ICBC and the road to ruin

Not a time to see ICBC shake its responsibilities to the people it says it is there to protect

ICBC and the road to ruin

So, to all of you that feel it’s a great step in ICBC’s new direction down the road towards lowering premiums and cutting costs, let me share in the reality of the new ICBC world.

Those presently involved in no fault claims involving back and neck injuries (soft tissue injuries) are being asked to settle for ridiculously low amounts sooner than later to satisfy ICBC’s commitment to lowering costs. On the surface this sounds great as we all know ICBC has had to deal with many fraudulent claims over the years with lawyers and clients benefiting perhaps more generously than is considered fair. Now we have come to the new reality of valid claims being minimized due possibly to past fraudulent activity.

Lawyers are now being left out of the picture — could we ask for a more perfect world? Perhaps we could if ICBC decided to treat their clients fairly. They now know they have the upper hand in dictating settlements as lawyers are left out of the soft tissue issues.

Now to get into the trenches of the problem. ICBC will not pay for lost wages until EI is involved. When EI is involved there is a backlog due to current demands on the system. Anyone involved in a situation right now when it comes to contacting ICBC or EI is left with the frustrating feeling of not being able to talk to a human being. This is extremely frustrating and worrisome for EI and ICBC claimants because the next weeks are filled with the uncertainty of people not being able to meet financial commitments due to a system that is bogged down in bureaucracy, lack of preparation and indifference. People have actually been left on hold for over two hours trying to get through to EI only to be hung up on.

I could go into the specific names of ICBC people that just flagrantly are ignoring claimants and go into details of the abhorrent way ICBC is dealing with their newfound powers to possibly gain the upper hand in dealing with claims. Case workers go on holidays without letting their clients know. Is it that hard to send an email to let a client know that someone is taking over their case in the interim? It is extremely frustrating to be leaving messages and emails to people and getting no response when the issues are of immediate importance and need dealing with sooner than later. People are dealing with nothing but busy signals and messages that tell them to try again later. When you actually get through to someone’s voice mail there is little chance (so far no response after a week) of getting a return call.

I personally know of a situation where the no fault victim has not heard from their case worker in over a month (and now six weeks after the accident) when emails and phone calls have gone unanswered. People are dealing with extreme back issues (physio is now on hold due to the virus) lost wages (EI cannot be contacted in order to process wage loss on ICBC’s part) and just the fact that ICBC has all but abandoned contact with them.

We are in difficult times, no doubt, but this is not a time to see ICBC shake its responsibilities to the people it says it is there to protect their welfare and rights. To all of you that will be happy to see your premiums go down as a result of ICBC’s new policies, good luck when it comes to actually having to make a valid claim.

Evan Begbie

Cowichan Bay

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