Rising accident claims and associated court costs have added to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Penticton Western News)

ICBC surpluses should be hands-off to politicians, David Eby says

NDP to make taking profit from optional car insurance illegal

With the Insurance Corp. of B.C. projected to get back in the black this year, the B.C. government is moving to end the practice of transferring surplus funds to help the province’s overall bottom line.

Attorney General David Eby said Monday he is introducing legislation this week to make it illegal to direct ICBC to turn over excess revenues. That would mean a future government would need a majority vote in the B.C. legislature to change the law before doing it again.

The previous B.C. Liberal government last took what was called a “dividend to shareholders” in 2015, transferring $138 million from the Crown corporation for what was then a surplus budget. The annual transfers were as high as $576 million in 2009-10, diminishing in the following years as ICBC’s costs and claims began rising.

After losses of $2.5 billion in the past two years, Finance Minister Carole James’ February budget projects a loss of $91 million for the fiscal year ending March 31. With a cap on minor injury payouts and an administrative tribunal taking injury disputes out of court, the budget projects an $86 million surplus for 2020-21, increasing to $191 million in two years.

RELATED: Budget projects ICBC to return to surplus this year

RELATED: New drivers paying more for optional ICBC coverage

Eby expects further legal battles with the personal injury lawyers who have challenged his reforms in court. A B.C. Supreme Court judge struck down his first effort to limit the number of expert witnesses in injury cases last year.

Since that decision, Eby has moved to further restrict the ability of injured people to sue. Further legislation is expected to move to the “no fault” system for most injury cases, with a prescribed payout similar to the way WorkSafeBC deals with injuries or death on the job.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureICBC

Just Posted

Couple home safe after COVID-19 lockdown in Peru

Cortney Pitts and Maxime Patenaude “won the lottery” to get to come home from Peru.

Back in print

We are pleased to announce that the April 9 issue of the Pioneer will be available in print.

Foodbanking in the time of COVID-19

Local food bank needs are high, but Lawrie Mack said: “there is hope to counter the gloom.”

Wilder homes without water, residents unable to wash hands

Temporary water issue should be resolved today

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read