Dealing with Multiple Insurance Companies

ICBC has a monopoly on basic insurance coverage meaning that they are usually involved in almost every motor vehicle accident case. However, on occasion you will also be involved with other insurance companies.

In recent years, British Columbians have been purchasing excess insurance, at a greater frequency, from non-ICBC insurance companies. Generally, you will never find out about this excess insurance carrier except when you have a serious claim, which is worth more than $200,000, and the at-fault motorist has excess coverage with a non-ICBC insurance company.

In that situation, the non-ICBC insurance company will want to be involved in making decisions on settlement and on the defense. The involvement of the non-ICBC insurance company generally does not affect your claim except ICBC has a tendency to be more careful in defending the claim when they have another insurance company looking over their shoulders. Also, you have the potential of one or more of the insurance companies playing hardball against you.

If you are the driver responsible for the accident and you have excess insurance with a non-ICBC insurance company then you will have to involve the non-ICBC insurance company with the vehicle repair along with any claim that is being advanced against you by the other motorists and his/her passengers.

Non-ICBC insurance companies can also become involved in accident claims where a motor vehicle is driven into the Province from either the United States or from another Province. The biggest problem you will face is that the non-ICBC insurance companies from outside British Columbia are not accustomed to the fact that the awards of damages in British Columbia tend to be higher than anywhere else in Canada and the USA. Also, in most instances, the ICBC statutory coverage for such things as Part VII benefits tend to be more generous than in other jurisdictions. Therefore, you have to get around the conservative mindset of these non-ICBC insurance companies and also, at times, educate them.

If the at-fault vehicle is insured by a non-ICBC insurance company it can cause problems with respect to compensation. This is because you will have to seek compensation from ICBC for Part VII benefits and compensation from the other insurance company for your other claims. Invariably, the insurance companies try to point fingers at each other in an effort to make each other pay.

The one big advantage of having a non-ICBC insurance company is that they are generally less willing to go to trial. ICBC has developed the reputation of being very litigious during certain cycles.

In summary, whenever another insurance company is involved in the claim, it usually makes the claim more complicated largely because of the interplay between ICBC and the other insurance company.