Government of BC is creating a new fairness office – focused on customer fairness – that is more independent from ICBC.
The office will be required to report out publicly, in plain language, on the type and number of issues it hears, along with recommendations to ICBC.
ICBC will also be required to report publicly on actions it takes to respond to these recommendations.
The fairness office will be independent from ICBC’s claims arm, the government said.
This office will review and make recommendations to ICBC to resolve individual customer complaints, as well as policy and process, related to customer fairness.
The new office will be in place by spring 2021.
Meanwhile, the Civil Resolution Tribunal will continue to resolve disputes for ICBC claims of $50,000 and under, separate from the courts and independent of ICBC.
Additional reforms to improve how ICBC is accountable to its customers will include:
- a requirement to produce a customer-friendly summary of its annual report directly to its customers and in plain language, so that people can see how their premium dollars are spent;
- enhancing ICBC’s existing customer panel to provide more British Columbians a greater opportunity to offer input on a wider range of topics, including future changes at the corporation; and
- improving online services for booking road tests.
In another change, those who are injured and qualify, ICBC will be offering pre-litigation payments up front without the need to waive the ability to sue if they so choose.
Previously, if a person decided to take ICBC’s settlement, they had to agree to not seek additional settlement money through the courts.
The intent of this program is to help injured customers receive full and fair compensation as quickly as possible. It will also help those injured keep more of their settlement, instead of paying it to lawyer and legal fees, which can total as much as 33 per cent of the total settlement and can require a lengthy court process.
The ability for ICBC to offer pre-litigation payments will take effect as of Jan. 29, 2020, and will be formalized through legislation in spring 2020.
The new fairness office will be formalized in legislation in fall 2020.