5,500 on any award for pain and suffering, when the claimant suffered only a minor injury. A minor injury is one that does not leave the victim with a permanent disability or impairment. In order to keep the public happy, the Province combined the announcement about the new caps with word about some increases in certain benefits. Like the new caps, the increases were introduced in 2019.

What benefits have been increased?

• The limit on the size of the reimbursement for medical expenses was raised from $150,000 to $300.000.
• The wage loss benefit was increased from $300/week to $740/week.
• The injured homemakers enjoyed a boost in the size of their benefit. Each of them can now expect to receive $280/week, an increase of $135.

The other benefits related to the money offered to families that had lost a loved one, due to injuries suffered in an accident. The money offered for funeral expenses was increased from $2,500 to $7,500. The largest increase was in the amount offered as a death benefit to members of the grieving family. In the past, that benefit had ranged between $17,580 and $20.080. Now it is just a single figure, $30,000.

How will the Commission have money enough to pay for all of those increases?

ICBC has given thought to increasing the cost of the insurance for some policy holders. For instance, it plans to raise the cost of premiums for high risk drivers. Those would be the less-experienced drivers, as well as those that have a history of getting cited for traffic violations. Personal Injury Lawyer in Langley know that ICBC’s records also show which drivers have been involved in a series of recent accidents. The names of those motorists might also get included in a list of high-risk drivers; those, too, should expect to pay a higher premium.