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ICBC launches suit against alleged theft ring

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has filed a civil action against 20 individuals for their alleged involvement in a vehicle theft ring.

The case involves a total of seven vehicle claims from 2002 until 2003, says information from the ICBC.

The corporation is seeking to recover approximately $300,000, the cost paid out for the stolen vehicles, in addition to the cost to investigate the claims, legal fees and punitive damages.

The Vancouver Sun reported that approximately Cdn$2.7 million was claimed from ICBC in connection with the theft ring.

The scheme allegedly used by the ring involved stealing a vehicle and getting a legitimate Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for the same make and model, says an ICBC statement.

"It is alleged that the vehicles were then registered in B.C. using the forged registration documents to create a new identity for the vehicles," explains information from the Crown corporation.

"The vehicles were then transferred one or more times to the various defendants named in the civil action."

The vehicles, allegedly 49 in total, were then resold, and in the meantime a claim would be made to ICBC by the original owner for replacement costs, reported the Vancouver Sun.  (courtesy Canadian Underwriter)

 

ICBC donates $10,000 to Hope, B.C. rescue team

February 2006

ICBC presented a $10,000 cheque recently to a search and rescue team in Hope, B.C. to help replace the community's Jaws of Life, the Hope Standard reported recently.

According to the newspaper, a thief had stolen the team's search and rescue vehicle and $104,000 worth of equipment. Also missing were avalanche victim locaters, flashlights, a generator, hacksaws and pry bars.

Although the vehicle was eventually recovered in Surrey, B.C., two sets of Jaws of Life remained missing. The Jaws are generally used to rescue victims trapped during vehicle collisions.

"Search and rescue volunteers in Hope perform crucial wilderness and car crash rescues in the Fraser Canyon and surrounding area," added Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General John Les, in a press release. "They help save lives and [ICBC's] donation will help to ensure that they can continue that valuable work."

The Hope Standard reported the stolen equipment was not insured due to a mix-up in paperwork. The news prompted ICBC to help with a cheque, which will be used to purchase a pipe required to make the Jaws of Life work.

"This donation is in recognition of the work that you do... for all the travellers in this region, Darcy Gorchynski, ICBC's regional director for the Fraser Valley, told the Standard. "This location is such a vital link for the entire country."

Many people and groups throughout the region have been stepping up to aid
the volunteer group, including a major donation from Duke Energy.

 

ICBC files civil action to recover claims costs

8/24/2005

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) recently filed a statement of claim in BC Supreme court to take civil action with the intent to recover claims paid and investigation costs, plus damages, associated to an alleged motorcycle theft scheme.
In 2003, ICBC investigators received information through its Tip Line – the ICBC's tool to combat fraud and vehicle-related crimes – regarding motorcycle thefts in the Lower Mainland. In June of that year, police executed search warrants at M/Speed Performance, a Burnaby motorcycle parts store, and a warehouse in North Vancouver connected to M/Speed's owner, Marbod Kern. The searches resulted in what is believed to be the largest recovery of stolen motorcycles and parts in BC.

It is alleged that Kern and an accomplice were involved in the dismantling of stolen motorcycles with the intention of selling the parts for profit. Kern was also charged criminally and pleaded guilty to a possession of stolen property charge.

The estimated value of recovered vehicles was over $250,000.

"ICBC works with law enforcement agencies to combat auto crimes that impact our customers," Mark Withenshaw, ICBC vice president of loss management, says. "We will not sit back and simply pass those costs onto our customers."

(see headlines)

 

ICBC reports record profit, consumer association requests reduced auto rates

8/8/2005

The Consumers' Association of Canada recently called on Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) to make further cuts to auto insurance rates for BC drivers.

"ICBC again announced record profits," Bruce Cran, president of the association, says. "By the end of this year ICBC will be sitting on.more than a billion dollars."

ICBC recently reported a net income of $164 million for the first half of 2005, down from $167 million for the same period last year. Claims and related costs for the first six months of 2005 were $1.34 billion, a 6% increase over the first six months of 2004. Insurance premiums earned in the first half of 2005 were $1.54 billion, compared to $1.48 billion for the same period in 2004. This increase is primarily due to increased sales of optional coverage and an increase in the number of vehicles on BC's roadways.

ICBC's investments significantly contributed to net income in the first six months of 2005, increasing to $255 million from $215 million.

