Audit slams ICBC for ignoring internal vehicle sales scam

An independent investigation has concluded ICBC did not do enough to stop its own staff from selling written-off vehicles with documents that hid their crash history.

An independent investigation has concluded ICBC did not do enough to stop its own staff from selling written-off vehicles with documents that hid their crash history.

The report by auditors with PricewaterhouseCoopers found "there was a general lack of controls and conflicting policies and procedures regarding the appropriate vehicle designation and around employee purchase of vehicles repaired at the facility."

The external investigation also confirmed findings from the provincial auto insurer's own internal probe that employees were repairing their own personal vehicles at the Burnaby training and repair facility and that management was also involved in the questionable activities.

PricewaterhouseCoopers was contracted by ICBC to conduct the independent investigation into concerns that employees and managers at the centre were selling written-off vehicles which were repaired at the ICBC centre after they altered the documentation of the repair history.

The investigation concluded managers and staff changed the documentation on 96 written-off vehicles so that they could be sold for more than they were worth to the unsuspecting public in private sales.

ICBC interim president and CEO Geri Prior blamed a lack of proper policies, and the fact that operations managers who handled the intitial complaints about questionable activities at the facility were allegedly involved themselves.

"ICBC takes these findings very seriously," said Prior. "ICBC has been proactive and up-front about this investigation from the beginning and we are committed to making things right for our customers"

But Prior refused to say if anyone at ICBC was disciplined for their role in the incident, saying only an undisclosed number of individuals were no longer working for the corporation.

Complaints went ignored for years

According to ICBC documents, complaints were raised in 2006 and 2007 before ICBC began its own investigation in January 2008.

That investigation also revealed that employees and managers at the Burnaby facility purchased 22 vehicles in auctions allegedly rigged to guarantee they would have the winning bid.

New Democrat MLA Mike Farnworth said what was most disturbing about the finding was that actions weren't taken by management when the issue first arose.

"When concerns are raised and nothing is done about it, I think that that shows a complete lack of control, a complete lack of accountability… That's your job, to take these issues seriously when they're raised," said Farnworth.

Farnworth said he's looking forward to the release of the RCMP's investigation, which was launched in April.

ICBC said it had take a number of actions to prevent reoccurrences since announcing its own investigation in February:

  • The research and training facility no longer repairs vehicles for sale.
  • Employees and members of their immediate family are not permitted to purchase any ICBC salvage, either directly or indirectly through a friend, acquaintance, family member or other proxy.
  • The repair of personal vehicles at the facility is not permitted under any circumstance.
  • Updating policies and procedures to make sure all vehicles are designated properly.

The former CEO of ICBC, Paul Taylor, quit in April after the scandal was revealed.