Injury claims, not collision repairs, are the biggest pressure on ICBC rates. (Black Press files)

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

The president of B.C.’s Automotive Retailers Association has rejected suggestions by an ICBC union that the public car insurance company’s financial pressures are partly due to overbilling on collision repairs.

With ICBC undergoing an audit by the province to find savings and curb rising vehicle insurance rates, Ken McCormack said there is no evidence behind allegations by the union representing ICBC estimators that repair shops using the ICBC Express claim program are producing unnecessary costs.

“Overbilling doesn’t happen and really can’t happen with the province-wide estimating system that won’t allow an accredited shop to submit a repair estimate that doesn’t meet established criteria,” McCormack said Monday.

ICBC is facing a deficit and a rate increase of 6.4 per cent on basic coverage and 9.6 per cent on optional insurance takes effect this month. The NDP government approved the rate increase and ordered a review of ICBC operations to seek savings.

RELATED: ICBC rates going up this month

ICBC financial statements show increasing costs of injury claims. From 2009 to 2016, claims costs rose 80 per cent, with the steepest increases for minor injuries and legal costs.

McCormack noted that the latest ICBC financial reports show collision repair costs are only 15 per cent of the total costs to ICBC.

“As suppliers, we are already as lean as we can be and there simply aren’t any more areas where we can lower costs and remain viable,” McCormack said. “The open door to fraud is with the bodily injury component and the government should be looking in that direction.”

Attorney General David Eby has ruled out adopting a no-fault insurance system that would assign a value to injuries by type and avoid the legal haggling that currently accompanies many bodily injury claims.

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