Possible ICBC Policy Breach?
ICBC is an insurance company that provides insurance for losses suffered from a car accident or damage to your vehicle. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they pay out every claim that comes along. As part of their duty to the bottom line, they avoid paying for damages if they can make the case that the claimant is not entitled to coverage because of a contract breach.
The most common way ICBC avoids providing coverage is by conducting an investigation for ICBC policy breach and then finding the claimant in breach of the insurance contract, the Insurance (Vehicle) Act or both.
An Investigation for ICBC Policy Breach
You may suspect from the start that ICBC will look to deny your claim if there is any evidence that alcohol may have impacted your ability to drive or if you are suspected of hit and run. In these cases it is likely that there will be an ICBC investigation for policy breach.
In any circumstance where you suspect that ICBC will investigate the claim to find you in breach, the smart choice is to get a lawyer on the case right away. Once ICBC makes a decision based on bad information or lack thereof, it is very hard to turn the case around. It’s important to have someone acting for you who knows what information ICBC is entitled to acquire to process the claim. A lawyer who deals with ICBC policy issues can identify what evidence ICBC adjusters can rely on. It’s important to have a lawyer acting for you who knows how to keep a handle on the flow of information.
The first letter from ICBC
ICBC sends out two letter as notice that they intend to find the driver or claimant in breach or are investigating for ICBC policy breach. The first letter goes like this:
1234 72nd B Ave
Surrey BC V6W 1X7
RE: CLAIM NUMBER: P999911 9
ACCIDENT DATE: FEBRUARY 26, 2015
ACCIDENT LOCATION: 132 STREET AND 84TH AVENUE; SURREY, BC
We are still investigating this accident. However, there is some indication that you did not meet a condition of your insurance. This means ICBC may not pay for your claims, and you may have to repay ICBC for any payments it makes to others for losses that are your responsibility.
When we have completed our investigation, we will let you know if your Autoplan insurance will cover you for losses from this accident.
This letter does not affect any of ICBC’s legal rights regarding your insurance coverage, or any time limits related to this accident.
Insurance Corporation of British Columbia
This letter is designed to look as though it is a simple form letter. We suspect that ICBC made it that way to lure people into thinking that it is simply part of the process and therefore not anything worthy of particular concern. It is, however, a big deal. By this letter ICBC is notifying you that you may be on the hook legally to pay for the entire damages of the accident out of your own pocket, including the costs of injury claims made by other parties, property damage for any vehicles, the damage to your own vehicle and any damage to signs, trees, posts etc. that might have been caused by the accident.
This first letter is telling you that ICBC is investigating you for breach of an insurance condition. When you get this letter, if you haven’t already got a lawyer acting for you, it’s important to contact a lawyer right away to see what steps can be taken to avoid a finding of breach.
The second letter
ICBC’s method is to send two letters when they intend to find a person in breach of their insurance conditions. The first letter is written and structured in such a way to suggest that it is a form letter, pounded off by a computer without much attention put to it by a human being. The second letter is intended to look more as though the issues have been thoroughly considered by ICBC.
The second letter is designed to look more considered. The intention is to suggest that ICBC has now looked closely at the file and made a determination that you are in breach of your insurance conditions. The letter looks something like this:
1234 72nd B Ave
Surrey BC V6W 1X7
Re: Claim Number: P999911-9
Date of Accident: February 26, 2015
License Plate: NOAA4ME
Location: 132 Street and 84 Ave Surrey, BC
Enclosed are copies of our previous letter(s) to you regarding this accident. Our investigation indicates that you are 100% responsible for this accident.
Your insurance is a contract between you and ICBC. If you break any terms of that contract, you are in breach of that contract. This means that:
- ICBC may not pay for any claims you have;
- You will be required to repay ICBC for all claims made against you; and
- ICBC will not provide a lawyer for you if legal action is started against you.
Our investigation is now complete and shows that you were operating your vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and were incapable of proper control of your vehicle at the time of the accident; consequently, you are in breach of your insurance coverage.
To date, no claim payments have been made but there are claims outstanding. Also, people have up to two years to start a legal action, so ICBC may not yet have been advised of all claims from this accident. We will let you know the total amount you owe when the claim is fully paid.
Please call me if you have any questions regarding this letter.
INSURANCE CORPORATION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
Telephone: (604) 590-9999
Are you in breach of your ICBC insurance conditions?
You may suspect that ICBC will investigate you or you may think that you are in breach of your ICBC insurance conditions. If you have a feeling that you might be in breach or investigated for breach, it’s time to lawyer up.
We deal with alleged ICBC contract breaches. Very few ICBC insurance cases are clear cut. With the right approach in many cases ICBC can be compelled to provide insurance coverage.
If you think ICBC may look to refuse you insurance, call us and we’ll get on the case.