ICBC is a unique insurance organization for several reasons:
- ICBC is a Crown or publicly run corporation;
- The administration of the Corporation’s insurance plan is governed by Regulations under the Insurance (Vehicle) Act of British Columbia (the “Regulations”);
- ICBC operates on a not-for-profit basis, though it has run surpluses until recent years, which the government has used to fund general provincial spending;
- ICBC holds a Provincial monopoly for primary auto insurance products, most notably basic Third-Party Liability of $200,000 (Part 6), as well as No-Fault Accident Benefits (Part VII) and basic Uninsured Motorist Protection (“UMP”) (Part 10);
- For optional insurance products, ICBC has a virtual monopoly as it has close to a 90% market share in B.C. on products such as excess Third-Party Liability, Own Damage Coverage (Part 9), and excess UMP;
- ICBC is responsible for the handling of unidentified and uninsured motorist claims in B.C. (Part 8);
- In addition to possessing its own comprehensive computer databases, ICBC has direct access to some of the Motor Vehicle Branch’s databases as ICBC runs that entity;
- ICBC is given wide collection powers when recovering motor vehicle related debts including being able to take away your right to carry vehicle insurance and/or your driver’s license until you repay ICBC;
- ICBC is responsible for the financial costs of more than insurance claims, as the government uses the ICBC revenues to fund road safety initiatives, the Motor Vehicle Branch and other non-insurance programs, which normally would be part of the provincial government budget;
- ICBC lacks the financial and organizational accountability that one would expect from a private company, giving rise to poor public perception of ICBC; and
- As a monopoly auto insurer with comprehensive databases, ICBC has access to a wide spectrum of information they can and will use against you.
In many respects, however, ICBC is very much like other insurance companies.