Wednesday, October 22nd12.2°C
23711
23038

Incorrect principal operator & denial of insurance

B.C. topics.

Moderators: oneh2obabe, Triple 6, Jo, ferri

Re: Incorrect principal operator and denial of insurance by

Postby my5cents » Jun 30th, 2012, 12:59 pm

John500 wrote:Seems like no matter who is in government, they treat ICBC as a cash cow. I just wished ICBC just deals with car insurance. But it seems they have their tentacils into everything nowadays. Why? Why not stick to what they have been created for. To supply BC residents with affordable vehicle insurance. And let private insurance companies compete with them. If ICBC is that good, they will get most of the business anyway. The fact that the various governments have used ICBC for transferring millions of $ to the government general accounts is wrong. Why should a government insurance company charge so much that millions can be transferred to the government general account. Case in point, Manitoba mandatory Provincial insurance had to refund drivers $400+ because monies were transferred into general government accounts. At least someone had the balls to take them on and take them to court. And then we have those who say that if that cannot happen, the government will increase taxes on other items. Well, they do that anyaway regardless. This whole ICBC thing stinks in my books. They really need some competiton in basic insurance. It will shape them up or have them fold. The argument that bad drivers have to pay more for insurance is valid. Why should I have to pay for someone elses stupidity. And even ICBC start to realize that now...after 40+ years in business.

I'm not sure where ICBC's "tentacles are into everything nowadays", unless you mean the registering of vehicles, and the issuing of driver's licenses. The only other area they're involved with is road safety.

They are all related to driving of a vehicle. It eliminates government employees that we'd have to pay for and the fees are comparable to other jurisdictions.

As far as transferring money. I agree it shouldn't happen, however all the money comes from the insurance that ICBC is in competition with private insurance. It isn't from the mandatory basic liability end of the business.

Before we criticize ICBC for "giving the money to the government", we should realized that it's the GOVERNMENT TAKING the money. I don't think the CEO of ICBC called up the premier and said that ICBC had too much money and would they please take some.

The fact that ICBC can compete (and they do) with their price and product with private and still have a surplus to give to government shows you how much private is charging.

The liability end of the business (the non competition side) isn't the money maker, it's the own damage, the road service coverage etc etc. All of that is open to complete competition.

As far as "Why should I have to pay for someone elses stupidity.", things happen. None of us, even the good/great drivers can have a liable accident. I wouldn't want to see people who drive for 20 years claim free, and then round a corner on a dark highway and hit a rock slide get raped by their insurance for just one claim. It's not always "stupidity" that causes a collision. Granted,,, usually there's some, but not always.
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it"
my5cents
Grand Pooh-bah
 
Posts: 2008
Likes: 195 posts
Liked in: 221 posts
Joined: Nov 14th, 2009, 3:22 pm

Re: Incorrect principal operator and denial of insurance by

Postby LongHaul » Jul 20th, 2012, 10:23 pm

This is an interesting case where ICBC denied insurance coverage to a motorcycle driver who had a class 6 learner's permit and was involved in an accident. It may be useful to anyone who have had ICBC deny their insurance coverage in similar circumstances.

The motorcycle driver operating under a learners permit was involved in an accident while under direct supervision of a qualified person as required by regulations. ICBC denied insurance coverage. The motorcycle driver (plaintiff) took ICBC to court and won. ICBC appealed the case and lost again in the Court of Appeal. ICBC seems to have been really determined to win this case. The accident happened in September 2008 and it was finally settled in the Court of Appeal March, 2011. Must have been a considerable legal bill for ICBC to cover as the plaintiff was awarded costs.

Will attempt a short summary of the case as I understood it and how ICBC reasoned there was an opportunity to deny coverage.

ICBC's case for Insurance Denial hinged on the definition of the wording “Direct Supervision”.
Section 30.06(5) of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations contains a specific definition of the words "direct supervision." It is as follows:
“For the purposes of subsection 4 and 4.1, direct supervision means that the person supervising can at all times see the other person while the other person is operating the motorcycle.”

At the precise time of the accident (the plaintiff was not at fault) the person doing the supervision had momentarily lost sight of the plaintiff. The plaintiff was unaware this had happened. ICBC reasoned that while the line of sight is lost by the supervisor the learner does not have insurance. Based on this ICBC denied coverage. As per the judge using ICBC's reasoning the operator of a motorcycle could be fully compliant with the regulations one moment and completely incompliant the next moment because the supervisor took a wrong turn or was cut off from view by an intervening vehicle. This would lead to extremely unjust results, which could be fairly characterized as absurd results in the context of statutory construction.

Wonder if the Insurance Agent explained this is how ICBC insurance would work while the motorcycle operator was on a learner's licence?

Fortunately the Supreme Court Judge and the Court of Appeal took a wider view of what the intent of the Motor Vehicle regulations is and avoided getting locked in by any construction of words in a sentence that would often lead to absurd results. Sounds like “common sense” to me. Based on this they concluded that a momentary inadvertent loss of contact between the operator of the motorcycle and the supervisor does not constitute a breach of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations. The plaintiff is entitled to his claim.

