19 Oct Do Insurance Claim Awards Affect Insurance Premiums?
It is not unusual for Jury members to consider the impact a claim may have on their own insurance premiums:
In Norsworthy v. Greene 2009 BCSC 617, Mr. Justice Macaulay stated:
“This already creates the risk that prospective jurors may believe that the higher the award in a given case, the greater the likelihood that their own insurance premiums will rise. Such thinking is, of course, completely improper and would, if disclosed, demonstrate bias on the part of the juror contrary to his or her own. This is the elephant in the corner that cannot be ignored.”
In Sharamandari, supra, one juror commented:
“..the jury said this… well, if the plaintiff is asking for all of these medical expenses to be paid by ICBC, our insurance rates will go up, so we can’t let that happen…”
Jury members should understand that their insurance premiums will not be affected by the outcome of the cases of which they’re involved in.
A report from the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner from October 15, 2009 states that an ICBC adjuster had provided personal information about the trial’s jurors to the external defence counsel retained by ICBC for trial. Five other similar incidents of jury checking were identified in the ICBC jury trials that could be identified since 2000.
After a two-week trial and three-day deliberation, a jury awarded a single mother $216,500 for pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses for an accident the insurance giant argued never happened.
“ICBC denied my claim from the beginning and I was just relieved when the jury came back and saw through ICBC and what they were trying to do,”
“It seems that ICBC is increasingly electing to defend injury claims with the use of a jury rather than a judge alone, which is a very clever tactic indeed given ICBC’s marketing blitz suggesting that British Columbians should not be trusting one another”