Cran says the reason the ICBC is holding a billion dollars rather than use the money to reduce rates is because the association is because the BC Government ordered ICBC to generate profits and retain the money rather than immediately lowering rates in order to build up its financial reserves to a level on par with private insurers. According to Cran, BC is the only province with a public auto insurance system requiring this same level of
reserves, which will ultimately result in "excessively high rates for consumers and businesses." He adds that the BC Government decided to 'level the playing field' by fixing ICBC's rates artificially high in order to enable private insurers to compete."

In an announcement associated to its rate release, Paul Taylor, ICBC president and CEO, says, "ICBC's net income stays in the company as retained earnings to absorb unexpected spikes in claims costs or unanticipated declines in investment income." He adds that the ICBC invests its retained earnings and reserves to help keep insurance rates low and stable.

Although the overall number of claims in the first half of 2005 is slightly lower than claims for the same time period in 2004 and the number of comprehensive claims declined by 3.7%, auto theft is a growing cost for ICBC policyholders. "It is too early to say if the increase in overall claims and related costs marks a changing trend," Yaylor says, "but it is an example of the volatility of the costs of claims and their impact on ICBC's bottom
line."

ICBC recently indicated that its filing with the BCUC later this summer will propose no change to its basic insurance rates for 2006. After a public process, the BCUC will determine if basic rates should remain the same, increase or decrease.

(see headlines)

 

ICBC awarded $2.93 million in lawsuit

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has recently been awarded approximately $2.93 million in damages as a result of 12 fraudulent insurance claims, which occurred in Lower Mainland in the late 1990s.

Each of the 12 defendants has been ordered by a B.C. Supreme Court jury to pay a
part of the total sum based on their level of involvement in specific claims including: $72,251 in ICBC's investigative costs; $322,506 in claims costs; and, $2,542,500 in punitive damages.

ICBC has been awarded with claims for compensation of its own claim and investigation costs, plus punitive damages ranging from $55,000 to $900,000 against each of the individual participants. Ahmed Faris must pay an excess of $1.1 million.

The civil suit was initiated in July 2003 when ICBC filed a lawsuit against 21 people and three companies. The Company claims that the accused individuals "conspired to intentionally cause 10 collisions and then made fraudulent claims to ICBC for compensation. Instigating the lawsuit was ICBC's potential recovery of claims costs paid, plus all additional costs related to its investigation, punitive damages, interest and legal costs.

"ICBC invests in fraud prevention because less fraud means low and stable rates for our customers," Mark Withenshaw, vice president of loss management at ICBC, says. "We will not sit back and simply pass the cost of fraud onto our honest customers."(courtesy BODYSHOP magazine)

 

Speedy Auto Glass cited for 'kickbacks'
At least five officials conspired to defraud ICBC, court documents claim


Jim Beatty
Vancouver Sun

February 26, 2004

VICTORIA - Speedy Auto Glass, the nation's largest auto glass repair company, is being accused of operating a kickback scheme and defrauding British Columbia's public auto insurer.

In court documents filed Wednesday, the Insurance Corp. of B.C. alleges that at least five top officials at Speedy -- including its B.C. general manager and regional manager -- conspired to defraud ICBC.

The documents say Speedy officials, and their Burnaby-based parent company TCG International, engaged in a scheme to falsify documents, create duplicate sets of account books and offer "kickbacks." The documents allege that in an effort to attract large clients such as car dealerships and autobody shops, Speedy officials would initially accept the appropriate deductibles from such clients, but quietly reimburse them later. The documents refer to this as "the kickback scheme."

No estimate on the size of the alleged fraud was available Wednesday but the court-filed writ says ICBC has paid Speedy $20 million since January 2002 in respect to glass claims.

As a result of the lawsuit, ICBC severed all ties with the 38 Speedy outlets in B.C. -- some of which have been operating for 58 years.

The damning allegations were the product of months of investigations and complaints.

An internal ICBC memo from chief operating officer Bill Goble, obtained Wednesday by The Vancouver Sun, says the lawsuit follows an investigation into Speedy's compliance with the Glass Express program. The controversial ICBC program is aimed at serving customers better by eliminating the need to go to an ICBC claims centre.

"As a result of this investigation ICBC has commenced legal action against Speedy Glass and ICBC will cease doing business with all Speedy Glass locations," says the internal memo from Goble sent to employees on Wednesday.

