ICBC must tell Haida Gwaii residents they don't have to travel to mainland to make a claim, councillor says

·3 min read

When Lisa Pineault hit a bear while driving on Haida Gwaii last month, she immediately phoned the ICBC call centre for collision claims.

She was told if she wanted her vehicle assessed by ICBC she would have to take the six-hour ferry ride to Prince Rupert, B.C., and then drive another 150 kilometres to Terrace to visit the claims office — a trip that would cost her hundreds of dollars and more than a day of travel.

But the autobody shop she was working with told her she might be able to simply send photos of the damage rather than making the long journey for a claim. Pineault ended up speaking to an adjuster and was able to save herself the trip — and now she wants ICBC to make sure it offers the same service to other residents of the archipelago.

"If I hadn't followed through — which is what happens with a lot of people when they're told they'll have to make the [round trip] off-island — I wouldn't have even known that was a possibility," she said. "That's what we're trying to change."

Pineault, a councillor in the Village of Queen Charlotte, is now teaming up with other Haida Gwaii municipalities and First Nations governments to try to convince ICBC to improve service for people living on the islands.

Pineault says until several years ago, the Crown corporation used to dispatch an adjuster to the region once a month to assess vehicle damages and determine drivers' responsibility in a crash.

Lisa Pineault
Lisa Pineault

"He [the adjuster] would travel all through Haida Gwaii to go to all of the communities," she told Carolina de Ryk, host of CBC's Daybreak North. "But we currently don't have an adjuster that comes here."

On Oct. 21, Pineault proposed that the All-Islands Protocol Table — a coalition of Haida First Nation and other local governments including Queen Charlotte — should ask ICBC to resume regular adjuster service in the region, or at the very least let residents send photos to their appraiser rather than have them travel to the mainland.

In a written statement to CBC News, ICBC says it uses photos submitted by drivers and towing companies on Haida Gwaii to evaluate whether vehicles are repairable.

David Horemans/CBC
David Horemans/CBC

But Pineault says its call centre should make it clear to customers that they have the option of sending photos instead of paying a physical visit to the adjuster.

"There are a lot of people who are choosing not to have their vehicle repaired because they think they will be out of pocket not only for the deductible, but for the extra ferry trips," she said.

Pineault can still drive her truck and has scheduled its repair in Prince Rupert for January. In the meantime, she's waiting for the All-Islands Protocol Table to reach a resolution on demanding local adjuster service.

Tap the link below to listen to Lisa Pineault's interview on Daybreak North:

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