A former lawyer has become the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia’s new fairness officer.
The B.C. government announced that it has appointed Michael Skinner as ICBC’s new fairness officer, a newly created role, for a term of three years beginning July 12.
As ICBC’s fairness officer, Skinner will have the authority to review and make recommendations to resolve customer complaints about ICBC’s policy and its process used to make a decision in their case. He will also have the ability to make broader recommendations to “enhance fair decision-making.”
“The appointment emphasizes the independence of this new office. He will focus on ensuring the corporation’s policies, practices and actions are fair and transparent, while further strengthening public trust in ICBC as an organization dedicated to providing affordable auto insurance and caring for people who are injured in a crash,” the provincial government said in a press release.
Skinner’s role requires him to report annually to ICBC and the minister responsible for complaints received, while ICBC must also report on a yearly basis about how it is responding to his recommendations.
“Both reports are required to be publicly available and will be tabled with the legislative assembly,” the province said in its release.
Prior to becoming the fairness officer, Skinner worked on ICBC cases while as a practising lawyer in 1982 before transitioning to the B.C. public service as an investigator with the Office of the Ombudsperson and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, the province says.
“These roles shaped his expertise on multi-party dispute resolution, complex investigations and major public reporting with recommendations for systemic improvement,” reads the province’s press release.
Skinner’s appointment comes less than four months after ICBC launched their new enhanced care coverage for motorists, which the province claims will provide British Columbian motorists injured in a crash with more access to improved care and “recovery benefits” regardless of fault.