"Under no circumstances should ICBC staff make any comment to the media," says the memo.

Doug McClelland, spokesman for ICBC, acknowledged Goble's memo as legitimate but refused to comment on any aspect of the case.

Stephen Schober, president of parent company TCG International, said he was shocked by the allegations.

"We were surprised to learn of the situation this morning. We are extremely concerned with the allegations contained in the documents filed in court earlier today," said Schober, reading from a prepared statement Wednesday but refusing to answer questions.

"It is certainly our policy to comply with the policies and procedures of ICBC. We have a code of conduct that requires our employees to act in an ethical and legal manner in all of their business affairs," he said.

The court documents say Speedy officials were waiving insurance deductibles in an effort to build business. By waiving the deductibles B.C. drivers should be paying, Speedy built its business and thus the salaries and bonuses paid to senior managers were increased.

If subordinate employees refused "to engage in such wrongful conduct [they] would be transferred out of British Columbia or their services would be terminated," says the writ.

The employees named in the writ are Bill Nears, general manager for Speedy Glass Shops and Gordon Fraser, the company's regional manager. At least three other employees are referred to as either John Doe or Mary Doe.

ICBC is handling the alleged fraud as a civil issue and has not asked police to investigate.

John Preissl, spokesman for the Auto Glass Survival Coalition, an industry group that has been battling the Glass Express program for years, said the crackdown on Speedy is long overdue.

"This is the start of a big cleanup program," Preissl said in an interview Wednesday.

Preissl said the allegations, if proven, are indicative of the unfair and illegal business practices within the automotive industry.

"Hopefully this will clean up the industry and ensure everyone is treated fairly."

Speedy was the largest participant in Glass Express, the ICBC program that owners of automotive glass shops have for years been criticizing as unfair, punitive, wasteful and harmful to business.

Some shops have had to hire full-time employees just to keep up with the paperwork imposed by the ICBC program.

The program sets standards for glass shops ranging from washroom cleanliness and opening hours to technician skills and signage.

On Wednesday, business owners were hoping the end is near for Glass Express.

"This program should be halted and put under full investigation," Preissl said. "It has cost a lot of people their livelihoods."

The investigation into Speedy appears to have been sparked by Lawrence Grant, owner of Rapid Auto Glass in Coquitlam, who has written letters to ICBC, cabinet ministers and MLAs in a two-year effort aimed at correcting what he saw as an injustice.

"There was an unfair playing field between the big corporate stores and the independents," Grant said Wednesday.

Grant said his complaints about unfair business practices at Speedy were largely dismissed and ignored.

"Everybody in the industry knew it was happening," he said. And yet "certain issues were not being investigated . . . I feel ICBC has finally opened up their eyes. This is a step toward treating everyone fairly."

The allegations suggest Speedy was improperly waiving deductibles for customers in an effort to win more business.

Here is how the scheme, according to industry insiders, is believed to have worked:

A customer comes in to have a windshield replaced, typically a $700 job.

The customer should pay an insurance deductible of $200, with the glass shop submitting a bill of about $500 to ICBC.

But the allegations facing Speedy suggest certain customers had either all, or part of, the $200 deductible waived. A Speedy employee would pay the deductible -- on a personal Visa card -- and be reimbursed later.

ICBC would be told the transaction was above-board and legitimate.

The Vancouver Sun has obtained a copy of a Visa statement, allegedly belonging to a Speedy Glass employee. The statement shows seven charges of either $100 or $200 were made from the Speedy Auto Glass outlet in Langley on the same day in September 2002.

jbeatty@direct.ca

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

 

Vivonet Buys Kirmac Information Systems from Kirmac Collision

Vivonet Inc., a Seattle-based software company, has acquired Kirmac Information Systems Inc. from Kirmac Collision Services LP for an undisclosed amount of cash and shares. This acquisition gives Vivonet Inc. full ownership and control of Autoprise, Inc., a software development company that provides collision repair management solutions.

Autoprise, Inc. provides traditional and Internet-based shop management systems for single- and multiple-site operations, data warehousing solutions and business intelligence products. Autoprise also offers services including initial system planning and design, help desk, professional services, application hosting, and implementation services.