The URLs to the case in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal follow.

http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/09/19/2009BCSC1924.htm

http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/CA/11/01/2011BCCA0124.htm
LongHaul
Fledgling
 
Posts: 117
Likes: 0 post
Liked in: 10 posts
Joined: Oct 12th, 2011, 9:41 pm

Re: Incorrect principal operator and denial of insurance by

Postby my5cents » Jul 21st, 2012, 1:21 pm

LongHaul wrote:This is an interesting case where ICBC denied insurance coverage to a motorcycle driver who had a class 6 learner's permit and was involved in an accident. It may be useful to anyone who have had ICBC deny their insurance coverage in similar circumstances..................................ICBC's case for Insurance Denial hinged on the definition of the wording “Direct Supervision”.

Very interesting case, thanks for sharing LongHaul.

IMO this type of decision by ICBC is one of the reasons why British Columbians didn't want private insurance as this is the type of treatment they are known for. ICBC is wrong on so many levels.

For starters, lets put some common sense to this incident :

The fact the wife wasn't in a position to see the motorcycle rider didn't cause the accident.

If she could have seen the motorcycle rider, it still wouldn't have prevented the accident.

ICBC denied the Part VII claim (no fault for wage loss, medical and rehab) to the MC rider because of the actions of his wife, not because of his actions. What should he have done. He's a new rider, to be watched, his wife reasonably should be behind him. He, while trying to ride, is looking, when he safely can, in his mirror to see if his wife is following and thinks he sees her.

Then the kicker, he isn't at fault for the collision !

If someone had presented this scenario and asked me if ICBC would deny on this basis, I would have said no. I would have been wrong. Then to appeal ?

Well done ICBC, hope you're proud.

In the recent past ICBC, in it's "wisdom" had hired senior management from the private sector. Many practices had changed and the private insurance ways have creped into ICBC.
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it"
my5cents
Grand Pooh-bah
 
Posts: 2008
Likes: 195 posts
Liked in: 221 posts
Joined: Nov 14th, 2009, 3:22 pm

Re: Incorrect principal operator and denial of insurance by

Postby LongHaul » Jul 22nd, 2012, 8:58 am

“In the recent past ICBC, in it's "wisdom" had hired senior management from the private sector. Many practices had changed and the private insurance ways have creped into ICBC.”


Very good analysis and application of Common Sense to this case my5cents. This is what ICBC should be doing when looking at a claim. Have the impression ICBC claim handling is being run by lawyers doing legal nit picking to avoid paying out claims which has priority over common sense and doing the right thing.

Your statement above is disturbing. Just speculating but the thought comes to mind if the mandate is to transform ICBC so it is run more like a private company with the objective of maximizing revenue to the provincial government. If so the public could end up of the worst of both worlds.

Heard ICBC is doing “How did we do phone surveys” with recent claimants. Hope they phone the lady in an earlier post who had her car stolen. They will be on the phone a long time with her and it won't be pleasant.
LongHaul
Fledgling
 
Posts: 117
Likes: 0 post
Liked in: 10 posts
Joined: Oct 12th, 2011, 9:41 pm

Re: Incorrect principal operator and denial of insurance by

Postby my5cents » Jul 23rd, 2012, 10:46 am

LongHaul wrote:Very good analysis and application of Common Sense to this case my5cents. This is what ICBC should be doing when looking at a claim. Have the impression ICBC claim handling is being run by lawyers doing legal nit picking to avoid paying out claims which has priority over common sense and doing the right thing.

Your statement above is disturbing. Just speculating but the thought comes to mind if the mandate is to transform ICBC so it is run more like a private company with the objective of maximizing revenue to the provincial government. If so the public could end up of the worst of both worlds.

Heard ICBC is doing “How did we do phone surveys” with recent claimants. Hope they phone the lady in an earlier post who had her car stolen. They will be on the phone a long time with her and it won't be pleasant.

Actually I think the poor decisions come from the insurance staff not the legal, not that I have much respect for lawyers but even they know the law.

The real eye opener is the facts with respect to the optional coverage :

    - ICBC sells to virtually all comers
    - Private refuses to sell coverage to higher risk drivers
    - Private refuses to sell coverage for certain types of vehicles (some don't sell to MCs some sports cars, etc)
    - For the risks that both ICBC and private do sell to, and when comparing exactly the same coverage, generally the price charged by each is very close, with the exception of people with 40 years claims free, etc.
    - ICBC has "given" the government close to a billion dollars in the last few years (all from the optional coverage profit)

Considering all these facts, why is price of private coverage so close to that of ICBC ?

ICBC has been doing the post loss phone surveys for years and years. It would seem that whoever is getting them, either doesn't have the power to change anything or doesn't care.

