Tag: Section 106(1) Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation

Employer Paid Sick Leave Benefits Non-Deductible in ICBC Uninsured Motorist Claim

(Update December 3, 2013 – the below decision was upheld in reasons for judgement released today by the BC Court of Appeal)
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Last year the BC Supreme Court found that employer paid wage replacement benefits are non-deductible in ICBC hit and run claims.  Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, considering this issue in the context of an uninsured ICBC Claim.
In this week’s case (Jordan v. Lowe) the Plaintiff was injured by an uninsured motorist.  He successfully sued for damages.  When seeking to collect damages from ICBC pursuant to section 20 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act ICBC argued they could deduct from the judgement the amount of sick leave benefits the Plaintiff collected from his employer.  Mr. Justice Willcock dismissed this argument finding these benefits did not have an element of insurance to them thereby not making them deductible   The Court provided the following reasons:
[20]         ICBC suggests the amendment to the Regulation, the addition of the words “compensation similar to benefits” to the definition of an insured claim, signalled the legislature’s intention to expand the definition.  I agree that must necessarily be so.  ICBC further suggests the expansion brought into the definition of an insured claim benefits that are not paid pursuant to insurance and the definition no longer necessarily imports an element of insurance.  With respect to the able submissions of counsel, I cannot agree.
[21]         When it enacted the most recent amendments to the Regulation, the legislature must be taken to have been aware of the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Lopez.  The conclusion in Lopez that the definition necessarily imports an element of insurance was founded upon the presence of the subheading to Regulation 106(1), “Exclusion of other insured loss”, and to the fact that the Regulation itself describes what are considered to be “insured claims”.  While the legislature has expanded the definition of what constitutes compensation or a benefit, it has not removed or varied the subheading of the Regulation in question and has not excluded from ICBC’s liability anything other than “insured claims”.
[22]         There was some discussion in Lopez with respect to what constitutes a “benefit” under the applicable section.  The amendment to the Regulation addresses that discussion and, in my view, may be applicable in some circumstances where there is some doubt with respect to what compensation in the nature of insurance is deductible.  It does not, however, remove or vary the requirement described in Lopez that the compensation must have an element of insurance to it.
[23]         For reasons set out in Loeppky, which I adopt and follow, I find payment of sick leave benefits to police officers employed by the City of Vancouver Police Department pursuant to their collective agreement do not have about them an element of insurance.  They are clearly benefits or compensation similar to benefits, but that alone does not suffice to cause them to fall within s. 103 of the Regulation.  ICBC is not entitled to deduct them from its liability to satisfy the plaintiff in relation to his claim against the designated defendant, Mr. Lowe.

Employer Paid Wage Replacement Benefits Non-Deductible in Hit and Run Claims

Section 106 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation permits ICBC to reduce compensation by any amount paid by another “insured claim” in claims for injuries caused by unidentified motorists or uninsured motorists under section 24 and section 20 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act .  Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing whether wage loss benefits paid by an employer are an ‘insured claim‘.  In short the Court held that they are not.
In last week’s case (Loeppky v. ICBC) the Plaintiff, a police officer, was injured in a hit and run collision.  ICBC accepted the crash was caused through the fault of an unidentified motorist.  The Plaintiff sought compensation for his damages including past wage loss.  During his time away from work his employer paid him wage replacement benefits.  ICBC argued these payments were an ‘insured claim‘ and therefore had to be deducted from his ICBC claim.  Madam Justice Grey disagreed and refused to make the deduction.  The Court provided the following reasons:

[83] In my view, Mr. Loeppky’s wage replacement benefits do not constitute an “insured claim” under s. 106 of the Regulation, and therefore may not be deducted from Mr. Loeppky’s award.

[84] In Arklie v. Haskell (1986), 33 D.L.R. (4th) 458, 25 C.C.L.I. 277 (B.C.C.A.), McLachlin J.A., writing for the court at para. 26, held that a sum of money advanced by an employer to an employee that had to be repaid in the event of any recovery did not qualify as a benefit under the predecessor of s. 106.

[85] More generally, in Lopez v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (1993), 26 B.C.A.C. 142, 78 B.C.L.R. (2d) 157, Hollinrake J.A., writing for the court at para. 21, held that an “insured claim” for the purposes of the Regulations must still import at least some element of insurance. He went on conclude that payments made by reason of a contract of employment, without some evidence that they originate from an insurer, do not possess such an element of insurance.

[86] The sum of $6,804.77 was paid to Mr. Loeppky under the collective agreement between the Vancouver Police Union and the Vancouver Police Board. Under the terms of that agreement Mr. Loeppky must repay that amount if he recovers it in this action. There is no evidence that the payments originated from an insurer. Thus, it is not an insured claim under s. 106 and the defendant is not entitled to deduct it from any award.

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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