KELOWNA, B.C. – While travel insurance is a vacation essential when British Columbian’s head out of province, there are few destinations in the world where you’ll find medical help and coverage as you’ll find here in B.C.
Thanks to the auto insurance monopoly in this province, it is ICBC that picks up most of the tab for victims in a crash like the one that injured 56 August 28th on the Coquihalla Highway near Merritt.
“People who are injured in a crash involving an insured vehicle in B.C. have up to $150,000 in accident benefits coverage, which can include costs like hospital care, medication and rehabilitation,” says Leslie Dickson, with ICBC media relations. “ICBC has been working to assist tour bus passengers since last Thursday, including hospital liaison personnel providing injured bus occupants with insurance information and an adjuster who can support the injured occupants in their language.”
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says the accident is a good example of why the B.C. Government should get out of the insurance business.
“B.C. should get out of the car insurance business altogether,” says Jordan Bateman, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “The governments not very good at it. Studies have consistently shown that across the country, provinces with highly regulated but very competitive insurance markets actually deliver cheaper service to customers.”
“We have people coming to Canada who get hurt through no fault of their own. We need to be able to take care of them. ICBC pays for that right now. I suppose there may be a chance that negligence on the company’s part could be proven and ICBC can get some of that money back, but you can probably bet ratepayers will be on the hook for it,” says Bateman.
There are 15 patients from crash in care at Interior Health hospitals including two in critical condition, while eight are in stable condition at hospitals around the Vancouver area.