ICBC: Je me souviens!

“Je me souviens” … French for “I remember” has been emblazoned on Quebec’s vehicle licence places since the Part Quebecois was elected back in the 1970s.

The motto actually dates back to 1883, inscribed above the main entrance of the Parliament Buildings in Quebec City, supposedly urging Quebec citizens …both French and English … to remember their proud history.. In 1939 it was added to the province’s Coat of Arms … again viewed by most as a historical and cultural tribute to the province’s past.

But under the separatists and nationalists, Je me souviens also became a rallying cry for Francophone Quebeckers to remember the domination, discrimination and disrespect they had suffered for generations at the hands of the English speaking ruling minority.

Never forget!

Which brings ME to the oh-so-unpopular-with-some Insurance Corporation of BC:  Je me souviens!

Je me souviens what it was like for many, many drivers BEFORE government-run vehicle insurance was introduced: the domination, discrimination and disrespect they suffered at the hands of huge profit-driven private corporations … that virtually held POWER over anyone and everyone who wanted to legally drive a vehicle in Canada.

For those of you too young to remember … the closest thing you could compare it to today, in my view, is the way the Health Insurance industry operates in the United States!!!

Even minimal coverage sure seemed expensive;  lots of exclusions and limitations; high deductibles; not much real choice; and then there was constant fear of being turned down, canceled or punished for  daring to file.

Heaven help many who had a claim where they WERE found to have been responsible!

It sure didn’t seem to me  there really was much competition … more like an annual shakedown … even though then (and by the way, right up until today 56 years later, I have NEVER made a single insurance claim where I was found to be at fault).

For those who did have a true “accident” … they do sometimes just happen, even unavoidably …  the “GUILTY” party would be forced to pay and pay and pay for years by the private corporate insurers  … not to the point of justice, but of exploitation.

Clearly my impressions/experiences/remembrances (JE me souviens!) of what it was like before ICBC was created were shared by millions of British Columbians.  Because the public WANTED change … to kick the bums out.

ICBC was created in 1973 by the NDP government under Premier Dave Barrett. “The original purpose of ICBC was to provide universal and affordable compulsory public auto insurance in British Columbia by operating on a non-profit basis,” reads the historical explanation in Wikipedia.


It was a revolutionary move … any MANY of us felt liberated in more ways than one.  My rates came down; my fear of being canceled or denied coverage by insurers was gone; and for the first time I saw the basic car insurance …just like basic health care … as collective caring and sharing.

Of course, there are always those who try to CHEAT the system … not only thousands of scamming motorists, but even complicit doctors, scheming lawyers and their well-programmed paid-for “experts”.

And government!

“In March 2010, Christy Clark‘s BC Liberal government announced that it would require ICBC to pay the province dividends totalling some $778 million over three years, thus signalling the end of ICBC’s operation as a non-profit Crown corporation, and also making it the only for-profit public auto insurance provider in Canada” Wikipedia points out.

The Liberals raped ICBC for more than $1 Billion.

And ICBC also became so top heavy with bureaucrats … so often typical of government-run organizations … many of them too highly paid, in my view.

It’s as if anyone who could was chewing away at what began as a bold innovative creation like vultures ripping into a carcass.

But ICBC must NOT be allowed to die.

It can be fixed; it can perform a highly valuable role for BC’s motoring public … at reasonable cost,   much better than anything private insurers could or would do for us and to us over the long haul if ICBC were eliminated or its compulsory basic requirement coverage removed.

Je me souviens!

It boggles my mind that some want to go back to a totally private car insurance system!

They’d probably LOVE the US  private health care insurance system too … until they get really sick or injured.

Harv Oberfeld

(PS. If anyone responds to this post with stories about particular private insurance companies, please do not include the company name. I’m really enjoying retirement and prefer not to spend my time in Court defending one-sided potentially libelous remarks.)

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41 Responses to ICBC: Je me souviens!

  1. Gordie says:

    Off topic, but you mentioned retirement in your post script, so maybe this is fair game. I saw on the news of a new gargantuan cruise ship and I immediately wondered if you were planning on taking a cruise on it.

    (Response: Cruising is NEVER off topic for me!! 🙂 I am leaving on another cruise soon … but the HUGE ships are not for me> Sailed on the Norwegian Epic once…was an awful experience … 4,000 people vying for chairs up top … many “reserved” at 6 a.m. by people who put books, towels on them and then headed away for breakfast, shopping, whatever, returning only hours later. Supposed to be policed…but sure wasn’t. Remember the laws of physics…they can add as many bedroom decks as they want…but there s always ONLY ONE outside deck atop it all. Also found long lineups for buffets, restaurants …shows mostly by reservation only. Service was very impersonal. I prefer ships from 1,300 to 2,800 pax.. not those mega liners. h.o.)

  2. Steve Cooley says:

    There are many faults with ICBC as it is being operated now.

    I have only one example of its benefits that I can quote. My son bought a car in Edmonton and wanted to buy a permit to drive it to Fort McMurray, then do his homework before insuring it. The Alberta cost was going to be over $200 for a one way permit. At that time the BC cost for such a permit was less than$50. Since then every time I hear about how cheap insure is elsewhere, I say ‘check the fine print’.

    My idea for ICBC is for the powers that be to task ICBC with providing vehicle insurance only. Licenses, road improvements, traffic enforcement and all other non insurance functions should be done by the branches of government that used to do those functions.

