“Building trust, driving confidence” ICBC’s motto
In March 1974 the Province of British Columbia enacted legislation which resulted in a universal, compulsory automobile insurance scheme. This insurance scheme was and is administered by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (“ICBC”). Until June 1, 2007 ICBC was governed by the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act . On June 1, 2007 the Act was renamed the Insurance (Vehicle) Act (the “Act”). Under the terms of the Act, every motorist in British Columbia is required to purchase Basic Autoplan insurance from ICBC.
The original intent of developing ICBC was to prevent private insurers from offering automobile insurance. However in 1976 the legislation was changed to allow private insurers to compete with ICBC to provide coverage beyond the basic coverage that all motorists are required to purchase.
We now have a system in British Columbia where all motorists purchase their Basic Autoplan insurance from ICBC and then have an option of purchasing extended coverage through ICBC or the myriad of private insurers who offer the coverage.
The vision of mandatory Basic Autoplan insurance coverage through ICBC is to ensure that all British Columbians who own and drive a motor vehicle in BC are protected with a basic level of insurance coverage.
The above quotation is ICBC’s motto. Unfortunately over the years the corporation has grown into a vast and multi layered corporation and the experience of many has not been in line with that motto. The reality is that the administration of insurance coverage is a business, regardless of whether it is a universal system or not. That fact makes it an adversarial situation and accessing benefits is often difficult for individuals.
The existence of a compulsory, universal system of Basic Autoplan insurance does provide protections for members of our province; however, it also creates unique challenges due to the lack of competition in the provision of this service.