When the numbers are crunched stats can say anything you want. If your right foot is frozen in a block of ice and your other foot is in boiling water on average your soaking your feet in warm water.
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it"
my5cents
Grand Pooh-bah
 
Posts: 2008
Likes: 195 posts
Liked in: 221 posts
Joined: Nov 14th, 2009, 3:22 pm

Re: Incorrect principal operator and denial of insurance by

Postby LongHaul » Aug 3rd, 2012, 11:08 pm

“My5cents wrote:

ICBC has "given" the government close to a billion dollars in the last few years (all from the optional coverage profit)”


Certainly wouldn't need rate increases for a long time if the BC Government wasn't milking ICBC for revenue. The reserves would be in excellent shape. Assuming ICBC didn't make or wasn't forced to make questionable investments with the money.
LongHaul
Fledgling
 
Posts: 117
Likes: 0 post
Liked in: 10 posts
Joined: Oct 12th, 2011, 9:41 pm

Re: Incorrect principal operator and denial of insurance by

Postby LongHaul » Aug 3rd, 2012, 11:18 pm

There is an unusual case involving ICBC and an Internet Web Site that has been posted in the BC Courts Judgement data base.
Will try to summarize it. The URL to the case is found at:

http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/12/06/2012BCSC0608.htm

it involves a web site (ICBCadvice.com) that was setup to provide free information and advice when dealing with ICBC. The site also lists recommended lawyers and medical professionals across the province. It does advertise a law firm and sells a book that contains all the advice on the web site.

Initially the web site went online under the Internet Domain Name “fightICBC.com”.

ICBC must monitor what is posted on the Internet about ICBC. Shortly after start up ICBC sent a letter to all the medical practitioners listed on this web site.
The letter informed the medical practitioners they were named on this site. There wasn't any threat in the letter. ICBC just thought they should be aware of this. As a result a number of the practitioners asked for their names to be removed. There was also discomfort with the name “fightICBC.com” as it did not sound neutral.

The owner decided to change the name to the more neutral sounding “ICBCadvice.com” and registered this name with the Internet Domain Registrar. This was done after contacting ICBC and asking if there would be any issues with using this name. The reply was neutral, not really a no or yes although the owner took it as being okay with ICBC.

The web site ran for a couple years under this name. This web site seems to have eventually got under ICBC's skin and this time ICBC reacted much more strongly. ICBC demanded the site stop using “ICBCadvice.com” and other variations of this name and transfer ownership of these names to ICBC. ICBC also demanded the site stop selling their book using the title ICBC Claim Guide.
The book title was changed to ICBCadvice Claim Guide to comply with this request. ICBC took the web site owner to court when the owner refused to transfer the Domain Names to ICBC.

The main part of ICBC's case was that the use of ICBC in the web site's name was violating the ICBC trademark. The judge seems to have questioned ICBC's stated motive for taking the web site owner to court as per the following comment.

“It is helpful to note ICBC's position that its claims in this action have nothing to do with the substantive content of the website, but relate solely to the defendant's alleged unauthorized use of ICBC's official marks, particularly the mark "ICBC".”

The judge reviewed a number of legal precedents from previous cases to determine when a trademark was infringed upon. These legal precedents determined the web site's Domain Names did not violate trademark law which led to ICBC losing the case and paying the legal costs. The judge noted there were over 150 Internet Domain Names that included ICBC ranging from “icbcsucks.com” to “organicgarlicbc.com”.

Comes to mind ICBC lawyer's would have studied the same legal precedents and they would have known the chances of winning were between slim and none. Would think they would have advised ICBC management of this. Perhaps the case was pursued anyway to send a message?? If that was the reason it didn't work. “ICBCadvice.com” is still running with a lot of free content about dealing with ICBC.
LongHaul
Fledgling
 
Posts: 117
Likes: 0 post
Liked in: 10 posts
Joined: Oct 12th, 2011, 9:41 pm

Re: Incorrect principal operator and denial of insurance by

Postby damngrumpy » Aug 4th, 2012, 3:20 pm

Even with all its warts and foibles ICBC does not need competition to come back
to BC. I don't ever want to deal with the private insurance sector again in my
lifetime. I remember what it was like before ICBC and it was worse than situations
now. The biggest problem in this province is fraud. People who believe you and I
should pay for things some people want whether they are entitled to them or not.
I also think the time has come to limit compensation or have set amounts for both
ICBC and private companies throughout North America. We have to get away from
the courts and entertain reason.
User avatar
damngrumpy
Übergod
 
Posts: 1712
Likes: 0 post
Liked in: 8 posts
Joined: Dec 19th, 2005, 12:29 pm

Re: Incorrect principal operator and denial of insurance by

Postby LongHaul » Aug 4th, 2012, 10:45 pm

Damngrumpy said,

Even with all its warts and foibles ICBC does not need competition to come back
to BC. I don't ever want to deal with the private insurance sector again in my
lifetime. I remember what it was like before ICBC and it was worse than situations
now. The biggest problem in this province is fraud. People who believe you and I
should pay for things some people want whether they are entitled to them or not.
I also think the time has come to limit compensation or have set amounts for both
ICBC and private companies throughout North America. We have to get away from
the courts and entertain reason.


