How many days are there in February?
It’s an easy enough question to answer – 28 most years, 29 during leap years – but software developers apparently forgot, leading to a bureaucratic headache and added insurance costs for at least one Abbotsford man.
Ken Poole went to a local ICBC broker on Nov. 27, seeking a quote to renew his car insurance for three more months. To his surprise, he was told he could not do so, because such a plan would expire on Feb. 29, 2018 — a day that doesn’t exist.
The broker called ICBC, he said, and was told it was a computer glitch with no easy solution.
“I got pretty frustrated, I stormed out,” Poole said.
He said he called ICBC himself the next day and was told essentially the same thing: “that the computer system does not operate properly.”
Poole was forced to buy three days worth of insurance to bridge him until the end of November, and plans to then buy his three-month plan on Dec. 1. He said the bridge plan costs less than $20 after tax but was a challenge for his strict budget.
“What bugs me is that when people budget, such as myself, on limited funds, we’re forced to go and take money from something else to pay for three days of insurance, so we can get three months in three days,” he said.
Poole blamed a new ICBC software program last year, which he believes unnecessarily replaced an adequate system.
“In my mind, another waste of taxpayers’ money by the [former Premier Christy] Clark government,” he said.
Poole was among a “very small number of customers” affected by the issue, according to ICBC spokesperson Lindsay Olsen. She said only those wishing to buy a three-month policy ending on the non-existent Feb. 29 were affected.
She did not provide an exact number of those affected provincewide.
Poole and others in the same boat were given two options, Olsen said: buy a longer policy or a three-day policy, followed by a three-month policy. Poole said his limited resources made affording more than three months of insurance impossible.
“These options were communicated to brokers but, given how few customers would be impacted by this, some brokers may have needed assistance,” she said. “We apologize to any customers who were inconvenienced but we feel the two options we put in place were good ones.”
Olsen said the glitch would be fixed within two weeks and the problem would not affect anyone else in the future.