The provincial government of British Columbia and the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) have both been named as defendants in a class action lawsuit, which alleges that the Crown insurer has been illegally reimbursing the province for medical fees.
Plaintiffs Robert Rorison and Brayden Methot alleged that the reimbursements all came out of the pockets of accident victims, who needed their full benefit amounts to pay for their treatment and recovery. Lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, Scott Stanley, explained that the medical fees should already be covered under BC’s mandatory Medical Services Plan (MSP).
“They say those payments have wrongfully increased insurance costs for all buyers of compulsory vehicle insurance (the “Ratepayer Class”) while reducing the amount of other medical and rehabilitation benefits available to people who have suffered catastrophic injuries in motor vehicle accidents (the “Accident Victim Class”),” the complaint said.
The lawsuit also underlined that it relates to claims that were filed before the ICBC implemented its “no-fault” insurance system late last year.
Global News reported that the courts have thrown out the larger part of the class action application involving the ratepayer class. While the ratepayer class action application was thrown out, the Supreme Court has allowed hundreds of individuals to proceed with litigation in the accident victim class. Court filings by ICBC reveal that there are 275 people affected by the class action, whose benefits were allegedly slashed.
ICBC claimed in court that most of those accident victims have been offered compensation for the missing funds, but lawyers have argued that the true number of victims is much higher than what the insurer claims.
“To be clear, ICBC was taking money from everybody’s account,” said Stanley. “It’s only if you needed all of it that you would notice it.”
Global News stated that lawyers have been accusing ICBC of paying almost a billion dollars to medical practitioners – when the MSP should be the one reimbursing – since the 1990s.