    The regulatory boards that oversee ICBC need to have a few ‘Joe and Jane lunchbucket’ members. Too many board members of the boards required to oversee our public services are populated with the entitled.

  3. One point that rarely gets mentioned is one that 60 Minutes (I believe) raised when it did a study of public car insurance, some time ago: the natural connection between the public insurer and the public roadway owner.

    In the news program piece, I believe it was particularly dangerous intersection on Knight Street in Vancouver that was improved, through the cooperation of ICBC and the City of Vancouver.

    If a private auto insurer noticed a certain location was causing a big dent in their profits, they might pass the info on to the government and police — and those parties might get around to doing something about it.

    With public insurance (and socialized medicine) bearing the brunt of all crashes, it behooves the provincial government and ICBC to have a working relationship with road designers, traffic analysts, road maintenance and law enforcement. This makes it safer for all.

    Private insurers don’t have the same connection, or clout.

    Meanwhile: it’s time for ICBC to do a few weeks at boot camp. Sharpen the tools, to all of our benefit.

  4. Howard says:

    I didn’t experience any grief with private car insurance from when I got my licence in 1964 until ICBC came into existence.

    It was just a different system, and worked well for me. You had your own agent as an advocate who would negotiate a settlement with the other party’s agent. I remember the agents had their own offices where you could go at renewal time and work out the particulars.

    Plus you always had the option to shop around since there was open competition for your business.

    ICBC was OK too when it first appeared, but it was probably inevitable that it eventually succumb to dysfunctionality like other crown corporations.

  5. motorcycleguy says:

    I agree.

  6. Gene The Bean says:

    Harvey, you have essentially spelled out the differences in Progressive governments as opposed to Conservative governments.

    “The original purpose of ICBC was to provide universal and affordable compulsory public auto insurance in British Columbia by operating on a non-profit basis,”

    A program that EVERYONE benefits from, that is fair and reasonable and is non-profit. Perfect, right?

    Well until the ‘conservative mindset’ gets a hold of it. All you need to do is look at ICBC now, bloated, broke, raped and broken. Bigly.

    Fake news?

    I’m sure some of you think so….

  7. Art Smith says:

    Je me souviens too Harvey, I remember moving to B.C. in the late 80s and being charged substantially more for one vehicle’s insurance than I was charged for two in Alberta. I remember having a slight fender bender, and I do mean slight, no damage to my vehicle at all. That cost me my good driver discount for four years, about $1500. I asked the adjuster at the time who was looking after my interest, his answer, “I am, I look after both parties.” As I was judged to be the at fault party by him, I got to pay the whole bill of about $1000. So ICBC got to profit about $500 on my accident. Lesson learned, if at fault always get a lawyer, so there is another expense to add to your ICBC bill.
    I would imagine private insurance companies use actuarial numbers to come up with their rates not political expediencies which, as we are seeing now can cause a multitude of problems.
    Obviously everybody’s interaction with insurance companies varies, but I never had any problem with any claims with private insurance and at the time paid a lot less for coverage.

  8. Thresher says:

    I don’t remember life without ICBC, but I do think that we did get fair value. There will always be anecdotes of lower insurance premiums here and there, but I think that a public insurer is most fair, as long as it is allowed to operate without political interference.

    The BCLiberal dividend demand when ICBC did not have the surplus funds is what has caused the current cash crisis, plain and simple. If ICBC is allowed to operate without interference and is allowed to charge fairer premiums to exotic vehicles and to poor drivers, I believe it can weather this current storm and come out financially secure.

    (Response: As I mentioned, I have NEVER had a claim where I was judged at fault … so for many years I have received the Road Star discount. Still think the premiums are too high …since I don’t use the car for work anymore or have any younger drivers … but I’d bet that under private basic insurers, I be penalized … despite the perfect record …like so many good young drivers, because I’m now a “senior”. They literally get you coming …and going. h.o)

  9. e.a.f. says:

    As a kid I can remember, about 9 yrs old the woman across the street having had a minor fender bender and the xxx corporation cancelled her insurance. Back then the joke was if you insured with xxx corporation, and had an accident they cancelled your insurance. Back in the 1950s it was unusual for single women to have a career and drive their own car and she did, so she was pretty impressive. She smoked also and rode horses. In the summer when she came home from work the other women, Moms, would all stop and chat with her about her day.

    When Dave Barrett and the NDP brought in ICBC it was fabulous! No more fears of loosing your insurance. I have never taken out other car insurance, having been thankful we had the system we have had.

    The financial “mess” ICBC is in today can be laid at the feet of the Christy Clark and the B.C. Lieberals. Had they not taken/”stolen” the money from ICBC it would not be in the financial trouble it is today.

    Because the money was taken and put into general revenue, in my opinion, all those who live here ought to be repay that money, not the drivers. Well we won’t be getting it back from Christy and the B.C. Lieberals, although with this money they claimed to have a balanced budget.

    If people think their rates would be less if they didn’t have ICBC think again. I believe Sask. was the first in Canada to bring in government auto insurance and B.C. followed. Its impact on the car insurance industry has been, raise your rates too high and the provincial government could bring in government insurance.

    The “pillaging” of ICBC must stop and so must the political appointments to high paying jobs there. Its time to take it back to what it was when Barrett created it. Yes, Je me souviens.

