'British Columbians are paying too much': B.C. attorney general freezes ICBC's rate application

Citing years of mismanagement, the B.C. Government has put the brakes on the insurance rate application ICBC makes every year to the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC). 

B.C. Attorney General David Eby has directed a delay to the public auto insurer's application until February, in order to allow time for two sets of planned reforms, according to a statement issued Thursday.

"We will not ask ICBC to put forward a 2020 rate application based on an incomplete financial picture," said Eby.

"Instead, we will wait until that work is complete to ensure any rate changes are based on the actual costs anticipated in the year ahead."

Tanya Fletcher / CBC

In February 2018, the province tried to stem ICBC's financial bleeding, in part, by introducing caps on the number of expert witnesses testifying in injury lawsuits.

A recent court decision struck down the caps. But instead of appealing the decision, the B.C. government opted instead to legislate the changes.

Those changes made to B.C.'s Evidence Act limit the number of expert reports but also include a window of discretion that will allow judges to decide whether additional experts are needed in some cases.

Eby said the province is also working on reforms in the tort system that it believes will help reduce costs and have a positive impact on rate changes.

"British Columbians are paying too much for car insurance, [and] ... we have much work ahead to get these costs down for families."