Tuesday, 1 September 2015

ICBC seeks 6.7% basic insurance rate increase

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver
ICBC wants to increase insurance rates to cover injury claim costs.
file photo
ICBC wants to increase insurance rates to cover injury claim costs. file photo

It said injury costs have risen $170 million over the last year alone — anticipated to cost $2.3 billion in 2015. Several costs are being held as culprits — higher legal and medical costs, more complex or catastrophic claims that result in huge settlements, and a large jump of minor soft tissue injury claims.
The insurer says fraudulent claims have also had an impact — it investigated 3,200 injury claims last year.
ICBC CEO Mark Blucher said it’s estimated — based on worldwide figures — that up to 20% of all claims involve some element of exaggeration or fraud.
“ICBC wouldn’t be immune to it, that’s why over the last few years we’ve been increasing the scope and undertaking investigations,” he said.
“Those that are fraud we don’t pay the money or we seek to get reimbursements for any money we already paid — in many cases those people are charged.”
Blucher said the insurance corporation does not currently know what has driven an increase in “soft tissue injury” claims that are usually minor. It’s trying to figure out what types of crashes cause these injuries and who is getting hurt in them.
ICBC says these injuries are puzzling as they haven’t corresponded with an increase in crashes.
The corporation says it received 67,700 new injury claims from July 2014 to this year, an increase of 6,700 claims.
Todd Stone, B.C. transportation minister, said he has staff working with ICBC to try to reduce the percentage increase.
Under law, ICBC next year can either have a 3.7% or a 6.7% increase, based on the requirement that the rate — whether it increases or decreases — can only move up or down by 1.5% from last year’s rate change.
“The acceptable figure for myself would be whatever rate we can get this down to below 6.7%,” Stone said.
ICBC says a 6.7% rate increase would help it generate another $180 million in revenue.
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