B.C. announces new office in context of transition to Enhanced Care coverage this May
The B.C. government is planning to introduce legislation amending the Insurance Corporation Act, RSBC 1996, c 228, to establish a fairness officer who seeks to promote trust in the processes of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.
The new fairness officer, who will be appointed by the provincial government to ensure more independence from the ICBC, will aim to foster fairness and transparency in the ICBC’s decisions, actions and practices and in the ICBC’s handling of complaints, disputes and procedural matters, particularly in the context of the ICBC’s transition to Enhanced Care coverage on May 1.
“Under the new care-based model, ICBC will ensure every person who makes a claim receives all the care and benefits to which they are entitled,” said Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s minister of public safety and solicitor general, in the news release.
The new fairness officer will have the power to review customer complaints regarding the ICBC’s processes and policies when resolving a case and to make recommendations on how to decide such complaints, as well as the power to make more general recommendations to improve fairness in the ICBC’s decision-making.
The fairness officer also has the responsibility to annually report on the complaints which they have received, which they have determined to be within scope and which they have heard. B.C. expects the new fairness office to be in place later this year.
The planned legislation also obligates the ICBC to provide the minister responsible for the ICBC with an annual report that explains how it has responded to the fairness officer’s recommendations.
“We welcome the new independent fairness officer, as they will help give British Columbians the confidence of knowing that we are accountable to them and that they will be treated fairly by us,” said Nicolas Jimenez, president and chief executive officer of the ICBC, in the news release.
The new Enhanced Care aims to provide customers savings on their premiums, amounting to 20 per cent on average, on their full basic and optional coverage from ICBC. In late January, the ICBC announced that it had updated its online estimator tool to provide customers with an estimate of how much they will save upon renewing their auto insurance under the Enhanced Care coverage.