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

VIDEO: Surrey’s former Flamingo Hotel goes out with a bang

The Flamingo opened in July 1955 as a motor hotel with 20 rooms

Rocky Mountain high: Surrey’s Burzan picked in NHL draft by Colorado Avalanche

Guildford-raised forward was out for a drive when he heard the news

Queen Elizabeth students hit $100K in donations to Surrey Hospital Foundation

Secondary students have been raising funds for a decade through the Roots & Rhythms event

City hopes Surrey’s new energy centre will be ‘a window’ into sustainability

Facility’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

SQUEEZING SURREY STUDENTS IN: The causes and impacts of overcrowding in city schools

Special series: How growth is affecting students, parents and school staff alike – and what the future holds

Woman missing from forensic psychiatric hospital in Coquitlam

Barbara Tom was reported on an unauthorized absence from Brookside Treatment Centre

B.C. judge defies lawyers and adds six months to man’s sex assault sentence

‘I find the joint submission is contrary to the public interest and I’m rejecting it’

Tiny Yorkshire terrier survives days on remote B.C. island

ROAM rescue crews, family searched for dog, missing in Greater Victoria for days

Man presumed dead after boat capsizes in Columbia River

Search and rescue efforts recovered a life jacket

Crews fight wildfire along Sea-to-Sky Highway

A cause has not been determined, although a downed power line is suspected

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Most Read