    (Response: I heard of one company (never dealt with them myself) that …even after years of taking premiums, as soon as you made a sizeable claim … would go over your original application with a fine tooth comb to find something…anything…off by even a minor mistake or date etc. to void the coverage. And of course, their corporate legal department would be too much for any hapless driver to challenge.ICBC has problems, yes, but I doubt the very vast majority of drivers have to live in fear of it that way! h.o)

  10. e.a.f. says:

    Art Smith, I’ve had car accidents which were my fault, two actually, backing up in a hurry and not seeing the car behind me, and I didn’t pay that amount because I had so many years of a safe drivers discount.

    #3, is quite correct about ICBC working with other agencies to reduce accidents. Its a good system. One I want to see continue because even if it didn’t save money, the cooperation which reduces accidents also reduces human misery from injuries and deaths. That is priceless.

    When some one you know is killed in a car accident, “Je me souviens.”

  11. harry lawson says:


    what a timely post, ICBC the sacred cow of the Barrett legacy . the Socreds and Liberals realized they could not dismantle it so they tried to kill it by changing the mandate.

    gone is providing just insurance in is providing duties of the motor vehicle branch, taking over many aspects of the department of highways, and of course funding traffic flow issues for Translink. I could go on and on . also they cut discounts for new drivers who went thru driving school. I used to think this was all unintended consequences upon reflection I wonder . I remember the private days. I for one just want back the ICBC that Dave Barrett envisioned .

    (Response: Horgan and the NDP government are on the right path in trying to curb ridiculous awards that well beyond real needs and just settlements. Maybe they should also look for ways to limit lawyers who also rip off not only the system ..but also their clients … in creaming off far too large percentages of major settlements. h.o)

  12. Hugh says:

    ICBC, like the other dumpster fire BC Hydro, was apparently well-run and benefitting the province.

    Then, in 2001, the awesome BC Liberal business managers came along and proceeded to drive them both into the ditch.

  13. 13 says:

    Life driving for me started in 1969.
    Two private insurance tales.
    Driving my dads car at 16 I blew a stop sign and had a significant collision. Dads 1960 Belair made out far better than the Renault I hit. Luckily no injuries. I was not covered to be driving the car so my dad called his insurance agent and my coverage started the day before the mva.
    I owned a 1947 Harley custom. Very nice bike which was stolen. Private Ins company paid up full value inside of 2 weeks. They said that Harleys were rarely recovered.
    Then came ICBC. 1976 or so I drove onto a snow covered parking lot . My steering tire drove over the buried steel cover of a grease pit. The cover failed and my tire dropped into the hole. It pushed the plate down and almost cut my 72 Montego in half. ICBC ruled that I was 100% at fault as the burger joint refused to admit fault. Lost my discount. I sued the burger joint in small debts court and recovered ALL of my loses including the estimated cost of lost discount.
    I started driving truck in 1974. 20 years as a company driver and 20 years paying my own ICBC as an owner operator. With a full 43% discount my ICBC premium for lousy coverage was 1995 $400 per month. 2015 my Rate was $700 per month.
    mva. A carload of kids slammed into the side of my stopped truck. I was initially found 100% at fault. The young lad driving the car did not have a drivers license , it had been suspended after being convicted of car theft. The car he was driving that night was stolen as well. I had to go to mediation to have my guilt reduced to 25%
    A machine picked up my entire semi at a port dock and then dropped it. Extensive damage to my truck and the Port operator admitted fault ICBC made me pay my own deductible and refused to go after the port . So the insurance company wrote off the entire repair. Two more instances of my truck being damaged. The port even provided a CD showing their malfunctioning gate arm slamming the hood of my truck.
    I could go on and on. My wife was rear ended in our brand new PU and she was found 100 % at fault.
    ICBC was over built and the workforce poorly trained. As ICBC grew to envelope the old Motor Vehicle Board and the CVSA and even took on road building costs it became very top heavy wasting money on a scale rivaled only by Translink.
    Now they claim they lose 3 1/2 million per day and have the nerve to poll us as to how “WE” will pay for this debacle.
    GET RID OF IT or take the tax payers feds advice and alow ICBC to go co op and bring back full open competition.
    Today I pay $124 per month for a beater with ZERO coverage. One of my kids gets full coverage IN Washington State for under $600 per year. GET RID OF IT.
    Next time Ill tell you the story of the claims manager at Blue Mountain having to apologize for calling me a racist. Take it easy Bean it was totally uncalled for

    (Response: The problem with full competition with ICBC for basic coverage is it would allow the private insurers to cream off drivers with better records, make loads of money from their premiums, but leave the government agency to cover the rest. That’s not the way insurance should work. We don’t do that with Health insurance coverage (Imagine the results if we did!) And must not allow that to happen with basic vehicle/driver/victim insurance either. ho.)

  14. JR says:

    I remember as a teen in the 70’s the rates being out of reach. ICBC corrected that and as originally mandated worked great. I totally agree with Hugh #12. ICBC and hydro are in really bad shape after the last 16 years but can be brought back.

  15. Marge says:

    I had one of the alternate insurance companies as well as ICBC a few years back. Two times I was involved in car accidents – neither of which was my fault. ICBC held my alternate insurance company (since of course it got to make all of the decisions) responsible for paying up. Now on ICBC totally. Was hit four years ago in almost the exact same way as the first two incidents and ICBC held the other driver responsible this time – he must have had alternate insurance!!!

