As the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia’s costs of settling claims rises, many citizens are finding that their settlement offers are being rescinded or lowered in order to help the Crown agency manage the financial burden. Across British Columbia, lawyers are finding that all current settlement offers are being taken off the table, regardless of where in the negotiations process the case had previously been.
The Long-term Cost
When questioned by litigators, ICBC adjusters have said that this abrupt about-face regarding settlement claims is part of a provincewide strategy to clamp down on soaring claims costs. For now, it appears that ICBC is giving all cases much lower offers and no chance for negotiation. While this has upset many people, ICBC maintains that this is only being done to control the dramatic spike in injury claims over the past five years. In response, lawyers have said that they believe this will not be effective because it will lead to a significant number of cases going to trial unnecessarily. This not only puts a strain on the injured person, but it also means that the ICBC will be spending a considerable amount of money in litigation fees.
As Injury Claims Spike, So Does the Financial Burden
In a statement released by the ICBC, it was stated that there has been a 43 percent increase in the cost of injury claims. A spokesperson elaborated on this by stating that the new strategy is being implemented to help alleviate some of the pressure these skyrocketing costs are placing on insurance rates as a whole. To this end, beginning April 1, 2019, the ICBC will be placing a cap of $5,500 on claims for minor injuries. While ICBC is feeling a financial strain, it’s important to note that injured citizens may also be experiencing an unwelcome financial burden due to accidental injury. Much of the current backlash comes from those who say that ICBC is cutting costs at the expense of a plaintiff’s financial relief.
The Future of ICBC Claims
As it stands, ICBC’s new policy shift officially takes effect on April 1, 2019. In the meantime, litigators are attempting to negotiate with adjusters on behalf of their clients in order to achieve a settlement that can attempt to relieve any financial hardship.