British Columbia·Video

David Eby announces cap on expert witnesses to address losses at ICBC

B.C. is capping the number of expert witnesses allowed in vehicle injury claims in an attempt to stem the worsening losses at ICBC.

Change to legal system comes after news the insurer lost $860M in just 9 months

Attorney General David Eby says it doesn't advance anyone's interest to have more than six expert witnesses for one vehicle injury claim. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

B.C. is capping the number of expert witnesses allowed in vehicle injury claims in an attempt to stem the worsening losses at ICBC.

Attorney General David Eby announced the changes Monday morning, explaining that parties to injury claims will each be able to use one expert report for fast-track claims, and up to three experts and reports for all other claims.

"The intent of these reforms is to avoid the costs and delays associated with the disproportionate use of experts and reports that we are seeing used today, without removing access to further expertise in situations where it's necessary," Eby said.

Any additional reports would need to come from joint experts or be appointed by the court. Eby estimated the move will save $400 million a year.

According to ICBC, a review of 1,200 injury files valued at more than $100,000 found that plaintiffs used an average of six medical experts.

"It doesn't advance any interest to have six-plus adversarial experts on a claim. It doesn't advance any interest to have a $50,000 expense to resolve a $100,000 claim," Eby said.

The changes to vehicle injury claims come into effect immediately. The changes will apply to all personal injury claims as of Feb. 1, 2020.

The changes to B.C.'s system do not go as far as reforms in the U.K., which has a limit of one joint expert without a judge's approval, or Australia, which allows no experts unless explicitly permitted by a judge.

Watch: Eby speaks to media following last week's announcement on ICBC's financial losses

Eby on the benefits of the ICBC claims system

4 years ago
Duration 1:36
B.C. Attorney General David Eby says the government is trying to preserve the benefits of the adversarial claims system but acknowledges it needs to be more efficient

$860M lost in 9 months

Eby's announcement comes just days after the public auto insurer posted a net loss of $860 million in the first nine months of the fiscal year — $273 million higher than expected. Eby has described those numbers as "unsustainable and unacceptable."

According to ICBC, the escalating cost of insurance claims is to blame for its worsening financial situation.

Several changes to how ICBC operates have already been announced and will come into effect on April 1. That includes a cap on pain and suffering claims for minor injuries and a new dispute resolution process. 


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?