Over 77 vehicles were set on fire or damaged in the Stanley Cup riots and ICBC insurance claims were over half a million dollars. 46 people have been named in the lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of BC and ICBC is seeking punitive damages to financially punish the rioters.
Insurance coverage for damage to vehicles in BC is optional, however third party liability car insurance must be bought from ICBC so many drivers, out of pure convenience, have collision and vandalism coverage with ICBC. Considering there were about 122 vehicles damaged during the riots there are likely over 40 vehicle owners without ICBC auto insurance that have insurance with companies such as Canada Direct, BCAA, or Cooperators. These victims of the riots are not part of this ICBC lawsuit which would be one reason a class action lawsuit for this large lawsuit will be unlikely.
Auto insurance in BC usually only covers replacement value so some car owners will be out of pocket. ICBC insurance coverage was in fact not good enough for one victim of the riots as her ICBC policy only allowed replacement cost and the lease amount exceeded recovery from ICBC by thousands of dollars.
ICBC has a monopoly on auto insurance in BC and may use its power to refuse to renew the ICBC insurance policies of rioters. ICBC can access personal information through the driving services branch and the police and the BC Privacy Commissioner has expressed serious concern about the use of ICBC’s face recognition technology among government agencies.
This lawsuit appears to be an attempt for ICBC to change their poor public image after scoring the lowest in Canada in J.D. Power’s 2012 Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study. Interestingly Canada’s two other lowest ranking insurance companies were also public, Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) and Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI). Canadian Direct Insurance, a private insurance company, had the highest ranking in the satisfaction study and does not appear to be part of this lawsuit against the rioters.
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness