The ICBC is aflame, again! Horgan got a new firechief, Mike Farnworth, to re-extinguish the re-flaring ICBC dumpster fire. I will re-advise him how to re-do it right this time around.
I have been concerned about this since January 2018, after AG David Eby sounded the fire alarm to warn us that the ICBC is in a financial state resembling a dumpster aflame. Eby investigated the fire and let it be known that the arsonists were the lawyers of the “personal injury” branch of the industry. As for the motive, Eby found that the lawyers were burning the ICBC in the dumpster to keep themselves warm, not unlike workers on picket line duty burn wood in a barrel to keep warm on a dark and stormy day.
Anyway, being the ICBC fan that I am, Eby’s suave line resonated in my mind and the good Samaritan I am (too!), I volunteered unsolicited advice on extinguishing the flames and fixing up the ICBC. Eby opted for a “compromise” but the flames refused to do likewise.
Churchill counseled: “Persevere; sidetrack niceties, get a ‘piledriver’ and carry on hitting” – I take the hint. My suggestions were then and remain to this day eminently meritorious: Inform the people about the ICBC; Open a “Forum” and invite people to use it to promulgate their ideas and concerns to the rest of us; Assure us all that our ideas would not be “wastebasketed” - that they would be exposed to society to be appreciated, improved and developed, all on inherent merit alone. Challenge us all to think about it and see if we can come up with “fixes” that would render the ICBC the pride of BC and the envy of the Canada “Province-dom”, and beyond.
I started on that route, suggesting the ICBC premium be split three ways, judiciously apportioned, to major factors that cause the bulk of ICBC claims: a) the Driver (Licence); b) the Vehicle (Licence); and c) the Vehicle Fuel. The first factor fosters safe driving and addresses the issue of “drivers’s safety record”; the second reflects the vehicle “risk factor” and the likely cost of repairs; the third reflects time and distance vehicle and passengers are in “harm’s way”. All are easy to implement by ICBC.
Another suggestion I made was to outlaw the abominable “conflict of interest” situation lawyers put themselves in when they “partner” with the victims to share the maximum they can extract from the ICBC. This turns Lawyers into a pack of pit-bulls attacking the ICBC.
Instead, Eby concocted a convoluted system of asking vehicle owners to guess who may borrow their cars; name them in the ICBC policy and pay “premium” on everyone on that List of Guessed Guest Drivers. How thoroughly “Bureaucratically Correct” can one get!
This makes the purchase and renewal of ICBC coverage irksome for “masochist-phobic folk”. And, of course is prone to “error”which renders it “lawyer-able”.
Eby’s fix limited the number of “Expert Reports” a lawyer could fire at the ICBC. They are as easy to buy as pot was in a schoolyard before legalization. Indeed, a whiff of this burning in the alley may have inspired the “burning dumpster” parallel. Cleverly used, expert’s reports yield “high” ICBC payout.
Aware of the withdrawal pain from the Experts Reports addiction, the Lawyers sued the government, pretending protecting “road victims” from “Big Bad ICBC” . For extra “judicial independence”, Chief Justice Hinkson heard the case himself on October 24, 2019. To everyone’s surprise, he struck Eby’s Law about Expert Reports.
But there was more to come. In February 2021, Hinkson hit again. He heard the action of the Lawyers against the “Small Claim Settlement” arrangement Eby had substituted for an honest “No Fault Insurance” into his ICBC law. Hinkson promptly proclaimed it “unconstitutional”, and that was the end of that, too.
As a reminder, Hinkson had also himself judged the “Worshipful Company of Judges and Allied Trades v. the Government” case, it being about judges’ wages. A voucher for a Quarter-Pounder c/w Chips and Coke, for whoever comes first with the correct guess on who “won” the case.
Democracy is naught when “Demo” (= “Populace”) loses control over the society’s public affairs. ICBC affects the lives of all of us, including infants and seniors, at all times, even when sleeping, driving or do something else. We must not relax our diligence, for the moment we do, lurking “predators” of our well-being set our democratic institutions aflame for their gain.
Let us build a soapbox, we need a big one, and flex our tongues to assert our “rule” on the course to take. It is our fate, our Democracy. Let’s re-build ICBC to what we are capable of dreaming it to be.