ICBC Helps Improve Vehicle Impoundment Process

By Ken Hendricks, industry relations advisor, towing and recovery

The Towing and Recovery Division has long been advocating for improvements to the burdensome process of disposing unclaimed impounded vehicles. After a serendipitous meeting with Kathy Parslow, ICBC vice president, material damage services, ICBC listened to industry’s concerns and agreed to work with the ARA to help find a solution.

If a registered owner fails to claim their vehicle at the end of the impoundment period, the tower must dispose of the vehicle in accordance with either the Warehouse Lien Act or through provisions detailed in section 255 of the Motor Vehicle Act. In most cases, but not always, when the registered owner fails to claim his/her vehicle, it is because the value of the vehicle is less than the amount of money owing on the lien. To dispose of the vehicle the tower must first complete a couple of forms in addition to mailing letters to the registered owner. The time it takes to complete the form is minimal; however, the forms must be taken to an ICBC Driver Services Centre to receive a stamp and fax—this is where it can become burdensome, as wait times (especially in urban centres) can be anywhere from one to two hours. If a tower makes even a slight mistake on the paperwork, the entire process must be started again.

In consultation with the ARA, ICBC has created a new process for towers that will significantly ameliorate the process.

The new process is as follows:

  • Tow company representative checks in with reception/greeter and advises that they are attending to process vehicle impound disposal paperwork.
  • Driver Services will direct them to a trained representative to process paperwork without waiting in the queue.
  • The trained representative will pre-screen paperwork and secure the required signatures if paperwork is in order.
  • Tow company representative will have the option to wait on-site while the paperwork is processed, or to be notified when the paperwork is ready for pick-up.

Driver Services has implemented this express process at ICBC driver licensing offices in the following areas:

  • Greater Vancouver
  • The Fraser Valley
  • Victoria
  • Nanaimo
  • Kelowna
  • Kamloops

Due to operational limitations, ICBC is not able to implement these changes at Service BC locations or at Insurance Broker offices that support Driver Services on behalf of ICBC.

In order to receive express service, Driver Services strongly recommends that tow company representatives attend its offices from Tuesday to Thursday between 9:30 AM and 2:30 PM.