Far and Gwaii: ICBC called on to improve service to Haida Gwaii residents

Haida Gwaii, Haida Nation Territory — The latest call-out of British Columbia’s crown auto insurer is coming from Haida Gwaii residents who have voiced concern that ICBC has left the island northwest of B.C. stranded when it comes to filing collision claims.

It was reported by the CBC on Tuesday that for many living on the west coast First Nation Territory, successfully filing a claim with the Insurance Company of British Columbia (ICBC) is can be an expensive ordeal.

Lisa Pineault hit a bear with her truck while driving in Haida Gwaii a month ago and when she went about filing the claim for the accident, she was told that she would have to travel more than six hours, via ferry and her damaged truck, to Terrance, B.C. to have her vehicle assessed.

After a series of appeals to ICBC to provide an alternative, such as sending photos of the damage as was suggested by a local bodyshop, Pineault was allowed to forego the long and expensive trip it would have taken to bring her truck in physically.

However, the Haida Gwaii resident and councillor for the village of Queen Charlotte wants to make sure that her neighbours won’t have to endure the same hassle that she was put through.

“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,” said Pineault. “That’s what we’re trying to change.”

ICBC used to send an adjuster to the island to make rounds, assessing vehicle damage claims, but this was discontinued several years ago, according to Pineault.

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

Pineault is now calling on the All-Islands Protocol Table, a coalition of Haida First Nation and other local governments including Queen Charlotte, to push ICBC to make her case the standard for people living on the island or to resume sending an adjuster regularly.

Meanwhile, Pineault says her truck is driveable and has repairs scheduled for January.

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