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ICBC moves to phone and email insurance renewals amid coronavirus

Signage for ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. The British Columbia government is moving to curtail lawyers and legal costs in the public auto insurance system by severely limiting injured people's ability to sue at-fault drivers or the auto insurer after a crash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito.
Signage for ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. The British Columbia government is moving to curtail lawyers and legal costs in the public auto insurance system by severely limiting injured people's ability to sue at-fault drivers or the auto insurer after a crash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is moving to vehicle insurance renewals by phone and email during the coronavirus pandemic.

Insurance brokers will continue to process the renewals. The additional steps ensure British Columbians can access the insurance services they need without requiring in-person contact.

Click to play video 'Global Exclusive: ICBC exploring online renewals' Global Exclusive: ICBC exploring online renewals
Global Exclusive: ICBC exploring online renewals – Feb 13, 2020

“ICBC’s top priority is the health and safety of its customers, partners and employees, and that’s why we are moving forward with emergency protocols to allow brokers to conduct ICBC business over the phone during this difficult time,” ICBC CEO Nicolas Jimenez said.

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Brokers will  remain open for business for people who want to visit in person or for transactions that cannot be done over the phone, such as vehicle registrations and new policies.

The province will not longer require the display of decals while these new protocols are in place.

A customer can still pick up a decal at a broker after renewing insurance by email or over the phone. As soon as a driver receives the decal, it must be displayed on the licence plate.

Brokers can also decide to mail the decals to customers but those decisions are being left to the broker.

Valid car insurance is still required.

The government is in the midst of communicating the new rules to police so officers are aware updated decals are not required.

“With the COVID-19 outbreak impacting brokers’ offices and customers, these provisional changes are the right move to help protect the health and wellness of everyone, while continuing to meet British Columbians’ insurance needs,” Insurance Brokers Association of B.C. executive director Chuck Byrne said.

ICBC is not changing the driver’s licence renewal protocols. The public insurer is working on further measures to help employees and customers.

The public insurer is also continuing to work with brokers through a joint task force on additional online services, including a more permanent process for insurance renewals.

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READ MORE: ICBC and insurance brokers launch task force for online auto insurance renewals

On Tuesday, ICBC announced it is suspending road tests in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.

“All motorcycle, passenger, and commercial road tests are cancelled until further notice,” said ICBC in a media release.

“ICBC will reassess the situation in two weeks, taking into account public health recommendations and other operational considerations at that time.”

The insurer says it is contacting people with scheduled tests individually, and will do its best to reschedule when possible.

–with files from Simon Little