New ICBC no-fault insurance model launches in May

VICTORIA —
As of May 1, ICBC’S enhanced care auto insurance program, also known as “no-fault insurance,” will be rolled out to drivers across the province.

“I think it’s a better system because there are more benefits for people to get better,” said Nicholas Jimenez, president and CEO of ICBC.

“Fault still matters, you will still pay higher premiums if you cause a crash,” he said.

The new insurance structure will save drivers an average of $400 per year, and provide expanded access to recovery healthcare for those who need it, according to ICBC.

“A big part of the savings in the new system is the fact that we won’t be spending hundreds of millions of dollars on litigation,” said Jimenez.

Under no-fault insurance, the injured party loses their right to sue for damages. including loss of wages, which could often be in the millions.

“But instead you could receive payments, like you might receive workers compensation board payments, regardless of who was responsible for the car accident,” said Michael Mulligan, a criminal defence lawyer.

That means the party at fault can get the same coverage and benefits as the person who is not at fault.

“The whole point of insurance is the many providing for the few,” said Colin Brown, president and CEO of Stratford Underwriting. “The few being those that need the money and they’ve taken that aspect of it away.”

In 1974, Brown helped the province setup ICBC. He’s not a fan of no-fault insurance but says we’re now stuck with it.

“It is a lot easier since they’re a monopoly,” said Brown. “They have control over the so-called ‘basic’ and if they say this is all now in basic, then so it is.”

ICBC says it’s confident in the new policy.

“It’s not just a good thing, it’s a great thing,” said Jimenez. “I think people are going to know when they go to renew their insurance and they see that it’s going to cost less.”

In the meantime, Mulligan has a suggestion for you on how to spend your ICBC rebate cheque.

“Consider purchasing your own private disability insurance,” said Mulligan. “I can tell you that’s what I have.”

“I don’t want to be beholden to ICBC in the terrible event that I wind up injured and unable to work,” he said. 

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