"The acquisition of 100% of Autoprise Inc. is advantageous on many fronts, and will provide both our customers and shareholders with increased value," said Ryan Volberg, President and CEO Vivonet, Inc. "Autoprise customers already enjoy the efficiency and customer service benefits of Vivonet's Frameworks technologies in their Solo, Unity and Reveal products. From an operational perspective, both Vivonet and Autoprise will benefit from
combined infrastructure, operational efficiencies and the advantages of a common technology platform. Autoprise has achieved very strong quarter over quarter revenue growth and this acquisition will allow Autoprise to continue along this path while completing Vivonet's strategy to be active in two complimentary vertical industries".

(courtesy of CollisionWeek)

 

Auto Skills Competition Highlights Skills Shortage In Automotive Industry

4/30/2003

The 20 most skilled automotive students from high schools across the British Columbia will be teaming brainpower with horsepower at the Ford, BCAA and BCIT Student Auto Skills Competition this Saturday.

The annual competition, now in its 13th year, is aimed at encouraging careers in the automotive industry and raising awareness about the current and predicted shortage of qualified technicians in the automotive trade.

The Business Council of British Columbia reports that in the decade between 1998 and 2008, 8,000 skilled technicians will be required to fill positions in the automotive trades sector --4,000 of them new positions - making it the fourth largest employer among the major trades in B.C.

The Industry Training and Apprenticeship Commission (ITAC) predicts that the growing rate of retirement coupled with industry demands for well-trained workers will lead to a shortage of qualified trade and technical workers in B.C.

"I've been in the automotive industry for 14 years and the increasing shortage of skilled technicians is definitely prevalent," says Judy Jobse, service manager for Dams Ford Lincoln in Langley, B.C., where she manages 15 technicians. Jobse is the featured guest speaker at this year's Auto Skills Competition banquet on May 2 where she'll give students insight into careers in the automotive industry. "Trades and technical jobs will be hit the hardest when technicians retire--especially since the current average age of technicians is between 45 and 50. The Auto Skills Competition is one way we can draw young people to the trade and show them the benefits," adds Jobse.

This year's Student Auto Skills Competition features qualifying high school students from Abbotsford, Coquitlam, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John, Maple Ridge, Mission, New Westminster, Penticton and Terrace. The teams will compete in teams of two and be required to diagnose and repair identical malfunctions deliberately installed in vehicles. The first team to successfully start and road test their vehicle wins.

Each student on the first place team will receive an automotive scholarship to the post secondary institution of their choice and an open scholarship to BCIT's automotive program. Both first and second place teams will represent B.C. in the national final, hosted by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) in Oakville, Ont., on June 21.

 

AUTOPRISE, INC. IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT TIM WILDER HAS JOINED THE COMPANY AS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Vancouver, B.C. Canada (January 28, 2003): Autoprise, Inc., a software and services company specializing in innovative solutions for the automotive collision repair industry, announced today that Tim Wilder, former President of Kirmac Collision and KiT Systems has joined the company as Executive Vice President of Business Development. With over 14 years of collision industry and IT experience, Mr. Wilder will focus on building key industry liaisons and ensuring Autoprise product and service offerings are in line with the direction of the industry.

“The addition of Tim is a tremendous win for the Autoprise team and for our customers,” said Ryan Volberg, Chief Executive Officer of Autoprise, Inc. “Tim’s unique combination of IT expertise and practical hands-on experience growing a collision repair chain make him a uniquely qualified individual. His existing relationships combined with an insightful understanding of the North American collision and claims fulfillment market will be key factors enabling him to meet the company’s objectives for his position."

Before joining Autoprise, Mr. Wilder worked with Kirmac Collision for 14 years, most recently as the company’s President. Tim was instrumental in growing Kirmac Collision from a single site, $3 million dollar company, to its current position with 12 locations and $19 million in sales. Additionally, Tim was a co-founder of KiT Systems, a spin-off company from the Kirmac business that developed integrated business management solutions for the collision repair industry. Currently over 250 collision repair shops across North America currently run their businesses on KiT’s fully integrated suite of software products. Prior to working with Kirmac Collision, Tim spent three years with 3M in their commercial media, marketing research and automotive divisions.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Autoprise team. My goal is to ensure we offer the best products and professional services in the industry and build on our existing base of satisfied customers,” said Wilder. “The collision industry is in a state of change right now and we are ideally positioned to provide collision enterprises with the management solutions they need to operate with more efficiency and profitability while pleasing insurance companies and their customers.”

