ICBC announces plans for a new sort-of-no-fault model
As residents of BC know, ICBC's is the monopoly government auto insurer in BC. Their rates are the highest in the country, and their disastrous finances have been widely described as a "dumpster fire". This is due to a combination of factors including decades of an uncompetitive government bureaucracy, excessive management bonuses paid every year without justification, the provincial government robbing ICBC's coffers to pretend the budget is balanced in election years, and runaway litigation costs due to their adversarial policies. An obvious solution would be to get rid of them, but the NDP government could never bring themselves to privatize something run by the provincial government, no matter how broken it may appear.
Under tremendous pressure to get the financial house in order, ICBC has decided to focus on the last problem listed: runaway litigation costs. There are few details yet, but apparently they plan to bring in a model something like Ontario's Insurance Act that sets forth firm liability rules, no appeal possible, and firm guidelines as to how much compensation can be received. Drivers will not be allowed to sue for damages or to challenge liability rulings, unless there is a criminal charge involved. "Fair" decisions will be made by a new arm of ICBC.
In my opinion this is terrible. The are re-affirming ICBC's government monopoly, and preventing challenges to their decisions by allowing them to rule on liability and set damages unilaterally. They say this will reduce their costs - but I'll bet you that they won't reduce the costs to BC drivers!
We already have a problem with the multiple conflicting roles of ICBC in BC. They are the provincial regulator, the monopoly auto insurer, and the designated judge of accident liability and compensation awards. Now they want to replace the court judge and jury as well.
Personally I have had 3 disputed accident settlements with ICBC in my decades here. In each case I was eventually successful in getting full satisfaction from ICBC, but it was excessively difficult and wasted a lot of time and money - in one case I had to take them all the way to small claims court. It was clear to me that ICBC is costing themselves money by failing to train their adjusters adequately, being belligerently insistent on sticking to their initial slapdash ruling in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and preferring to spend money on litigation when any rational organization would have reconsidered and settled. They made their own mess. Now they want to patch over the symptom in a way that's unfair to their unwilling customers instead of fixing the problem.