  16. Chuckstraight says:

    I remember my father being very upset after I had totalled the family car. Icy bridge – no fault was attached to my driving- only unsanded bridge. My father indicated to the insurance agent that they wanted all the money back in the first year. Was enough for my Dad to start voting NDP rather than Socred to bring in gov`t insurance.

    (Response: Exactly. And with some companies, he could have even paid them back through higher premiums for years…well beyond what they covered. And if people think there was REAL competition between private insurers …think again: it was like today’s gas stations … prices were strangely very very close … or if one came in well below, you had to closely analyze what exactly WAS covered and what was NOT. h.o)

  17. John's Aghast says:

    ICBC must really love you Harv. I bet you pay coverage for the full year but are only exposed for the time you’re here. So they get a free ride whenever you’re in Florida?
    Or maybe not. Are you covered by ICBC if you drive in Florida?

    (Response: True…my insured BC car sits in the garage for many weeks each year…. BUT by keeping it insured, as opposed to suspending it etc., one thing I enjoy with being Roadstar … car rentals (anywhere in North America) are covered by my ICBC policy for up to 30 days each rental contract. That savings alone, over buying daily coverage from car rental company, makes ICBC great! h.o)

  18. elle says:

    ICBC has not been good to my family. One daughter was driving through a parking lot when another car backed into her. ICBC assessed both 50% because she was backing up. They had not even looked at the facts. After much conversation, we had it overturned so the other driver was totally at fault, which was right. Another daughter was driving through a green light and was hit by an oncoming car that turned into her front end. Again, ICBC decided the case before doing any investigating. They actually had paid the other driver out for his car which was a writeoff before we even knew what the verdict was. Again, much conversation and they reversed the decision but didn’t bother to retrieve the payout from the other driver. After that, we have always done our extra coverage through a private insurer. It is true that they only take the good drivers and I don’t like to support that, but a person truly needs to have someone in their corner when an accident happens and ICBC only seeks to divy up the blame so everyone’s rates can go up.

    (Response: I have no problem with EXTRA coverage through private insurers: that’s where good drivers can perhaps get a break if they want more, while still fulfilling the need for a wide base for the basic plan. However, I get my extra coverage ..beyond the minimum … at ICBC as well. Probably might it cheaper somewhere else, but feel if I ever need it, it would be easier and better to just deal with one company than two. h.o.)

  19. Gene The Bean says:

    13 comment #13 … imagine that….

    You say “I could go on and on. My wife was rear ended in our brand new PU and she was found 100 % at fault.”

    Talking to an old adjuster – that ‘story’ is not plausible. Anyone, that hits anything, under any circumstances, carries most if not all of the blame.

    If you slam on the breaks because you think you see a pothole and the guy behinds you hits you, it is his fault, not yours.

    The only exception is when something totally bizarre happens outside of a normal driving scenario like a plane making an emergency landing on the roadway and you hit it.

    No way you could get rear ended and be 100% at fault – ever.

    You either are truly the most unluckiest driver, ever, in BC or this is fake news to try and make a point.

    If its the first one, sorry for you. If its the second one, really sorry for you.

    (Response: Way back, I was rear-ended by a drunk driver while I was stopped at a red light: ICBC paid the full cost of repairs … and no premium increase. By the way, although I was financially quite strapped at that time and friends recommended I do, I did NOT go to a lawyer, claim phony injury, or have the lawyer seek out “friendly” doctors and “specialists” or “experts” to falsely pump up the claim like many people do so we could ALL cash in. ho)

  20. Temm says:

    HO in response to 19:
    “I did NOT go to a lawyer, claim phony injury, or have the lawyer seek out “friendly” doctors and “specialists” or “experts” to falsely pump up the claim like many people do so we could ALL cash in.”

    A friend was in a minor, straight forward accident, that in the old days you and I could have sorted out on the spot. There were no charges but my friend did accept fault.

    This has turned into a civil action, where the “injured” person, in their Statement of Claim, alleges my friend was driving a dilapidated, unfit vehicle with no brakes, at a high rate of speed while impaired on something.

    The “injuries” form an even more lengthy and dire list.

    The lead lawyer for the “injured” has missed several legal deadlines for filing and disclosure, knowing there isn’t a judge, anywhere, that would penalize the “injured” for having a tardy lawyer.

    The accident was in 4 years ago and there are now 9 lawyers involved.

    (Response: I actually sat on a jury in an ICBC civil case while I was still working (was surprised neither of the lawyers object, lest I unfairly influence the others ..but I did not). A woman was hit while stopped at a light … estimated impact 8 mph…little visible damage to either car, but she sued for almost lifetime financial compensation…showed up in a neck brace, complained of terrible back pain and they provided their own “expert” doctor she was referred toby her lawyer etc. TWO things though: although she could barely sit in the courtroom…so much discomfort…ICBC detective work revealed she had however been able to drive from Vancouver to Seattle AND BACK in a day to pick up a boyfriend; and when the ICBC doctor conducted standing-type tests, she did indeed wobble, sway etc …. but before the test began, she was filmed standing quite still for some time problems at all … when she did not think she was being taped, and then started to wobble as soon as she was told the testing had started. Jury gave her NOTHING; her lawyer (who seemed to have gone to a lot of trouble arranging the expert witness doctor detailing her suffering, the potential impact of even small soft tissue injuries, yada, yada was not amused … I heard he appealed the jury decision afterwards to the judge… and she tossed him out. h.o.)

