David Eby and His Love for No-Fault ICBC Insurance

David Eby and His Love for No-Fault ICBC Insurance

As I struggle to read the propaganda that David Eby, the NDP Attorney General, is presenting to the public I wonder how he honestly believes what he has to say or does he?

Certainly he is bound as a lawyer to be honest and truthful and clearly he struggles with the truth when it comes to ICBC in order to advance his political position. Is he lying outright and exaggerating to the public or is he simply unaware of the truth that exists behind ICBC?

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he has never practiced extensively in the area of ICBC injury Law so perhaps he is getting fed misinformation by ICBC and he is not reviewing information with independent third-party sources? Or is he using the Donald Trump tactic of exaggerating for benefit?

Let’s use the June 17, 2020 Vancouver Sun article as the latest example of David Eby’s tactics to convince the unsuspecting un-knowledgeable public on his program of no-fault.

In the article, it starts with the comment from David Eby, “The bar association (lawyers) has taken a position… to support a status quo approach to automobile insurance in BC-one has seen hundreds of millions in insurance premiums spent every year on legal costs”.

That statement is flat-out misleading intending to convince the public that lawyers are getting all these legal fees. First of all, one of the reasons why legal costs have gone up so significantly in recent years is that the NDP and David Eby armed ICBC with a hard-line take it or leave it approach which is forcing more and more cases to trial or to the courthouse steps. This invariably increases the cost associated with the file so it’s actually ICBC that’s increasing the legal fees not the Bar Association as he says. Secondly, what he fails to indicate is that a large portion of the costs associated with injury claims is the fact medical doctors are charging hundreds of millions of dollars a year to provide opinions that ICBC requires regardless of the insurance system in place. That is, the doctors are charging thousands of dollars per report increasing the non-lawyer costs on the files that ICBC is involved with. Therefore, it’s an exaggeration in the Donald Trump realm to blame the lawyers on the cost. I suspect David Eby is able to read a balance sheet at ICBC and knows full well that he’s exaggerating the truth in that statement.

He then goes on and makes the outrageous statement “our government has been clear that we will not-and simply cannot-accept unaffordable insurance rates or benefit levels that leave people to live in poverty after they’re injured in a crash”. The more I read this statement the more I just can’t understand what he’s saying other than he is completely misleading the public. With the lawyers helping to dispute ICBCs rulings, people actually do much better off and live a reasonable life after an injury. Without lawyers, ICBC is able to do whatever they want and you can be rest assured that they will be denying just about everything and putting people out on the streets. So if anything, the no-fault insurance, which is a direct attempt to limit legal rights and prevent legal representation, is geared to ICBC having complete and ultimate control over everything which we all know means they’ll be denying claim after claim to save money for ICBC. Also, the no-fault system greatly reduces the level of compensation for injured parties as they no longer get pain and suffering for the injuries not to mention full wage loss and full treatment expenses. There’s simply no way to reconcile that statement as being honest and reasonable. It’s a gross exaggeration in the realm of Donald Trump.

In an effort to pay off the voters with a nice $400 reimbursement cheque leading up to the October 2021 election, David Eby has the audacity to say “when Enhance Care comes into effect in May 2021, BC drivers can expect to see their rates drop by an average of 20%, or $400, and to have some of the best benefit levels in the country.” Again, this is a Trump type exaggeration. Across Canada it’s been proven that no-fault programs do not result in a substantial savings to insurers. This is not surprising because what ICBC is pursuing is a system where ICBC hires an ever-increasing number of unionized adjusters to basically take care of cases indefinitely and perhaps the entire lifetime of the claimant in some cases. This is a massive increase in bureaucracy and expenditures. Add to the fact that everyone that causes an accident, even if it’s egregious conduct on their part such as texting and driving, gets the absolute same benefits as the poor victim they injured. In other words, what you’re getting is double the claimants getting benefits plus you get a massive government bureaucracy with open-ended files that potentially last forever. Any person with any insurance knowledge would understand that this is a very expensive program when you double up the potential claimants, leave the files open indefinitely and have more and more adjusters finding things to do to keep themselves busy.. Either David Eby has been convinced on the economic cost savings of this project by biased individuals at ICBC or he’s flat out misleading the public and his own party on the economic benefits of the no-fault system.

Just to show how misleading or naïve David Eby is, he added to his pitch on no-fault by saying “we are committed to a new way of doing auto insurance that is less adversarial and gives people the benefits and care they need to recover from their injuries.” Again, in Trump fashion, he’s overstated the facts. There are a large number of people that simply do not recover ever from the injuries. Yes people involved in a minor injury do recover but somebody that is a quadriplegic, amputee, brain injured individual, etc. never recovers so Mr. Eby is ignoring the fact that these individuals need a lot more than just care items to “recover from their injuries”. They need lifelong support and money to have a reasonable life and under the no-fault system, the benefits, assuming that the ICBC adjuster doesn’t cut them off on no evidence, are simply not enough and that’s why lawyers have become prevalent in this business. If ICBC was generous and reasonable then there wouldn’t be any lawyers.

What is definitely a Trump like exaggeration is he points out that the no-fault medical benefits are $300,000 currently and are going to be moved to $7.5 million. When the benefit were $150,000 a few years back, only 42 people in an entire year reached the maximum so chances of anyone even coming close to the new maximum is NIL. I haven’t personally seen a case over 30 years where the individual would receive $7.5 million in care so what Mr. Eby did was put in a big number which he knows full well is never going to be reached but he can use that to exaggerate his position with the public.

He then goes on to say in the same article that individuals get replacement benefits that will be 60% higher-up to $1200 a week. Again he is misleading the public by first of all failing to note that lower income individuals will not get anywhere near that amount if they’re injured. Also, this only amounts to $62,400 per year for life. If somebody is catastrophically injured and cannot work and had a decent job before the accident, the level of compensation is vastly lower then what one would normally receive through the old system which is full compensation for wage loss, past and future.

Mr. Eby then closes out by indicating “by largely removing lawyers and legal fees from the system, we expect to see $1.5 billion and overall reduce costs of insurance for BC drivers while at the same time allowing for a much improved care and recovery benefits.” Again, this is a complete misstatement on the truth and a Trump like exaggeration. If ICBC seriously is going to see $1.5 billion in savings it sure isn’t the lawyer fees they say they’re saving will make up the difference. Rather, it means that a large number of injured individuals will be receiving substantially less or no compensation because again, you must remember that the new system is adding a whole group of at-fault bad drivers to the compensation scheme. You can quickly see that the savings mean that pretty well every injured party is going to be severely impacted by the new system to the point of receiving very little or any compensation for being injured by somebody else. The argument that people are getting “much improved care and recovery benefits” is again an exaggeration because under the old system, an individual gets full compensation for wage loss and out of pocket expenses, past and future, and now under the new system, those benefits are greatly reduced not to mention easily cut off by an aggressive ICBC adjuster who has had a bad day and just says NO just because.

In summary, one would expect a politician to be honest and upfront when making political decisions but when the truth does not support the policy, like in the case of no-fault, David Eby is taking a Donald Trump type approach of exaggerating the truth in order to convince the unsuspecting general public of a plan. We all know that Mr. Eby has a tremendous dislike for lawyers, despite being a lawyer himself, and that’s the true motivation behind the program. In order to sell a program that has massive implications to any injured party, he must mislead and exaggerate his position to gain public support. Otherwise, the right-thinking public would see how bad the no-fault system is to anyone involved in a car accident that’s not their fault. The bad driver that caused the accident will be toasting Mr. Eby for years to come as they are the big winners in the no-fault game.