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The provincial government has announced the appointment of a new office to improve transparency and accountability for ICBC customers.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, the Ministry of Attorney General announced intentions to set up a Fairness Office that is more independent from ICBC to oversee the crown corporation’s customer service operations.

See also: ICBC ordered to delay 2020 insurance rate application

According to the province, this office will be required to report out publicly, in plain language, on the type and number of issues it hears, along with recommendations to ICBC.

The insurance provider will then have to report on actions taken based on these recommendations.

“British Columbians should have the peace of mind that they will be treated fairly after they’ve been injured in a crash,” said David Eby, Attorney General.

“With this change, British Columbians can have confidence that the Fairness Office has greater independence from ICBC and has the impartial authority to review the fairness of their situation with the ability to make recommendations to ICBC.”

Expected to be in place by spring 2021, the Fairness Office will be appointed by the BC cabinet and remain independent of ICBC.

While the Fairness Office will make recommendations to ICBC on how to handle resolve individual customer complaints – as well as policy and process, related to customer fairness – the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) will continue to resolve disputes for ICBC claims of $50,000 and under.

The CRT will also resolve disputes between customers and ICBC on decisions made by the insurance provider when it comes to certain matters involving minor injury determinations, accident benefit entitlement and fault determinations or claimed amounts $50,000 and under.

Pre-litigation payments

In addition to the creation of the Fairness Office, ICBC will also be providing up front pre-litigation payments to individuals who have been injured in a motor vehicle incident, without first requiring them to waive their ability to sue if they wish to.

This program is intended to get injured parties compensation as soon as possible, and allow them to retain most of their settlement rather than spend it on legal fees.

The insurance provider will be able to offer these pre-litigation payments starting today, January 29th. This program will be formalized through legislation in spring 2020.

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