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2020 Budget: ICBC ‘dumpster fire’ to turn into $86M surplus, NDP say

The B.C. government’s 2020 budget forecasts a shift from red ink to black for ICBC after a recently announced plan to reduce rates and improve care.

The insurance corporation has carried its debt into the 2019-2020 fiscal year with a $91-million deficit. But that deficit follows two years with more than $1-billion dollar shortfalls.

READ ALSO: B.C. to reduce ICBC rates, further restrict people from suing

The province says it will remove lawyers and legal costs to reduce rates and increase medical care coverage, predicting an average savings of 20 per cent, or $400 per driver starting May 2021.

Those savings are predicted through the implementation of what some lawyers call a “no fault” system – reducing costly battles with personal injury lawyers by expanding the Civil Resolution Tribunal – a tribunal that’s already been handling smaller injury disputes.

The tribunal will expand to handle all ICBC disputes, a change expected to save the insurance company $1.5 billion in legal fees, courtroom experts and other related costs.

Premier John Horgan has rejected the notion that the change creates a “no fault system,” instead saying it re-prioritizes care while still allowing claimants to sue.

READ ALSO: ‘Fault matters’ at ICBC, injured people matter more, B.C. premier says

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Carole James said the government is “getting things back on track.”

“The enhanced care model is really focused on providing better care and making it so that people see a drop in their insurance rates,” she said.

The 2020 three-year fiscal budget predicts an $86-million surplus for ICBC in 2020-2021, with a steady incline over the following years – leading up to a $191-million surplus for 2022-2023.

– With files from Tom Fletcher



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca
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