"Soaring Injury Claims Blamed for Hike: ICBC"
ICBC wants to raise the rates for basic auto insurance in B.C. effective Nov 1/13.
The headline of the August 30, 2013, edition of the Vancouver Sun reads:
" $2 billion; Soaring Injury Claims Blaimed for Hike: ICBC - 4.9% Increase: Expect to pay more when you renew your car insurance this year."
What's going on?
Why is ICBC looking to charge more for the basic auto insurance you have to buy if you want to insure a vehicle in BC?
Well, that depends on who you listen to.
ICBC President Mark Blucher says the cost of injury claims and more injured people being represented by lawyers is to blame ( you can find his thoughts at page A11 of the Vancouver Sun).
Me, I not so sure that Mr. Blucher has it right.
From my experience (and from talking with other BC personal injury lawyers) it's the way ICBC has chosen to handle injury claims in the recent past that is largely to blame for "the rising cost of bodily injury claims".
What am I talking about?
A few things.
First, ICBC is pushing cases to trial that could likely be settled for less than a judge awards. You see, many people would prefer to avoid the hassle of a trial by simply settling their case. But if ICBC isn't willing to pay them anything close to what a court would ... let's just say that they have to do what needs to be done.
Secondly, ICBC often waits until a few weeks before trial before they start to get serious about settlement negotiations. Here's the thing, it costs money to prepare a case for trial. The closer a case gets to trial the more money it costs. And in the vast majority of cases, it's ICBC who's going to end up paying for these costs eventually anyway. So....
And as for more people hiring lawyers than in years gone by.... Why is that the case?
Could it be that people aren't receiving the type of service they're looking for when dealing with ICBC?
Is it possible that some folks who try to settle their cases directly with ICBC are finding that they can't get what they consider to be a fair settlement?
What do you think about ICBC's intention to seek a rate increase?
Let me know.
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