British Columbia changes auto claims dispute system

Published: February 15, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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British Columbia is continuing to revamp its auto insurance market in the wake of EY’s August 2017 report that shows the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is in financial trouble. The latest measure is a new dispute resolution system for auto insurance, specifically focusing on first-party accident benefits disputes.

Additionally, resolving claims from minor injuries will also fall under the new system. However, the B.C. Ministry of the Attorney General has not given details and says the program has yet to be worked out.

The ministry says motor vehicle injury claims will be handed to the civil resolution tribunal (CRT) from 2019. Currently, the CRT is only in charge of condo disputes and small claims disputes under $5,000.

“While there is still consultation required in order to work out the specifics related to the role of the CRT, the expectation is that it would focus on accident benefits and minor injury claim resolution, including disputes around the classification of an injury,” a spokesperson for Attorney General David Eby told Canadian Underwriter Friday.

The summer 2017 report showed ICBC was in financial danger and would need to raise auto insurance rates by 30% just to break even. Since the report, there has been a lot of blaming, but little action. The B.C. government blamed the previous Liberal government for taking billions of dollars from the insurer when there was a surplus.

Attorney General, David Eby, has said premiums will not increase by 30%, but until this week offered no course to rehabilitate the ICBC. The recent confirmation the company lost $935 million over nine months of its fiscal year, which will increase to $1.3 billion next quarter has pressed the urgency of the situation.