Over 440 contaminated vehicles are being stored locally, held in evidence as part of ICBC’s lawsuit. (Trail Times file photo)

Vehicle write-offs near 700 after Trail acid spills

Family Insurance received 600+ claims to date; one-in-three written off due to acid contamination

A second insurer has confirmed another 200+ vehicles have been written off due to sulphuric acid spills on the highway that runs through Trail.

That’s in addition to the 440+ vehicles ICBC took off the road due to acid contamination following the April 10 and/or May 23, 2018 acid spills.

Family Insurance, an independent insurer based in Vancouver, was set up in Champion Chevrolet for several weeks last summer as their experts tested hundreds of vehicles for acid.

For the first time, the company shared the outcome with the Trail Times.

“Family Insurance received more than 600 claims as a result of the Trail acid spills,” Chief Operating Officer Graham Doerr told the Times.

“We have written off about one vehicle for every three claims received,” he continued.

“This was a significant event for our business. With so many customers impacted, our claims team has focused on getting them back on the road as quickly and smoothly as possible.”

Read more: One year after Trail acid spill, claims still trickling in

Read more: Where it all began; Trail Times reader calls in tip

Read more: Acid spill, Times readers pick top story of 2018

Doerr says claims were still coming in earlier this year, though the window of opportunity to file with Family Insurance is up to two years.

“We were receiving claims until February 2019, but they now seemed to have slowed down significantly,” he added. “Customers are encouraged to submit a claim as soon as possible.”

That’s because the more time that passes between an event such as the Trail acid spills, and the moment a claim is filed, the harder it becomes to investigate.

“A qualified engineer is inspecting all vehicles to ensure a fair and reliable assessment of the losses incurred by each customer,” Doerr said.

“This also helps us identify and manage any opportunistic or fraudulent claims that add to the time and expense of helping genuinely impacted customers.”

As far as the vehicles written-off, Doerr says the company’s National Claims Team is currently holding them in storage.

He declined to discuss if Family Insurance is considering a lawsuit to recover such extraordinary costs.

“We continue to assess the situation and cannot comment at this time,” Doerr stated.

According to the latest report, roughly 4,450 claims have been submitted specifically to ICBC. Of those, about 10 per cent of the vehicles have been deemed unsafe to drive due to sulphuric acid contamination.

“A minimal number of claims are still coming in,” ICBC spokesperson Lindsay Wilkins told the Times.

“Any customer may still file a claim with us, but we anticipate the vast majority of claims related to this incident have already been filed.”

In the past year, transportation operations from Teck Trail have changed, according to product purchaser and shipper, International Raw Materials (IRM).

Read more: IRM reports small acid lead

Read more: IRM updates acid transport operations from Trail smelter

A new company, Trimac Transportation, has been contracted to carry the caustic fluid from the Trail smelter to railcars in Waneta. Additionally, IRM reports four designated trailers, specifically designed for Trail operations, are being used.

“IRM is directly operating the Waneta-based transload station,” IRM spokesperson Carrie Gaines said. “We have hired local operators and positioned managers at the site to oversee day-to-day business.”



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Mainly cloudy skies ahead for Friday

Plus a look ahead at your weekend

Life-Altering experience

Six weeks that served to change their view of the world

Speculation tax forces sale of Oak Bay’s ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

UPDATE: Father on trial for murder describes being ‘tackled’ and ‘stabbed’ in Oak Bay apartment

Oak Bay father takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

Province rejects criticism from Saanich councillor over McKenzie Interchange

Transportation ministry says project will ‘significantly lower’ greenhouse gas emissions

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Sooke’s Old-Fashioned Country Picnic set for Saturday

The free event combines music, kids activities, food and fun

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

Most Read