ICBC customers will receive one-time rebates averaging $190 this spring – their part of $600 million that was saved due to a major decrease in crashes and costs as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
“Our work to make life more affordable for British Columbians includes fulfilling our commitment to take earnings at ICBC that are related to the pandemic and give that money back to people,” said Premier John Horgan, in a news release. “Those cheques will be in the mail soon.”
Since the beginning of the 2020-21 fiscal year, ICBC has had fewer reported collisions and lower claim costs, resulting in higher-than-expected income. That gain was partly offset by lower premium revenue due to lapsed and cancelled insurance policies.
“As people’s driving behaviours changed during the pandemic, including staying close to home and off the roads, ICBC’s savings grew,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “After assessing the full benefit of pandemic-related savings against ICBC’s bottom line, we are now set to deliver a significant rebate to millions of B.C. drivers.”
Most customers who had an active policy from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2020, will be eligible, with their rebate amount based on a portion of what they paid for coverage during that period. Exceptions include customers with short-term, storage or distance-based policies, whose premiums already reflect lower usage. The Basic insurance portion of the rebate is subject to approval by the BC Utilities Commission.
“Our top priorities during the pandemic have been, first, the health and safety of our customers, employees and business partners – and second, making insurance more affordable,” said Nicolas Jimenez, president and CEO, ICBC. “It’s the choices that our customers made during an unprecedented time that helped our bottom line, and the vast majority of them will now share in that success, through one of the largest COVID-19 rebates by any insurer in Canada.”
ICBC will begin mailing rebate cheques in mid-March 2021. This one-time rebate is separate from the Enhanced Care refunds customers will start to receive in May 2021.
With the product reform made in 2019 and savings from fewer crashes, ICBC is in a strong financial position to issue the COVID-19 rebate in addition to providing customers with lower auto insurance rates through Enhanced Care starting in May 2021.