By CRM Staff

Toronto, Ontario -- April 1, 2019 -- British Columbia auto insurance rates rose by 6.3 percent on Monday, unfortunately for drivers, the news was no April fool’s joke.

The increase, which will translate into approximately $60 per customer, was given approval by the B.C. Utilities Commission back in January.

Also coming into effect April 1 is ICBC’s restructured policy which includes a new benefit of $1,000 for for necessary medical supplies and services, which were previously not covered, such as naturopathic treatments, compressions stockings or therapy equipment; $740 a week to supplement lost income for customers injured and unable to work – a 147 percent increase; $280 a week for support around the house, such as cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping – a 93 percent increase; $7,500 to help with funeral costs – a 200 percent increase; and up to $30,000 in death benefits, to be paid to surviving family members – a 67 percent increase.

“These are massive changes; they are [the] largest change in the 45-year history of this company,” ICBC CEO Nicolas Jimenez told Global News.

“This is a massive reorienting of the system. We are moving away from one oriented on litigation and [to one that] is really focused on care.”

Changes to ICBC’s accident benefits are projected to increase by $200-million annually. Increases care includes coverage of more treatment options including acupuncture, chiropractic care, clinical counseling, psychology, registered massage therapy and more.

The increased accident benefits, however, will be offset by the savings from restructured changes, such as the $5,500 cap being placed on pain and suffering payouts for injuries that fall under the minor injury definition, which will save the private insurer an estimated $1 billion annually.

“While more is yet to come, April 1 marks the first day of real change for B.C. taxpayers who have been covering the costs of the previous government's ICBC negligence,” said David Eby, B.C.’s attorney general.

“These generational changes have involved historic levels of work both inside and outside ICBC to achieve, and I am grateful to everyone involved in this important work. We will be monitoring these changes carefully to ensure ICBC can deliver affordable, high-quality car insurance to British Columbians.”


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