  21. Gene The Bean says:

    Thanks Harvey.
    That is one of the “outside of normal driving scenarios” I referred too. Stolen car, drunk driver, police chase etc etc.

  22. Gary T says:

    I remember when I was young , before ICBC, my father getting a letter from his insurance company that he had been with for many years accident free. This company had decided that although my father had a perfect record with them , he was statistically due to have an accident, so therefore, they would have to double his policy premiums going forward. I have looked at the alternatives for coverage over and above basic insurance, and they are no bargain. And, if you look for reviews by people that have purchased this extra coverage from private companies, there are pages, and pages of horror stories about them . People should be careful what they wish for. The grass is always greener till you jump that fence.

    (Response: You would think that a very good or perfect driving record would mean lower premiums and/or better coverage. Sometimes it does work that way but insurance companies …esp private ones ..seem to trust algorithms of stats and age more over individual records. I kind of get it for drivers who are over 90 …or even 85 or 80 …but funny thing, my feeling at where that should kick in keeps going up …as I myself get older! h.o)

  23. elle says:

    Re: Response @18

    Sure it would be easier to deal with one company, but we felt that ICBC was not working for us, but rather we were the enemy and they had to get us to settle quickly and for as little as possible. A person learns a lot over the years and after having my car repaired, it was worth far less on tradein and who took the loss, not the driver that was at fault but the person who was just driving down the road and got hit broadside. We just felt that ICBC was not there for our interests and we really wanted someone on our side when we needed it. If anyone disputes what ICBC decides, they have to hire a lawyer, not to get a better payout, but to protect oneself from being blamed for something that they did not do and ICBC is too lazy to look at the details before they make a decision and blame an innocent party.

  24. D.M. Johnston says:

    In the late 60’s, my mother was broadsided at Shell and Steveston Hwy. in Richmond

    Not her fault as the chap ran a stop sign.

    The ambulance was not called because the police (RCMP) of the fire department did not want to be liable for costs if the insurance agency did not pay.

    She had to phone friends in Richmond to take her to hospital, where she was treated for whiplash and trauma.

    The injuries, later proved to be much more serious than first thought, but the insurance company was forcing her to settle, threatening all sorts of penalties etc. My dad even caught a private investigator on our property taking photos.

    They were so bad to deal with, that my parents hired a lawyer and after 2 years, she got a settlement, – $250.00, plus had to sign a waiver not to sue the insurance company at a later date. The lawyer, after it was all said and done made a cool $3,000 and change!

    Mom still was plagued by the lingering injuries until she passed two years ago!

    Two lessons learned – private insurance companies are nasty and lawyers tend to be crooks.

    Does anyone really want the bad old days of private insurance again?

    Je me souviens!

  25. Diverdarren says:

    Bean @ 19.

    Bold statement.
    “No way you could get rear ended and be 100% at fault – ever.”

    About as bold as it is wrong.

    Ayers v. Singh, 1997 CanLII 3410 (BC CA) (leading case)
    Bingul v. Youngson, 2016 BCSC 1868 (CanLII)
    Hart v. Jacobsen, 2014 BCSC 704 (CanLII)
    Cue v. Breitkreuz, 2010 BCSC 617 (CanLII)

    And these are just some of the incidents that went to trial and were reported. I’m sure there are many more incidents that put blame on the driver that was hit from behind, that have been made at the ICBC decision maker level.

    It’s rare to put the blame on the driver that was rear-ended, but there are instances of this happening. No airplanes needed.

  26. Diverdarren says:

    Harvey, I take issue with your response to Harry lawson @11.

    Settlements are just that, a settlement. It’s agreed to by both parties to settle the dispute. The government has used their power of legislation wrongly in constraining one party’s ability to settle over the other party.

    If ICBC is to be considered a private entity, then the state has no place in interfering with the contractual settlements between private parties. It’s not the government’s role to pick the winners and the losers.

    If ICBC is to be considered a public entity then the government is an interested party to the settlements. It’s inappropriate for government to use the power of legislation to impede on the separation of powers between the legislative and judicial branches. When the state has a “horse in the race” and then uses legislation to make sure their horse wins, then I can’t see it as anything but an abuse of power.

    As for your slight against lawyers, Whoa!
    It’s called a contingency.

    The lawyer takes on the cost of the client and is paid when the client wins (30%). If the client looses then the costs are borne by the lawyer.

    You may call 30% “too large”, but the lawyer is taking all the risk.

    Find me a stock broker that will buy the stock for you and only take 30% if the stock goes up, and if the stock tanks never charges the buyer for the purchase.

    Contingency fees have allowed countless people harmed by others to have access to justice that they could probably never been able to afford to get.

