An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
NO-FAULT AUTO INSURANCE looks like it’s going to be a winner for John Horgan and David Eby.
After discounting the idea of no-fault insurance early on, the NDP government plans to introduce what it calls “Enhanced Care Coverage” in May 2021.
Under the new system, most lawsuits resulting from crashes will be eliminated. Fault will be determined only for setting a driver’s insurance premiums. Compensation will come directly from ICBC.
This, say Horgan and Eby, will save ICBC $1.5 billion a year, resulting in a premium reduction of about $400 a year for an average driver. And there will be no rate increase this year.
At the same time, benefits will be improved. This, after rates have been soaring to unsustainable heights over the past couple of years.
The Trial Lawyers of B.C., the B.C. Branch of the Canadian Bar Association and the BC Liberals have quickly lined up against the changes. They reason that no-fault will reduce the ability of those injured in auto accidents to obtain fair settlements.
The Liberals will have an opportunity to attack in earnest as early as this week when the Legislature goes back to work in Victoria.
Leader Andrew Wilkinson is already on the offensive, saying people don’t trust ICBC, and they should have a choice of providers. That avoids getting into the rates irritant but it will still put them on the wrong side of the overall issue.
Fact is, a 20 per cent reduction in premiums is going to be very attractive to drivers after several years of dramatic increases. With auto insurance becoming more expensive than house insurance or taxes, and in some cases more expensive than the vehicles they cover, I suspect drivers are going to welcome the plan with open arms.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.