My first vehicle was insured with private insurance. For a young driver private insurance set rates very high based on “guilty until proven innocent”. It would take several years of an accident free record to get the rate down. One could shop around but the rate was incredibly consistent between companies. It was like comparing gas prices at service stations. Based on this I would say there wasn't true competition between the private companies. The main difference was hearing by the grapevine some were much easier to deal with than others when a claim was made.

I think private insurance got so arrogant and expensive they blew it by ticking the general public off and paved the way for public insurance. I was okay with public insurance coming in and felt the private insurance companies could only blame themselves for getting the boot.

However my concern is ICBC for the past few years seems to be headed down the same road of arrogance that got private companies the boot. If there is an unspoken mandate to run ICBC like a private company and maximize revenue to the province with their power ICBC could become worse than the worst private company BC ever had. More people than ever would find they have to come up with the money to take ICBC to court to get their insurance contract honoured. If they can't ICBC just saved money on not having to pay a claim. The only check and balance that currently seems in place is the public. Once the general public gets upset enough with shoddy treatment by ICBC and our peerless politicians sense there are votes to be had they will pile on with reforms. If ICBC was put back on it's original mandate to provide quality insurance service at a reasonable price and the provincial government stopped milking it for revenue suspect ICBC would be very difficult for any private insurance company to compete with.

I agree with reasonable caps for injuries. Recall back in the 80's ridiculous claims for whip lash. Although some were legitimate it seemed many people must have had a genetic flaw that made them susceptible to whiplash even with the most gentle bumper touch. Some claimants in provinces that have caps complain the limits are too low. One option I suppose is to allow one to insure for a higher cap by paying an extra premium. This would give private insurance another optional item to compete on if they are interested.

If the majority of these claims could be handled out of the court there would be a major savings in legal costs and time to process claims. Look for the Legal Profession with their strong lobby to fight this tooth and nail. If this went through a lot of lawyers would have to tighten their belts and lower their standard of living.
LongHaul
Fledgling
 
Posts: 117
Likes: 0 post
Liked in: 10 posts
Joined: Oct 12th, 2011, 9:41 pm

Re: Incorrect principal operator and denial of insurance by

Postby my5cents » Aug 5th, 2012, 11:29 am

damngrumpy wrote:Even with all its warts and foibles ICBC does not need competition to come back
to BC. I don't ever want to deal with the private insurance sector again in my
lifetime. I remember what it was like before ICBC and it was worse than situations
now. The biggest problem in this province is fraud. People who believe you and I
should pay for things some people want whether they are entitled to them or not.
I also think the time has come to limit compensation or have set amounts for both
ICBC and private companies throughout North America. We have to get away from
the courts and entertain reason.

I agree with you damngrupy, I too recall dealing with private insurance companies, a complete nightmare, in all respects.

The trouble with a lot of British Columbians, is they don't have the experience of private insurance and they hear incorrect information and then spout it out as if they knew for themselves.

Fraud is a big problem. ICBC has a large fraud department and actually does a good job.

Limiting compensation, or what is termed, "No Fault", or partial no fault, insurance exists in some other provinces. There are different ways to implement it. One is a straight no fault system, much like Worksafe is structured. You get all the rehab and medical expenses and wage loss, but you don't get anything for pain and suffering.

Even in BC right now if two vehicle are in a collision and the occupants of both vehicles are working at the time, ie,, a delivery truck is hit by a bus. They fall into "Worker vs Worker", Worksafe handles the bodily injury portion of the loss.

The only caution I'll issue here is that big business, insurance etc want us to believe that there are hundreds of thousands of frivolous law suits that have gained the plaintiff's millions of dollars that they had no right to at all. These very influential companies are lobbying and presenting false information via all sorts of tactics that there should be caps on all civil suits.

There is a VERY INTERESTING documentary produced by HBO, called "Hot Coffee" (it was on earlier this week). It discusses civil law suits centering around the elderly lady who spilled hot coffee on her lap after leaving a McDonald's restaurant and the subsequent law suit. If you get a chance, you should watch it. It's not what you think at all.
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it"
my5cents
Grand Pooh-bah
 
Posts: 2008
Likes: 195 posts
Liked in: 221 posts
Joined: Nov 14th, 2009, 3:22 pm

Re: Incorrect principal operator and denial of insurance by

Postby my5cents » Aug 5th, 2012, 12:29 pm

LongHaul wrote:My first vehicle was insured with private insurance. For a young driver private insurance set rates very high based on “guilty until proven innocent”.

Well, actually charging a higher premium to an unproven driver is the basis of insurance. Every insurance policy, be it fire insurance on your house, life insurance, auto insurance is based on risk.

If you have a large cement water resivoir you will pay less for fire insurance than a dynamite factory located in a wooden building.

I think ICBC has addressed this pretty well. They basically charge new drivers "base rate" (call it what you want). It's basically a moderately high premium but not super high. As the new driver either accrues years of safe driving, or accrues claims he/she either pays more or pays less.