About Autoprise, Inc.:
Positioning the company as the “Technology partner supporting the Collision Industry and high value claims fulfillment,” Autoprise provides traditional and Internet-based shop management systems for single and multiple-site operations, data warehousing solutions and business intelligence products. To complement these products, Autoprise offers a full range of system life-cycle services including initial system planning and design, help desk and professional services, application hosting, and planning and implementation services.

Autoprise is a U.S. privately held company with research, development and Canadian sales managed by Autoprise’s Vancouver-based subsidiary, Autoprise Solutions Canada, Inc. For more information on Autoprise products or services phone 1- 877-828-8677 (North America) or visit the Autoprise web site at www.autoprise.com.

 

Need to look at reasons behind rate hike, says BCAA

BURNABY, BC, Nov. 22 /CNW/ - The auto insurance rate increase approved today by the provincial government should serve as a 'wake up call' for B.C. motorists and traffic safety agencies, says the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA). ICBC justified the rate hike partially on the grounds that claims related to auto theft and collisions have increased sharply during the past few years. That, says BCAA, should signal an alarm that action is required to help motorists protect themselves against theft and improve
traffic safety.

"If the number or severity of collisions are in fact increasing, we need to find out why and figure out what can be done to reduce them," says Bill Bullis, BCAA's President and CEO. "Is speed the cause? Are driver distractions a factor? Are road conditions deteriorating? BCAA will be looking to ICBC and the government to determine what can be done to reduce claims, and ultimately reduce injuries and save lives."

BCAA also believes ICBC must not lose its focus on road safety programming. "Over the past two decades, ICBC has emerged as a leader in promoting road safety," adds Bullis. "A lot of good work has been started, and must be allowed to continue and focus in on those areas where it will have the greatest impact and influence on driving behavior."

BCAA works closely with ICBC on road safety programs, including the Child Passenger Safety Program, the Mature Driving Program and publications designed to promote good and safe driving practices. As an Autoplan broker, BCAA also supports the Autoplan Roadsense initiative.

The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation is a charitable organization whose purpose is to enhance the safety of all road users, and whose primary focus to date has been on re-energizing the school safety patrol program across B.C.

BCAA is the province's largest member services association, working on behalf of its more than 720,000 members to represent their interests and connect them with a team of automotive, travel and insurance professionals dedicated to serving their needs. To learn more about BCAA's products and services, advocacy programs, or about the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation, visit www.bcaa.com.

 

BC Government slams brakes on auto insurance competition

VANCOUVER, Nov. 22 /CNW/ - The BC government remains stuck in neutral on the issue of implementing true competition and choice for BC drivers. Today's announcement means the Campbell Government has essentially slammed the brakes on competition and choice in the province, sending a message that the government knows what's best for consumers and their auto insurance needs.

"There is no sign of anything that is going to benefit BC drivers," says Stan Griffin, President and CEO of the Insurance Bureau of Canada. "Where is the plan? We don't see it. In fact, there is no fundamental change on the table - no visible plan and no timelines set out to achieve that." The insurance industry has also taken exception to the announcement of the government's intent to appoint a special regulator to oversee ICBC. BC currently has a superintendent of insurance (Alan Clark) who oversees private insurers as regulator.

"There is no reason for the government not to make use of the infrastructure already in place. Appointing a special regulator for ICBC flies in the face of the rationale of having a government monopoly in the first place."

Mr. Griffin likens the appointment of a special regulator to nothing more than one government entity being created for the sole purpose of regulating an existing government entity. "There is no efficiency - only another layer of government that will end up costing taxpayers more in the long term." "Private insurance companies believed they had been working with a government committed to providing consumers with choice - a choice they
believed a Campbell Government would provide when the BC Liberals were elected," Griffin says.

During last year's election campaign, the BC Liberals promised to open up the auto insurance market in the province. That would have included competition and choice for consumers by allowing private insurance companies to operate on an even playing field.
A majority of voters wanted the Campbell government to implement change. In fact, an IBC poll shows that almost three-quarters of those surveyed were in favour of full competition and choice in BC auto insurance.

"No one can deny the overwhelming public support for a promised change for consumers who want the option of competition and choice in where and how they purchase auto insurance," says Griffin. "We are hopeful that there will be a place at the table for private auto insurers in the not too distant future."

