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ICBC logs more than 18,000 calls to claim centre over snowstorm, 12,500 in Lower Mainland

Snowfall chaos raises questions about Metro Vancouver snow resources
The chaos on the roads has drivers wondering whether some Metro Vancouver cities are spending enough on road maintenance. Jordan Armstrong reports.

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.

READ MORE: Snowfall warning dropped for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, but snow could still fall

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.

Snowy Vancouver weather causes bus to struggle driving up hill, transit worker to use hockey stick to remove ice from train
Snowy Vancouver weather causes bus to struggle driving up hill, transit worker to use hockey stick to remove ice from train

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.

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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.

READ MORE: Winter driving 101 — How to survive Metro Vancouver’s ‘snowmageddon’

“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.”

Storm generates more ‘ice bombs’ on Metro Vancouver bridges
Storm generates more ‘ice bombs’ on Metro Vancouver bridges

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.

READ MORE: Power outages, traffic and transit delays as new round of snow and wind hits Lower Mainland

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.

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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.