    And no, I’m not a personal injury lawyer 😉

    (Response: The problem with injury awards etc is they should be grounded in reality …and I see nothing wrong with governments establishing ranges for differing injuries, pain and experiences suffered long as a judge (Not a jury) can add something more in exceptional cases. In the US it is more often left to juries …who too often hand out ludicrous amounts, esp if a major corporation or famous person is involved. That’s why their legal costs/settlements can go through the roof and, by the way, that’s also partly why their health costs are also out if control … doctors are so afraid of being sued and the huge awards handed out, they order up all kinds of unnecessary tests for fear of being sued for missing something, anything. Sometimes, controls and fair limits are justifiable. h.o)

  27. Temm says:

    Diverdarren, tell me where I can find a 30% contingency lawyer. Or, do those thirty percenters charge 200% for costs and dibursements?

  28. Gene The Bean says:

    Thanks Diver, knew as soon as I hit enter some would do their best to prove me incorrect! There are always exceptions to every rule.

    Well, not every rule……

  29. 13 says:

    @ Bean and HOs response at 19. Bean I thank you for calling me a liar. Harvey you didnt rip off the system. So you deserve an atta boy. If you had ripped off the system ICBC would waste precious few resources going after you.
    Back to Bean. Bean the driver that rear ended my wife claimed she came off a side st and cut him off. I saw the two wrecked trucks. My wifes was in the middle of the block. The victims was 30 feet behind. I argued that if she had cut him off the collision would have occurred in the intersection with the left side of her truck being impacted. I also argued that when he saw her cutting him off why did he not simply change lanes. No other vehicles in the area. So maybe the old adjuster you got your info from is one of the adjusters that purposely wrote off vehicles and sold them to friends to run chop shops. Or maybe he was an ICBC employee taking cash from drivers to ensure they passed driving tests.
    As far as ICBC they pay fraudulent claims because the workers are lazy and it would require effort to prove and catch fraudsters. I already pointed out that even with a third party taking responsibility for damaging my semi they would NOT go after them for the cost of repair.
    On to another ICBC event from my past.
    A logging truck driver (unloaded with the bogies piggy backed) crossed the center line and hit my wife head on. She was very lucky to not have been killed. To see the remains of her near new Hyundai Stellar (not my idea) you would not have looked for a survivor.
    ICBC offered her next to nothing for her injuries and ripped her off a second time on the Hyundai.
    We were lucky enough to find a lawyer that took he claim. He signed a contract with my wife that in the event they went to court and lost he would charge her not a penny and would never let her walk away with one cent less than ICBCs highest final offer. My wife was fairly compensated.
    Now the claims manager at Blue Mountain story.
    I was driving my semi Westbound on Bridgeport in Richmond. A dump truck drove past me in the outside lane. He didnt stay in his lane and managed to tear the mirror off of my drivers door. He stopped and we got out to talk. I saw that he was well over the lane marker on my side and I snapped a photo to document lane position. ICBC of course decided we were 50/50. The best solution for ICBC. In the course of my arguing with my adjuster( thats a joke as the adjuster is only interested in ICBC) I got fed up and demanded to speak to the claims manager. We were on the phone arguing and in frustration I told him I was sick and tired of people hitting my truck and getting off scott free. The manager exclaimed what a racists thing for me to say! It then dawned on me that he was looking at my accident photo. The driver of the dump truck stood infront of his truck and smiled for the photo. He was a Sikh wearing a turban. I asked the claims manager if her was looking at my photo and he said yes he was. He realized what he said , apologized and my truck was fixed .ICBC Get rid of it.

  30. 13 says:

    Another ICBC story. The mva where I got found 100 % at fault for being hit by a driver driving while his license was suspended for stealing a car and hitting me with another stolen car really opened my eyes to the inner sanctum of ICBC. I had a few meetings at ICBC HQ in North Van. The gentleman there (edited to remove personal name …h.o.) told me my best course of action was to go before a mediator . I think I got to choose the mediator. So a few weeks later I met in Burnaby with” my” ICBC adjuster and a mediator. I argued that my ICBC adjust knew zero zippo nada about semi trucks and how they operated. To demonstrate her total lack of knowledge I brought he a toy truck and trailer to demonstrate her knowledge. She balked at the idea but the mediator said it was within reason to ask her to demonstrate her knowledge.
    She had no idea that the truck and trailer were two vehicles that could be separated. She had no idea of how a truck turned a corner and the off track the trailer needed.
    I looked at the mediator and claimed that ICBC had given me a very stupid adjuster. The mediator stopped the proceedings and asked me to step into the hall. She admonished me for calling the adjuster stupid and told me I must apologize.
    We returned and I said I was sorry for calling “my” adjuster stupid. I said that I would call her uninformed instead. I was still deemed 25% at fault but 25% doesnt change you discount. When you are paying $600 per month with a 43 % discount you can see why I hate ICBC.

  31. Crankypants says:

    If you Google motor vehicle offices you get ICBC links. ICBC now does what the various Motor Vehicle Offices did throughout BC.

    Does the provincial government fund all of these responsibilities that are not related to an insurance business out of general revenue?

  32. Temm says:

    As executor, I just wrapped up a simple estate.

    Without exaggeration or exception, ICBC was the most difficult, obstinate, unreasonable entity to deal with. Their staff at all levels, dispensed conflicting information, passed numerous bucks and made up new verbal rules, in accordance with the type of dog walking by outside.

    The ineptitude, ridiculously structured forms and lack of procedural knowledge, was only rivalled by the Supreme Court Probate Division.