In the private world, where there is no government insurance, a new driver, who wants to own and drive a car has to buy insurance. All the insurance companies stand together and refuse a new driver coverage. The government then places these driver who can't buy insurance into a system where each driver is assigned to a private company and this company must sell the driver insurance. Depending on the jurisdiction, it has different names, some call it "Assigned Risk" it also has other names. But, being private they can charge whatever they want and provide limited coverage down to whatever the basic minimum coverage they are required to sell in the jurisdiction.

For fun call up any private company in Alberta and tell them you are 18 and you just bought a new Mustang and you want to insure it. Nobody will insure you at any price. If forced, under Assigned Risk, they will sell you basic liability coverage, nothing on the car. Try to borrow money for a new car that has no own damage coverage insurance coverage.

Ironically that part of the system works pretty well. What 18 year old needs a new Mustang. They need to pay their dues, drive an older, smaller car that is less likely to get them killed.

It would take several years of an accident free record to get the rate down. One could shop around but the rate was incredibly consistent between companies. It was like comparing gas prices at service stations. Based on this I would say there wasn't true competition between the private companies. The main difference was hearing by the grapevine some were much easier to deal with than others when a claim was made.

I think private insurance got so arrogant and expensive they blew it by ticking the general public off and paved the way for public insurance. I was okay with public insurance coming in and felt the private insurance companies could only blame themselves for getting the boot.

However my concern is ICBC for the past few years seems to be headed down the same road of arrogance that got private companies the boot. If there is an unspoken mandate to run ICBC like a private company and maximize revenue to the province with their power ICBC could become worse than the worst private company BC ever had.


Actually ICBC isn't even close to what private insurance is like. It isn't perfect and it has a long way to go, but private ?

How about, you are a new driver, you've had one minor collision a year previous. When you renewed the next year your rates obviously go up, but you've smartened up. One night while parked on the street your car is broken into. You place a comprehensive claim for the broken window, after the deductible, it cost the insurance company a few hundred dollars. Just before it's time to renew your insurance you get a form letter from your insurance company. Your insurance is cancelled, they don't want you as a customer. Now you are scrambling. Oh, and when you apply at the next private company, one of the questions will be "have you ever been denied coverage ?". Good luck

More people than ever would find they have to come up with the money to take ICBC to court to get their insurance contract honoured. If they can't ICBC just saved money on not having to pay a claim.


There are two reasons to sue an auto insurance company, the suits are completely different.

1) You are injured in a car accident and were not at fault. You feel that your injuries are such that you should get hundreds of thousands of dollars and the INSURANCE COMPANY FOR THE OTHER DRIVER feels you should get tens of thousands of dollars. You issue a writ against THE OTHER DRIVER, who will pass it along to his insurance company. You go to trial, plead your case and the judge or the jury make their determination. Usually you can find a lawyer that will do this on a contingency basis (he'll take 30%, or so of what the settlement is) This type of suit has nothing to do with your own auto insurance policy. In BC because ICBC insures everybody, it has two hats. It is your insurance company and it's the insurance company for other guy. But make no mistake, when you sue, you are suing the other driver, not his insurance company. You are suing him for negligence. His insurance company, handles the suit, because that what "liability insurance" is.

2) You have a loss, you crash your car, or your car is stolen, or whatever. There is nobody else to pay for your damages other than your own damage coverage or yourself. Your insurance company refuses to pay. They give you a reason, you were drunk at the time, your license had been cancelled, you gave them a statement that you were going to the store and they find out you were coming home from the bar (false statement). For whatever reason they say they won't cover you and you think they should.
You sue them for breach of contract. You paid good money for coverage, your insurance company accepted your money and you entered a contract under which they agreed to cover you for this type of loss and now they won't. You could go as far as alledging "bad faith". That will get the attention of an insurance company. If proven you could be awared punitive damages on top of the amount of you are claiming they wouldn't pay for your car. A bad faith award is usually extemely high and is as rare, because insurance companies will avoid them. A bad faith award is basically regarded as a hammer over the heads of insurance companies to keeps them and the straight and narrow.
In the private world of insurance there have been auto insurance companies who have denied all claims of a particular type, lets say fire losses. Then they only pay the ones who sue.
The only check and balance that currently seems in place is the public. Once the general public gets upset enough with shoddy treatment by ICBC and our peerless politicians sense there are votes to be had they will pile on with reforms. If ICBC was put back on it's original mandate to provide quality insurance service at a reasonable price and the provincial government stopped milking it for revenue suspect ICBC would be very difficult for any private insurance company to compete with.

I totally agree. Imagine, ICBC now sells to most comers. It's rates for optional coverage is generally lower than private, except for the very low risk drivers, and had enough profit (that they are not supposed to make) to give the government almost a Billion dollars.
I agree with reasonable caps for injuries. Recall back in the 80's ridiculous claims for whip lash. Although some were legitimate it seemed many people must have had a genetic flaw that made them susceptible to whiplash even with the most gentle bumper touch. Some claimants in provinces that have caps complain the limits are too low. One option I suppose is to allow one to insure for a higher cap by paying an extra premium. This would give private insurance another optional item to compete on if they are interested.

