If you were involved in an automobile accident in Washington with a driver from British Columbia, you can be assured the driver has coverage with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (I.C.B.C.). I.C.B.C. is a crown corporation, it was formed by the BC government in 1973 with the understanding that they would provide universal automobile insurance to residences of British Columbia.
The good news is the unlike Washington, nearly every driver in British Columbia is insured and has significantly more coverage than most people who drive in the U.S. The bad news is that this is an insurance company run by the government, insurance companies can be bad enough just imagine one run by politicians.
If you have heard people talk about filing claims with the I.C.B.C., I am sure you have heard it can be a long slow process, and for the most part these concerns are justified. Frequently, BC drivers that are involved in automobile accidents outside of British Columbia are on a trip, and sometimes do not report the claims promptly. In addition, in other cases, it can just take a very long time for a claim to works it way through their system to an adjuster who has authority to handle your claim.
The status of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is always up for discussion. Many of the residents of BC are unhappy with the service they received from the I.C.B.C. and many think they are overcharged for the services provided. There are frequently suggestions that the corporation be abolished, and they return to a private system of automobile insurance, and there very well may come a day when that happens.
There is currently a significant amount of concern about a possible strike with I.C.B.C., as many of their workers have been working without a contract for years and those workers are now pressing the matter.
Unfortunately, there is no set of rules that guide the handling of claims with I.C.B.C.. When an accident occurs outside of BC, they have a specialized department that was set up to handle these claims. Unfortunately, it can take several days and even weeks for a claim to even be assigned to this department, and therefore significantly delay the processing of your claim.
Employees of our firm has dealt with I.C.B.C. for years, and we have an intimate knowledge of the process, and can assist in moving things along in all aspects of your claim including repairs to your vehicle and obtaining a rental car during the time that it is being repaired.
In some cases, on simple matters an individual can deal with I.C.B.C. successfully in working out claims, such as minor property damage matters. Unfortunately on those matters of greater significances, it is frequently very difficult and sometimes nearly in possible to work with them to receive fair compensation for your claim. As previously stated, we have several employees who have a significant amount of experience working with I.C.B.C. and can be very helpful in all aspects of the handling of a claim.
In the end, just because the person is insured with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (I.C.B.C.), does not elevate them from having to abide by Washington law. If we are unable to negotiate a reasonable settlement with I.C.B.C., we will file a lawsuit in Washington and they will have to hire their own representation and defend the matter in our courts, not theirs.
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Bellingham, WA 98225
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