A Vancouver neurosurgeon who crashed his Ferrari into a lamp post in 2012 is demanding British Columbia’s public auto insurer cover the full cost of repairs, citing an affront to his "sense of dignity” in a lawsuit over the estimated $982,000 bill.
Dr. Navraj Heran originally wrecked his rare Ferrari F40 in a 2012 collision. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) offered him $503,000 at the time, but he complained and an arbitrator ruled that the payout ought to be $696,000.
The luxury car ultimately had to be shipped to Toronto for repairs, bringing the ICBC payout up to a total of $790,000. The insurer has covered those costs but Heran says that still is not enough, and is now suing ICBC to cover what he says is the full cost of repairs: an estimated $982,000.
Heran said in his latest notice of civil claim against the agency that it was “unsettling and embarrassing” for him to have the Ferrari absent from his vehicle collection, “which he makes available for public display and appreciation.”
“The show absence of the vehicle is not a matter the plaintiff should have to repeatedly deal with on a public basis,” Heran’s notice of civil claim said.
A judge ruled that the “embarrassment” paragraph in Heran’s claim be struck from his notice of civil claim, calling it “frivolous.” However, the case remains unresolved as the court awaits additional financial estimates from Heran.
The ballooning price tag for Heran’s crash has sparked criticism in the province, where some say luxury car owners are not paying their fair share in insurance premiums. ICBC projects an estimated $1.3 billion operating loss this fiscal year, but critics say that loss could be eased by forcing high-end car owners to pay more each month.
The NDP provincial government has raised taxes on luxury vehicle sales, but not on insurance premiums.
“There should… be some sort of a relationship between the premium paid for these high (end) vehicles and the ones that we pay at a lower level,” Bruce Cran, of the Consumers’ Association of Canada, told CTV Vancouver.
An investigation by CTV Vancouver recently found that the insurance premium on a $700,000 Ferrari is approximately four times the premium paid for a $16,000 Honda Civic, despite the Ferrari being worth more than 40 times the value of the Honda.
B.C. Attorney General David Eby said he’s considering reforms on the current insurance model.
“We all, I think, have concerns about people who cost more to the system that they put in in premiums, and one of those groups is luxury car owners,” Eby told CTV Vancouver on Monday.
Heran declined to speak with CTV Vancouver about the case.
With files from CTV Vancouver