Widow forced to pay dead husband's car insurance
A grieving widow forced to pay her husband's car insurance after his death has been caught in the middle of a bureaucratic nightmare with the Insurance Corporation of B.C. after the company refused to acknowledge that he passed away.
Father-of-three Randy Lambert, a former salmon fisherman turned helicopter pilot, died on July 31, 2010, when his chopper mysteriously crashed near Stewart, B.C. Two others also died.
Randy died without a will, and left behind large debts and a newly insured BMW he drove for just one day before leaving for camp in northern B.C.
Because his estate was in flux, his widow Charety couldn't sign an affidavit required by ICBC showing the value of his estate – so the insurance corporation refused to cancel his auto insurance.
ICBC then began bouncing cheques off the deceased pilot's closed bank account.
Charety found herself drowning in red tape, with no options.
"So they wouldn't cancel the insurance. They wouldn't take the plates. The car's no longer in our possession," she said.
Just before Christmas, ICBC sent notice to the grieving widow that it was suspending her dead husband's licence. It also demanded she pay his full year's insurance – a total of $1,365.
"It does feel like harassment on ICBC's part, in my opinion," she said.
CTV's Steele on Your Side took the case to the media relations manager at ICBC, who offered an apology to the Abbotsford woman.
'Well I'd like to say we're sorry we put you through this needless anxiety. It didn't have to happen," said Mark Jan Vrem.
ICBC said the problem ultimately stemmed from the fact that the pilot died without a will, leaving his wife and children in a legal quagmire.
But it has decided to do the compassionate thing and forgive the costs.
"The slate has been wiped clean, and we're really happy and appreciative that we were able to do the right thing for this customer," Jan Vrem said.
After investigating the case, ICBC decided to backdate the cancellation of the car insurance, and then waive any penalties that might have applied. ICBC's media relations manager thanked Steele on Your Side for bringing the case to his attention so they could make things right.
Charety's problems still aren't over, though. Randy had yet to sign his life insurance papers listing his wife as the beneficiary, so his life insurance benefit is also in question.
Watch CTV for a full report from Lynda Steele, including reaction from ICBC…