For years now, ICBC’s financial “dumpster fire” has been a slow burn for the province, scorching its bottom line. Despite skyrocketing premiums, the Crown corporation has continued to bleed money.
ICBC’s financial woes have been a serious threat to the government’s coffers – hence Attorney General David Eby’s determined effort to fix them.
After a few failed attempts at tinkering, this week Eby announced a move toward no-fault insurance, taking decisions about payment out of the courts. Expect howls from lawyers to be loud.
Yet given the heavy financial toll of fighting insurance claims in court, the government had few choices.
Legal costs over personal injury claims have been one of the biggest cost drivers for the corporation.
Claims involving ICBC represent a huge proportion of cases moving through the court system. The public resources that go into resolving those cases represent a garbage fire in its own right.
Both the government and ICBC have known for some time dramatic action was required. Changes announced this week were among those recommended in an ICBC report several years ago that the Liberal government saw fit to scrub.
No system is perfect, and there will undoubtedly be complaints ahead. But in seeking an insurance system that does a reasonable job for the most people, the moves this week are a step in the right direction.
ICBC can’t continue to be a drive-through ATM – not for drivers hoping to cash out with big settlements, nor for the lawyers who represent them.
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