Don't forget, bodily injury losses come from the other guy's insurance not your's. You don't pay the premium on the policy that is going to pay you for pain and suffering on your whiplash injury.
If the majority of these claims could be handled out of the court there would be a major savings in legal costs and time to process claims. Look for the Legal Profession with their strong lobby to fight this tooth and nail. If this went through a lot of lawyers would have to tighten their belts and lower their standard of living.

Just ask anyone in the insurance business to tell you what happend when lawyers were allowed to advertise. Before that, they couldn't. It's quite dramatic how the claims shot up.
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it"
my5cents
Grand Pooh-bah
 
Posts: 2008
Likes: 195 posts
Liked in: 221 posts
Joined: Nov 14th, 2009, 3:22 pm

Re: Incorrect principal operator and denial of insurance by

Postby LongHaul » Aug 12th, 2012, 10:02 am

My5cents wrote:
You could go as far as alleging "bad faith". That will get the attention of an insurance company. If proven you could be awarded punitive damages on top of the amount of you are claiming they wouldn't pay for your car. A bad faith award is usually extemely high and is as rare, because insurance companies will avoid them. A bad faith award is basically regarded as a hammer over the heads of insurance companies to keeps them and the straight and narrow.


Interesting. Hadn't seen a case where the plaintiff included “bad faith” as one of the charges against ICBC when taking them to court to dispute a “Denial of Insurance”. Seemed one would want to include this?

Was wondering why until noticed this recently settled case where the plaintiff did include this as a charge against ICBC and was awarded $75,000 in addition to getting ICBC's denial of insurance overturned. The case involved a young person who got confused on the new Mt Lehman interchange near Abbotsford and made a turn that put the vehicle going the wrong way into oncoming traffic. A collision ensued before the mistake could be corrected. Several hours earlier the plaintiff had drank a couple of glasses of wine. The plaintiff's attempts to blow into the ASD failed and the plaintiff was charged with failing to provide a breath sample and impaired driving. The officer administering the test did not hear or discounted the plaintiffs complaint about chest pain caused from the air bag deploying. A medical examination later found injuries to the chest. These charges were eventually stayed and the plaintiff plead guilty to driving without reasonable consideration.

This is a lengthy case but an interesting one to read if one wants to see what goes on behind the scenes at ICBC. To make it short even though the alcohol related charges had been dropped ICBC decided to purse a “Breach of Insurance” and built a case that the plaintiff was incapable of proper control of the vehicle at the time of the crash. The case focused on information that supported intoxication. Witnesses were missed or not interviewed that should have been interviewed. During the trial the judge stated “there was indifference to obtain the full picture”. Based on the case ICBC had built the plaintiff was notified she was in breach of her insurance contract and a very sizable amount was owing ICBC. This was mainly due to an injury claim. A month later ICBC's collection department started sending a series of letters demanding payment and included threats to take other actions that would affect the plaintiff's credit, etc. The plaintiff was only a few years into her working career and did not have anywhere near the financial resources to pay such a sizable amount. The demand for payment letters were sent out even though the case was under dispute and ICBC had not proved their case in court.

During the trial which included testimony from witnesses ICBC had not interviewed a more complete picture emerged. It was also found ICBC had misunderstood or misinterpreted the testimony of some of the witnesses they did interview. The ICBC case for driver intoxication fell apart and the plaintiff's insurance was restored.

The second part of the judgement was determining if ICBC's behaviour had met the criteria for “Bad Faith”. This appears to require a high level of proof and a number of criteria have to be met.

The judge went through a lengthy process to determine if the criteria for “Bad Faith” had been met.

In coming to a conclusion on “Bad Faith” some of the ICBC behaviour contributing to the decision the judge noted in a lengthy list were:
[227] At the same time, however, ICBC displayed an unfortunate readiness to assert a policy breach on the flimsiest of grounds.
[228] ICBC was similarly disposed to claim a principal operator breach which it had not investigated on even a superficial basis.
[241] ICBC is not shielded against a bad faith claim simply because it has relied primarily on a constable’s impressions and observations.
[264] ICBC’s conduct was harsh, high-handed and oppressive as those concepts have been developed in the jurisprudence, and marked a significant departure from the Court’s sense of decency and fair play. Some of the acts of bad faith were inadvertent and others were not and they persisted over a considerable period. The plaintiff was in a vulnerable position and suffered harm in consequence of ICBC’s misconduct, not all of which is tidily rectified by this Court confirming her right to be indemnified.

The judge ruled ICBC was guilty of “Bad Faith” and awarded $75,000 punitive damages to the plaintiff.

The dates on the court documentation show the case started in October, 2007 and was finally settled in February, 2012. Almost 5 years...

