Thursday, February 12, 2009

BC Insurance Industry Initiative to Combat Organzied Crime

To gun-happy B.C. gangsters: installing armour plating and bullet proof windows on your cars will invalidate your insurance -- ICBC

A tip for B.C. gangsters driving off to a busy afternoon of
semi-automatic gun play: that armour plating and bulletproof glass on your
Escalade will invalidate its insurance. Such gun play between gangs waging increasingly violent turf wars is becoming more and more frequent in urban areas in the province. It can be a big problem for the car dealers who lease vehicles that are then altered by criminals.

Police and ICBC are warning auto lessors that gangsters are taking their vehicles out of province to be armoured for combat. If such vehicles are damaged in gunfights or normal fender-benders, their insurance is invalid.

It's a headache for honest lessors since gang members often lease vehicles through a relative or friend with no criminal record. But when the car comes back riddled with bullet holes, as was the case in several recent high-profile shootings in Metro Vancouver, ICBC won't pay.

“Substantially altering your vehicle and especially adding weight to your vehicle could be in breach of your insurance,” senior media relations adviser Adam Grossman told Thompson's. It is probably not a common occurrence for
coverage to be pulled due to unauthorized modifications. But then those who
armour their cars aren't likely to inform the insurer.
(Copyright Thompson's World Insurance News)

I think that this is a great idea...any initiative that will combat organized crime is a welcome step. I believe that the only way to hinder the growth of these gangs is to hit them where it really the pocketbook! This is likely their main motivation for getting involved in this lifestyle, so I welcome the ICBC's stance on this.
While it is true that most of these gangsters will not register these leased vehicles in their names, this stance may hinder their ability to recruit their friends from leasing/registering these vehicles in their name.
Although the BC Insurance industry is different than Alberta's, I would welcome a similar official position from the Alberta based insurance companies on this also. There is already standard industry exclusions built into the policy for vehicles that are Modified/Customized, but an official declaration/warning by Alberta Insurers would be welcomed.

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