Fundamental changes to the auto insurance system in B.C. are coming April 1.
Starting next week, anyone injured in a crash will have access to improved benefits to support their care and recovery.
In addition to the doubling of overall accident benefits to $300,000, that came into effect January 2018, those injured in a crash will see even more improvements to the accident benefits program.
“The changes mean the value of Basic insurance coverage has significantly increased – providing more treatment and support if you’re injured in a crash,” said Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC president and CEO, in a news release. “This is a monumental change and one that will help make sure B.C. has a car insurance system that works for all British Columbians, today and in the future.”
The additional improvements to accident benefits will come into effect for any new claims made on or after April 1, 2019:
A new benefit of $1,000 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 per cent increase.
$280 a week for support around the house, such as cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping – a 93 per cent increase.
$7,500 to help with funeral costs – a 200 per cent increase.
Up to $30,000 in death benefits, to be paid to surviving family members – a 67 per cent increase.
ICBC will also pay more for treatments and cover more types of treatments for both new and existing claims starting April 1, 2019 – including acupuncture, chiropractic care, clinical counselling, psychology, kinesiology, registered massage therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy.
The changes are estimated to be a net increase of approximately $200 million annually, however these expenses will be offset by the savings from all the changes, estimated at more than $1 billion annually after full implementation, according to ICBC.
To allow more money for care and treatment, effective April 1, there will also be a limit of $5,500 on pain and suffering payouts for injuries that fall under the minor injury definition and a new independent dispute resolution process to help settle injury claims.
B.C.’s minor injury definition is clear, comprehensive and fair, ICBC says. It balances increased care and fiscal responsibility. Regardless of who is responsible for the crash or the severity of the injury, those injured in a crash will have access to the significantly improved benefits put in place to support their recovery process.
A medical practitioner – not ICBC – will diagnose a customer’s injuries and ICBC will use this to assess whether the injury falls under the minor injury definition found in the legislation and regulations amended last year. Customers with concerns about ICBC’s determination of their injury as minor will have a new, independent dispute resolution option through the Civil Resolution Tribunal, starting April 1.