Most ICBC customers will receive a one-time rebate averaging about $190 this spring, coming from $600-milion in savings the insurance agency saw throughout the year.
The provincial government said the savings come from a major decline in crashes and costs as the COVID-19 pandemic spread through the province.
“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. “Those cheques will be in the mail soon.”
According to the province, ICBC has had fewer reported collisions and lower claim costs, resulting in higher-than-expected income through the 2020-21 fiscal year. It added that the gain was partially offset by lower premium revenue from lapsed and canceled 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.”
The B.C. Government said the rebates will be eligible to most customers who had an active insurance policy from April 1 to September 30, 2020, with their rebate amount based on a portion of what they paid for coverage during that period.
However, exceptions include those with short-term, storage or distance-based policies, whose premiums already reflect lower usage.
“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.”
Cheques to those eligible will be sent out in mid-March. This program is separate from the Enhanced Care refunds customers will start to receive in May.