    With the understandable exception of Land Titles, every utility, bank, retail account, private pensions, CRA, CPP, and other Government of Canada branches, accepted the Certificate of Death and Will, to close accounts and allow me to act on the deceased’s behalf.

    Not ICBC.

    For 6 months, while waiting for a Grant of Probate, the vehicle sat in a driveway, unused, but the monthly premium payments had to be made. No way around it.

    Next, with probate granted, the insurance could not be cancelled, plates surrendered or the vehicle sold, without those monthly payments being up to date.

    Done, paid, cancelled, surrendered, sold.

    A year after that was all over and done; a year and a half after the death, a thoughtful third party forwarded a letter from ICBC claiming the account was in arrears. That letter was addressed to the deceased and sent to his defunct address, not to the estate.

    It took 3 months to prove to them their system and records were a year behind. After exhausting all attempts to make it my fault they backed down. Once I was proven correct and insisted on a “fully paid” statement, someone within took it personally and issued a curt acknowledgement.

    Ironically, at the very beginning of it all, that they accepted that the man was dead and cancelled his BC driver’s license.

    In spite of all that, I still would not want to go back to private insurance.

    (Response: Your last line says it all: despite all the problems (and there ARE many at ICBC) it’s better than going back to private insurance for basic coverage. As for what you outline, for some reason no matter what level of government bureaucracy (municipal, regional, provincial or federal) there are far too often tales of overstaffing..yet lousier service. Maybe it’s because, unlike in private industry, there seems to be less attention to controlling/eliminating costs/waste. But like you, I believe that doesn’t require a return to full privatization to fix.)

  33. e.a.f. says:

    Temm, at 32, wow, that was a lot different than what our family dealt with some years ago. We knew we couldn’t use the care, the driver had died. No will either. The car insurance had been paid for a year, so when it ran out, we went to our Credit Union Insurance office and told them our story, with the death certificate and put storage insurance on the vehicle. Then when the family agreed to an executor, every thing came into the executor’s name and things allotted as the family had agreed to. then we went back to the Credit Union Insurance person and the vehicle was placed in the name of the executor. We found the Credit Union insurance representatives easy to deal with and we were happy with it all. No problems, no fuss, etc. sometimes I think its the insurance representative who can make things difficult when they don’t have the knowledge.

    Have used the mediation process and it worked great. Went into the meeting knowing what ICBC usually would go for, in amounts settled for, (did ask a lawyer that question and they all pretty much will give you 30 minutes for free or $20) and put my argument forward and said I just wanted to get on with my life. named my amount, the ICBC representative, who was not the original person I spoke with, just looked at the mediator and said, we can do that, got up and came back with the cheque. We all left happy in under 30 minutes. Now I must say the original assessor I dealt with was not nice and tried to play hard ball, explained my previous occupation and suggested I could wait until hell froze over. Many people when they go into to see ICBC adjusters are in a hurry to get things finalized, which is understandable. You don’t need to be a lawyer to deal with ICBC adjusters, you just need to be able to say NO and mean it. Now that may mean not having your car or some thing like it replaced immediately, but I’ve always been willing to drive a cheap beater until things were settled and had the money to pay for that very cheap beater, and made the adjuster aware of that.

    still wouldn’t want to go back to the old system, I remember the accident the neighbour had when I was 9.

  34. nonconfidencevote says:

    Where do I start.
    Moved here in 1981.
    I was involved in a motorcycle accident in 1990.
    The other driver was 100% at fault.
    Police, ambulance. I opted not to go to Emergency as I could still walk. Tow truck hauled my bike to my house with me as a passenger.
    The next day my body was so whiplashed I couldnt move. Took two days to walk.
    Several days later I called ICBC to report the accident and file a claim.
    As soon as they heard it was a bike accident they passed me to a “supervisor” who was oh so friendly.
    60 MINUTES later they sent a tow truck and a trench coated ICBC rep over to my house to take my bike to “whatever repair shop I wanted.
    “Just sign here, and here, and here, and here so we can fix your bike.”
    I signed away my right to sue for bodily injury

    I’ve NEVER had an “at fault” accident in 37 YEARS.
    My average Insurance coverage over 37 years?
    Easily $1000 – $1500 per year.( multiple vehicles/motorcycles?etc)
    So $37,000-$55,500 later?
    My premiums for a 4 year old truck are $1950.00 per year.
    My friends and relatives in various Provinces all across Canada stop talking in disbelief when I tell them what I pay after my 43% “discount”.

    A bloated, inefficient, beaurocracy full of overpaid, underworked, unaccountable govt sloths .

  35. 13 says:

    David Eby was doing an interview with NW. The dumpster fire interview. Mr Eby was asked if returning the 2 billion that the BC Liberals siphoned into general revenue would save the day and return ICBC to a black balance sheet. Mr Eby answered by saying it would be pointless to do that as ICBC would be 2 billion in the hole again before you knew it.
    Think about that statement??? Take the Liberals out of the equation and you still have a quasi government run MONOPOLY that looses 3 1/2 million each and every day.
    So youve got a monopoly
    Youve got a captive customer base that has to buy from your monopoly.
    You have an over paid staff with extensive benefits and a huge management team . Not one word about managers or staff being FIRED for not being able to break even with a monopoly and a customer base that CAN NOT buy plates from anyone but the monopoly.
    Get rid of it.

