It’s too soon to say how much of an effect the South Coast’s first snowstorm of 2020 will have on ICBC’s bottom line, but the public insurer says calls to its claims centre have been brisk since last Friday.
In the six days since snow began pounding the South Coast, ICBC says it’s handled more than 12,534 calls to its Dial-a-Claim centre.
That’s up from 11,692 for the six same days the week prior. Province-wide there were more than 18,000 calls.
The worst day for calls was Monday, with more than 5,000 calls province-wide, more than 3,500 of them from the Lower Mainland alone.
On Wednesday, the worst snow day in the Lower Mainland, calls actually declined to just over 2,700 — a fact ICBC said may reflect people choosing to stay home.
Since the snow started, there have been 88 claims related to so-called “ice bombs” on the Port Mann bridge, 50 on the Alex Fraser, and three on the Golden Ears.
“Adjusters are working hard as they can to get claims going and pushing them through,” said Joanne Bergman, ICBC’s road safety co-ordinator for Vancouver.
“We just want to remind people that if you do have to go on the roads, then go ahead to drive, but make sure you’re comfortable on the roads,” she added.
“So if you’re not confident driving, maybe stay off the roads, find a driver to jump in the car with, maybe take some transit or even stay home still for another few days.”
ICBC is reminding people to make sure their vehicles are properly equipped for winter driving, including having winter tires and full reservoirs of wiper fluid.
Drivers are also being reminded to slow down, use their headlights and leave plenty of space between cars.
With so many crashes — along with several scenes of spinning tires and vehicles in the ditch — critics are wondering if snow tires should be mandatory in Metro Vancouver in the winter months.
Attorney General David Eby, the minister in charge of ICBC, says expanding the province’s existing snow tire requirement for B.C. highways isn’t a bad idea.
“It’s certainly something I’ll be asking ICBC about following some of what I saw on the road over the last couple days, and I’m sure a lot of British Columbians would go along with that,” he said.