The court documentation can be found at:

http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/ ... c317840196
LongHaul
Fledgling
 
Posts: 117
Likes: 0 post
Liked in: 10 posts
Joined: Oct 12th, 2011, 9:41 pm

Re: Incorrect principal operator and denial of insurance by

Postby my5cents » Aug 12th, 2012, 10:28 am

Very interesting, thanks for sharing.

Has the earmarks of an investigation, be it by an adjuster, an investigator or a police officer, where the investigator picks a goal and gathers "evidence" to support that goal, vs just investigating and seeing where the evidence leads them.
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it"
my5cents
Grand Pooh-bah
 
Posts: 2008
Likes: 195 posts
Liked in: 221 posts
Joined: Nov 14th, 2009, 3:22 pm

Re: Incorrect principal operator and denial of insurance by

Postby LongHaul » Sep 24th, 2012, 10:11 pm

This case from the courts data base provides useful information one should be aware of when declaring a principal operator for a vehicle. It may also be useful to anyone involved in a denial of insurance dispute with ICBC due to an incorrect Principal Operator declaration. It outlines what is taken into consideration in the courts. There are two publications for this case. The first one was the court case. The second one involved awarding court costs but was interesting due to the judge's comments on why he was charging ICBC with double the court costs.

An outline of the case follows. The plaintiff renewed the insurance on his jeep and declared himself the Principal Operator (PO). His companion's vehicle had been destroyed earlier in an accident and he had to agreed to lend her the jeep until she obtained a replacement for her vehicle. It was expected this would happen fairly quickly once her ICBC claim was settled. The ICBC agent was told this at the time of insurance renewal and the agent did not see any problem with a temporary loan of the jeep.

However ICBC took much longer then expected to process her claim and nine months later his companion was still using the jeep to get to work. The jeep was stolen while she was at work and written off when recovered. Note: One can only update the PO at the time insurance is renewed.

The ICBC adjuster prepared statements for them to sign about the usage of the jeep. The significance of these statements, how ICBC determines a PO and the possible outcome of having the wrong PO declared was not discussed with them. After the statements were signed the adjuster informed them there was a potential breach of contract due to the PO declaration. ICBC later confirmed they were denying insurance coverage due to an incorrect PO.

In court the judge outlined what must be determined as:

Counsel agree that I must decide two issues: (1) who was the principal operator at the time of the theft on May 1, 2009; and (2) if the principal operator was, in fact, his companion, did the plaintiff knowingly make a misrepresentation about that fact in July 2008 when the insurance that was in force at the time of the theft was purchased.

As for (1) the judge determined the plaintiff and the companion both used the jeep and the usage was almost equal. The judge also noted the time the jeep was under the care of the plaintiff had to be included in the usage calculation. ICBC stated their calculation did not include the time the jeep was parked at the plaintiff's house.

For (2) the judge determined at the time of the PO declaration the plaintiff had made the declaration based on anticipating an early settlement of his companion's ICBC claim and her purchase of a replacement vehicle. The judge also found the difference in premium if the companion had been declared the PO was only $105. There wasn't any evidence the plaintiff was aware of this premium difference at the time of PO declaration.

The judge's decision follows.

Based on all the evidence, I conclude that the plaintiff was, in fact, the principal operator at the time of the accident, and even if he was not, he did not knowingly misrepresent that fact when the insurance was purchased. There was therefore no breach of the insurance policy and the plaintiff is entitled to coverage as well as costs of this action.

The case can be found at
http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/10/06/2010BCSC0640.htm

My observations which may be incorrect are:

(1): If the declaration of the wrong PO results in a lower premium being paid than what it would have been with the correct PO one could be looking at a denial of insurance.

If the declaration of the wrong PO resulted in a higher premium being paid than what it would have been with the correct PO ICBC will probably be okay with this and won't call a Breach of Contract.
The wrong PO would not have financially harmed ICBC and would have benefited them. Think it would be hard to argue in court a Breach of Contract in this situation. Although suppose in the event of a large claim ICBC could use the wrong PO as a reason to deny coverage and hope the client does not have the financial resources to take them to court??

(2): ICBC has to be able to prove that the incorrect PO declaration was most likely deliberate.
The judge noted ICBC had denied insurance based on who they thought the PO was at the time of the claim. ICBC did not investigate what the assumptions and circumstances were at the time the PO was declared. This is where it is usually determined if a wrong PO declaration was most probably deliberate or not as things can change over the course of a year.

The second part related to this case was the judge doubling the court costs charged to ICBC.

The plaintiff who seemed eager to reduce his legal costs had made two offers to settle with ICBC. The last one had been presented two days before the trial. ICBC argued two days was not enough time to evaluate the offer and therefore the doubling of court costs should not apply. The judge dismissed the ICBC argument.
The judge made comments to the effect that ICBC went into this case knowing or should have known they had an untenable position and were using the financial costs of legal action to force the plaintiff to accept the denial of insurance or put out considerable money for a marginal amount. One of the judge's comments follows.