  36. nonconfidencevote says:

    I have a friend who was speeding (30k over the limit )and a car pulled out of a side street due to illegally parked cars blocking the view . T- Bone collision. Fatal car crash.
    The lone occupant of the other car died of a heart attack later that night.
    Charged with speeding, convicted of vehicular manslaughter, went to jail for 12 months.
    Upon his release ICBC handed him a bill for $800,000.00
    This was the settlement paid out to the family of the person killed.
    He asked them about his millions of dollars in extra liability insurance coverage he had purchased every year for years…
    “You were speeding. Your insurance was void. You owe us $800 grand. pay up.”
    He had just got out of jail. No job, minimal savings, nothing. His license was gone.
    They refused to renew it after his suspension until the 800 grand was paid.
    Couldn’t pay so they hounded him for almost a decade.
    He drove without insurance so he could work….for years.
    “What can I do? I’ll never be able to pay and they will never give my license until I do.?”
    The result?
    He’s living in another province with fake ID. Driving legally, insured, working and paying taxes..

    Think about THAT the next time you speed………

  37. Temm says:

    “He’s living in another province with fake ID. Driving legally, insured, working and paying taxes..”

    That makes no sense and the word fraudulent comes to mind.

    If he obtained his license under a fake name, he is likely not driving legally.

    BC is no different than any other province when it asks, on an application for a driver license, “are you prohibited from driving, or under suspension in any other province?” Words to that effect.

    Ok, maybe he is not “prohibited” but it could certainly be argued his license in BC is suspended.

    Hope he doesn’t get into another accident, regardless of fault.

  38. e.a.f. says:

    In debt, $800K, file for bankruptcy. works every time, just ask some corporations. We all make dumb decisions from time to time and the ramifications can be very hard depending upon what the dumb decision is. Speeding is one of those very dumb decisions we make. When you kill some one, you pay. Speeding can and does result in dead people from time to time and the price is steep for those who caused it.

    Have I ever been caught speeding. Yes. Do I still speed. Yes. I just do it now on deserted highways.

    13 at #35. doing away with ICBC because of the a deficit will only result in private corporations coming in and raising rates much higher than they are now. Remember they not only have to break even, they have to make a profit and they will.

    As to firing those “overpaid” people, Actually they are all just getting by because this is B.C. and the cost of living is through the roof. They may have an overly large management team, but the board of directors and CEO ought to deal with that, don’t blame the workers for their salaries. They were negotiated with management, as were their benefits. so if we were to follow your reasoning we would reduce their salaries so they couldn’t make a decent living, their benefits which usually are extended health and dental plans ought to be taken away and then their pensions, well that just another benefit. So in the end we would just have more people living in poverty or close to it. Those ICBC employees do make a decent salary which in turn provides jobs for others in the towns around this province. They buy homes, furniture, cars, OH and they PAY TAXES on all that income also. So lets not get to carried away with trying to reduce salaries. Low salaries, they don’t pay taxes.

    If a work place isn’t working, it is not the workers’ fault, its management’s fault. they were hired to manage and if they can’t they need to be replaced. that might start with the B. of D. which were appointed by the previous B.C. Lieberal government and they decided who the CEO was. They decided how the company was run. The NDP just got into office. Its going to take awhile for it to get things straightened out.

    What we haven’t recognized is the cost of claims. people used to get killed or just died. Now they don’t and they get larger settlements because more are living. Then there is the no small matter of the vehicles we drive. A side mirror on some cars cost $1,200 each. Bumper gets smashed. I used to drive cArs that you could replace a bumper on without replacing the whole back end. The electronics in cArs these days are expensive. have an accident and its a fortune to repair them. Want to reduce the cost of repairing them? Insist we all drive basic cars. Some cars are very expensive and perhaps they ought to be a premium on those insurance rates. bend a wheel on some cars and its thousands. My premiums are about $950 per yr and I’m good with it. I know I won’t be refused insurance, so life is good. Try living in fear your insurance will be cancelled and not being able to drive or being hit by some one with no insurance, under the private insurance plan…..

  39. 13 says:

    eaf, if you look across the land you will see that private insurance is competitive in price.
    Your theory that government workers should be “overpaid” because BC is an expensive place to live wont wash with most private sector workers.

    The model that the tax payers fed proposes for ICBC could work to calm the fear that private insurance will cost more than ICBC because they cant operate at break even they need to be profitable. As to Harveys assertion that ICBC will be left to insure only bad drivers.
    Perhaps, but ICBC could also get good drivers by offering competitive rates. Remember one of the excuses from the money pit called ICBC for bleeding cash through a gaping wound is bad drivers. So let them pay for their bad driving.

    To continue to allow ICBC to exist as a monopoly that looses money is beyond any reasonable business plan. Only someone wearing orange colored lenses can see any value in propping up a venture that looses 3 1/2 million per day.

  40. 13 says:

    eaf your ICBC rate sounds to me like the rate at 65 or older driver pays if he/she doesnt drive to and from work.
    Just a bit self serving to allow the rest of the province to get ripped off to protect your rate?

  41. 13 says:

    eaf, I love your lodgic. ICBC workers negotiate their wages and benefits. Sure they do . ICBC workers pay taxes on their good wages and excellent benefits. Sure they do. They negotiate with an employer that simply doesnt give a rats rectum because all of this poverty fighting largess comes from……..wait for it………. tax payers.

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