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the home, car and business insurance industry. It represents the insurance companies that provide more than 90 per cent of the home, car and business insurance in Canada. For more information, visit IBC's web site at www.ibc.ca.

 

Child seat installation gets easier, but BCAA still urges parents to have child seats inspected

BURNABY, BC, Sept. 17 /CNW/ - New child seat and vehicle regulations will help solve some of the difficulties associated with correctly installing child seats into vehicles, but it's just as important that children are properly secured in a child seat that is appropriate for their age, size and weight.

Parents are reminded to pay close attention to the proper use of their child's seat and should have their seats inspected by BCAA/ICBC Child Passenger Safety Program technicians.

Under new regulations, effective September 1, 2002, Transport Canada requires all new passenger vehicles made for the Canadian market to be equipped with a Lower Universal Anchorage System (LUAS). Child seat manufacturers are also required to adapt their new seats to the anchorage system so that the two hardware systems fasten together easily. This new system eliminates the need for fastening child seats using the vehicle's seatbelt. It will simplify and improve child seat installation in all LUAS- equipped vehicles by making correct installation a virtual snap.

"The system also allows for traditional installation methods. Using the seatbelt-system, parents are not required to immediately convert to the new system," explains Linda Reid, Program Coordinator, BCAA/ICBC Child Passenger Safety Program. "New car seats can still be installed into older vehicles and vice versa."

Parents should also note that LUAS is not required for booster seats as they are meant to position the child for correct lap/shoulder belt fit and do not need to be anchored to the vehicle.

The new regulations are being introduced in response to the findings of programs such as the BCAA/ICBC Child Passenger Safety Program, which revealed that less than 10 per cent of child seats are installed or used correctly.

"Even though the new regulation brings us a step closer to simplified and improved child seat installation, this is just one side of the equation," says Reid. "We still see many children in the wrong seat for their age, size, or weight. This is a very common problem that the new regulation won't solve, so we're advising parents to continue to have their seats inspected."

Over 2,500 child seats have been inspected through the BCAA/ICBC Child Passenger Safety Program since the program was launched on September 19, 2001. Of those, only 197 were installed or used correctly.

To address these alarming statistics, BCAA has held numerous clinics around the province to inspect seats and advise parents on the proper installation and use of child seats. Starting January 1, 2003, the Child Passenger Safety Program will be supported by the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation (TSF) - a non-profit organization focusing solely on traffic safety initiatives. Through programs like the Child Passenger Safety Program, the TSF
takes direct action to protect and save lives. It relies on donations from individuals and the private sector to operate.

"The results of this year's child seat inspections are astounding and clearly demonstrate the need for more education on the proper use of safety devices," says John Râtel, Executive Director, BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation. "With generous funding support from concerned B.C. drivers and corporate citizens, the Traffic Safety Foundation can continue to bring the Child Passenger Safety Program to even more parents around the province."

To ensure your child seat is installed correctly:
- Call the BCAA/ICBC Child Passenger Safety toll free information line, 1-877-247-5551.
- Have your seat inspected, free of charge, by one of BCAA's trained and certified technicians.

BCAA is the province's largest member services association, working on behalf of its more than 715,000 members to represent their interests and connect them with a team of automotive, travel and insurance professionals dedicated to serving their needs. To learn more about BCAA's products and services, advocacy programs, or about the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation, visit www.bcaa.com.

 

B.C. drivers support auto insurance competition, IBC poll reveals

9/9/2002

The latest Pollara-conducted poll of drivers in British Columbia suggests that about 72% of the driving population favors open competition in auto insurance within the province. The Pollara poll, conducted on behalf of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), also indicates that 63% of drivers are opposed to the government-run Insurance Corp. of B.C. (ICBC) being the sole provider of auto insurance in the province.
Furthermore, a majority of respondents believe that the B.C. government should be responsible for issues such as road safety and licensing, rather than the current system overseen by ICBC. "This issue [ICBC's monopoly over basic auto insurance] has been one of much debate for many years and now, there seems to be a [public] consensus in favor of competition and choice," says the IBC's vice president Pacific region, Lindsay Olson.
(thanks to Canadian Underwriter)