“ICBC put the plaintiff in a position where he had to decide between accepting what he believed to be an unwarranted loss or proceeding with economically marginal litigation that ICBC was much more able than he to afford.”

Would think “Bad Faith by ICBC” as awarded in the case described in the Aug 12th posting would apply here. However it wasn't on the list of charges the Plaintiff presented and would seem unfair for a judge to add charges.

This part of the case can be found at
http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/10/08/2010BCSC0857cor1.htm

Wasn't explained why the plaintiff did not pursue the case in the much less costly Small Claims Court instead of the Supreme Court. The amount involved seemed to be within Small Claims Court limits.
LongHaul
Fledgling
 
Posts: 117
Likes: 0 post
Liked in: 10 posts
Joined: Oct 12th, 2011, 9:41 pm

Re: Incorrect principal operator and denial of insurance by

Postby LongHaul » Sep 28th, 2012, 6:44 pm

ICBC ranked the worst in the country by customers in J.D. Power study
All three publicly owned auto insurers in the West ranked as the bottom
By Kevin Griffin, Vancouver Sun


As didn't see this article that was in the Vancouver Sun Sept 25,2012 posted anywhere else on Castanet will post it. The link to it follows, don't know how long the Vancouver Sun keeps the links to past articles active.

http://www.vancouversun.com/business/ICBC+ranked+worst+country+customers+Power+study/7298580/story.htm

Feel the survey missed the mark somewhat. My feeling is the bad rating is also driven by how badly ICBC sometimes treats customers which has many people disillusioned with a monopoly. One can wonder if ICBC's unwritten priority is maximize revenue passed to the provincial government resulting in denying or delaying claim payouts whenever there is an opportunity to do so.

Has been mentioned ICBC has been hiring managers, etc from Private Insurance. Perhaps we are seeing the “best practices of private insurance” being incorporated into ICBC to maximize revenue. If ICBC was sorted out, revenue transfer to the provincial government was banned and the focus put on providing a quality product and ensuring customers are treated fairly future surveys for ICBC could very different.

Anyway just my opinion.

The article follows:

ICBC ranked the worst in the country by customers in J.D. Power study
All three publicly owned auto insurers in the West ranked as the bottom
 By Kevin Griffin, Vancouver Sun


ICBC has been ranked the worst automotive insurer in the country — by it own customers. And that’s likely because drivers in B.C. don’t have the right to shop around for car insurance, said an official with J.D. Power and Associates.

Lubo Li, the company’s senior director, singled out lack of choice as the reason the Insurance Corp. of B.C. scored the lowest in J.D. Power’s 2012 Canadian Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study.
“In other jurisdictions, consumers choose which insurer they want to use,” he said.
“I’m not trying to pick a side in terms of ideology – public versus private insurance. That’s not our job. But if you put yourself in the consumer’s shoe, if I have freedom to choose who I want to buy a policy from, I’m a better customer than if I’m forced to use somebody.
“If you’re not giving them a choice, they’re not going to be happy at all.”

Not only did ICBC rank the lowest in customer satisfaction at 651 out of 1,000, the country’s other two lowest ranking insurance companies were also public ones: Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) ranked above ICBC at 697 and Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) a little above that at 699.
Canadian Direct Insurance had the highest ranking in the West at 805; nationally, La Capitale in Quebec had the highest customer rating at 850.

J.D. Power surveyed 12,000 people, including 3,400 in B.C. The margin of error is less than two per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Overall, customer satisfaction increased only five points in the West from last year. J.D. Power said a large number of rate increases by insurers was a drag on satisfaction numbers as 25 per cent of insurance buyers in the West reported increases in 2012, compared with 18 per cent in 2011.

An ICBC official said the annual J.D. Power report continues to show a bias toward private insurance.
“We believe our system in B.C. works for a number of reasons and that we offer our customers the best coverage for the lowest possible cost,” Adam Grossman, senior media relations adviser, said in an email.
Grossman said ICBC increased its basic insurance rates this year for the first time in five years. While ICBC customers will pay about $27 more than they did last year, it represents an increase of $9 from 2008 due to rate decreases in intervening years.
Li said that to increase its customer satisfaction rating, ICBC has to build a customer-oriented culture in the company and give customer “the due respect and care” they expect.

Part of the reason for the lower ranking for public insurers, Li said, could be the additional functions they carry out such as licence renewal and vehicle registration. “Any negative experience a customer may have in vehicle renewal or license or whatever they need to do, could impact their perception,” he said.

Li also singled out achievements by ICBC. Only four per cent of those surveyed, for example, experienced any kind of problem in billing and related areas. In that area, ICBC was the best in the country.
Now in its fifth year, the study “measures insurance customers’ experience with their primary insurer,” according to a release. Five factors are measured: interaction with customers, price, policy offerings, billing and payment, and claims.
LongHaul
Fledgling
 
Posts: 117
Likes: 0 post
Liked in: 10 posts
Joined: Oct 12th, 2011, 9:41 pm

PreviousNext

Return to British Columbia

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Jonrox and 4 guests