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Snow surprise: ICBC reports surge in claims associated with Tuesday’s winter storm

Click to play video: 'Why was Metro Vancouver so ill-prepared for the snow?'
Why was Metro Vancouver so ill-prepared for the snow?
WATCH: There are many questions as to why Metro Vancouver road crews and drivers appeared to be caught off guard by the first snowfall of the season. – Dec 1, 2022

It will come as no surprise to anyone who witnessed in person or watched videos of cars smashing into one another during Tuesday’s snowstorm on B.C.’s South Coast, but ICBC confirms it received a surge in insurance claims amid the chaos.

The public insurer said Thursday that calls to its claim centre spiked by 94 per cent over the previous Tuesday.

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That translates into 3,567 claims lodged provincewide on Nov. 29, compared to 1,837 the Tuesday of the week prior.

While the numbers appear dramatic, they’re still lower than the surge in claims ICBC has recorded during previous B.C. snowstorms.

During a January 2020 storm, the insurer fielded a whopping 5,000-plus calls in a single day, more than 3,500 of them from the Lower Mainland alone.

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And during a February 2019 storm the insurer logged just over 4,000 claims in a single day.

Click to play video: '‘I was stuck in my car (for) more than 8.5 hours’: Snowstorm screeches Metro Vancouver to a halt'
‘I was stuck in my car (for) more than 8.5 hours’: Snowstorm screeches Metro Vancouver to a halt

Tuesday’s snowstorm struck during the afternoon rush hour in the Lower Mainland, paralyzing major routes and leaving some people trapped in their vehicles or facing commutes of up to 12 hours.

The province said it had 30 pieces of equipment working on the Lower Mainland roads during the evening, and has pinned the problems on traffic congestion that prevented tow trucks and snowplows from clearing routes.

Read more: Icy cold, wind and a chance of more snow in the forecast for parts of B.C.

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With more snow potentially in the forecast, ICBC is urging drivers to be prepared for inclement weather.

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That includes ensuring vehicles are properly equipped for winter, with winter tires, working headlights and an emergency kit.

It’s also urging drivers to go slow, to drive for conditions and to be patient and plan extra time for their trip.

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