The Province

Eby expects ICBC losses to push $900 million


Attorney General David Eby says ICBC expects worse-than-predicted losses of $890 million this fiscal year, after losing $1.3 billion last year.

Eby said in a news release Friday that the Insurance Corp. of B.C.’s second-quarter results show that the insurer’s financial position remains serious.

He has called ICBC a “financial dumpster fire” and on Friday reiterated his criticism of the previous B.C. Liberal government for ignoring ICBC’s dire state and keeping it hidden from the public.

“This financial situation reflects the mounting pressure ICBC is under from the rising number and cost of claims,” Eby said.

“The primary reasons are higher bodily injury costs, as well as claims taking longer to resolve, which often result in higher claims costs. A key driver of these costs is a growing trend toward plaintiff lawyers strategica­lly building the value of the claim, costs which have to be paid for by ICBC ratepayers.”

Eby said that since March of last year, the dollar value of settlement­s demanded by lawyers for plaintiffs rose by 27 per cent and the average cost of closed, litigated injury claims for the first six months of fiscal 2018 hit $121,686, up from $100,427 during the same period last year.

Those lawyers are also spending more money to build their cases, increasing the average cost of experts and reports by 20 per cent, Eby said.

“Earlier this year, our government announced a suite of product changes to stem ICBC’s losses, provide enhanced care for people injured in crashes and to make insurance rates fairer,” Eby said.

Eby said those changes are expected to bring in $1 billion in savings annually but won’t start until the reforms take effect on April 1, 2019.

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