ICBC reports almost $40 million profit in Q-2 2002

8/12/2002

British Columbia's public insurer is reporting increased profits for the quarter ending June 30, 2002, largely the result of changes to its investment portfolio. The Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) saw a net profit of $39.6 million for the second quarter of this year, compared to $8.5 million profit for the same period in 2001. The result is net income for the first six months of the year of $9.2 million, versus a net loss of $30.6 million at the same point last year.
Total premiums written were up 12% to $730 million for the most recent quarter, from $651 million for the second quarter of 2001. However, insurance operations saw an underwriting loss of $67 million, against a loss of $75 million last year during the same time.
Claims costs continue to rise, the corporation reports, up to $632 million for the quarter, from $571 million in Q-2 2001. "The rising trend in claims continues to be a major concern for the Corporation," states a release. "This year has seen a continuing increase in both the frequency and severity of crashes and at the same time, car thefts have increased 14% over last year."
Gains came from the investment side, with investment income up to $129 million versus $107 million for the second quarter last year. ICBC outsourced the management of its Canadian equities portfolio, and linked that portfolio to the S&P/TSX Composite Index during this most recent quarter. "The adjustment of the portfolio to the Index resulted in the disposition of a number of holdings and was responsible for most of the exceptionally high gains on sale of investments in the quarter."
As a result, about $30 million of the gains budgeted to be achieved in the second half of 2002 have already occurred.

(Thanks to CanadianUnderwriter)

 

PRESIDENT OF ICBC RESIGNS

Just a few short months after taking the post, new Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) president Kevin Benson is resigning. In a press release, the public insurance notes that Benson is leaving "to pursue a unique opportunity in Ontario", beginning in September.
In the interim, ICBC chair will take over the duties of president and CEO.
The change comes at a pivotal time, as ICBC awaits the ruling of the province's Core Services Review, set up to evaluate the viability of Crown corporations. When elected, the provincial Liberals has promised to bring more competition to the B.C. auto insurance market, but as yet no steps have been taken to accomplish this.
ICBC has taken a course of restructuring, reducing its staff significantly and attempting to cut costs. Following last year's financial losses, ICBC reported net income of $9.2 million for the first half of this year and expects to have a break-even 2002.
Benson alludes to the potential opening of the market in his farewell remarks, thanking ICBC staff "for the tremendous effort they have made to so quickly position ICBC to succeed in a more competitive".
Addressing a conference of bodyshop owners and insurers in Mont Tremblant, PQ, this week, Dominion of Canada CEO George Cooke called the resignation "encouraging". A vocal proponent of privatization, Cooke did admit that it is getting very late in the Liberal's mandate for the privatization plan to be pushed through. The current struggle of insurers on a global basis as they seek to return to profitability is also a concern should the market be opened up to competition, he adds. "Three years ago it would have been a lot easier for companies to make the case to their parent companies to invest in this new market." Nonetheless, he says B.C. auto represents a "$2.5 billion opportunity" for insurers, and says many insurers have indicated their desire to compete in B.C.

(thanks to Canadain Underwriter)

 

Source: www.learnandearn.bc.ca

Get Started First things first - finding a job is key to participating in an apprenticeship program. Your employer's cooperation is required to complete an apprenticeship as an Automotive Collision Repair Technician. However, if it becomes difficult to find a job your next step would be to seek training at an ITAC recognized educational institution. This is one of 11 compulsory trades so one must be an apprentice or be certified to work in the trade - so to get started you MUST have a job!.

Completion of an Entry Level Training Program (ELTT) may result in credit towards some of the required technical training.

A Grade 12 education is preferred, a Grade 10 education or equivalent, including English 10, Math 10, and Science 10 is recommended.
Education & Training The following educational institutions offer training as an Automotive Collision Repair Technician:
British Columbia Institute of Technology
Okanagan University College
Vancouver Community College
Certification Requirements BC Certificate of Apprenticeship
BC Certificate of Qualification
Interprovincial Red Seal

This is a Compulsory Trade.
To work as an Automotive Collision Repair Technician in BC, it is mandatory to either hold a Certificate of Qualification in the trade, or be registered in a four-year apprenticeship that will lead to Certification and be working under a certified Automotive Collision Repair Technician.

The Automotive Collision Repair Technician apprenticeship process requires time spent learning on the job and in the classroom. An apprentice must complete a four (4) year program including 6,750 workplace hours and 450 in-school hours of training. After completion of training, a passing grade on exams will result in the BC Certificate of Apprenticeship, BC Certificate of Qualification, and the Interprovincial Standard Endorsement, also known as Red Seal.