(Pixabay photo)

(Pixabay photo)

Questions raised over lack of driver rebate as ICBC reports $329.5M in pandemic savings

Attorney General David Eby says law now requires any surplus to benefit drivers

An association representing private insurers across the country is taking aim at ICBC, calling foul over a lack of rebates for B.C. drivers despite recently reported financial savings amid the ongoing pandemic.

Between April and June, when the pandemic forced people to stay indoors, businesses to shut down and employees to work from home, the Crown insurance corporation saw a 37 per cent reduction in claims compared to the same period in 2019, according to financial reports released earlier this week.

That amounts to roughly $329.5 million in financial savings in claim costs.

But despite the savings – within a corporation which has been dubbed by B.C.’s current Attorney General as a “dumpster fire” hemorrhaging millions of dollars – the province has not announced any intention to offer financial relief to drivers anytime soon.

In a statement Friday (Sept. 11), the Insurance Bureau of Canada said that ICBC’s refusal to return COVID-19 savings to its customers stands in stark contrast to private insurers, which across the country have returned an average of $280 per eligible driver.

“Rather than supporting British Columbians in their time of need, ICBC is balancing its books on the backs of drivers in this province,” said Aaron Sutherland, association vice-president.

ALSO READ: ICBC surpluses should be hands-off to politicians, David Eby says

“Just next door in Alberta, eligible drivers have received an average of $302 in premium relief in recognition of the fact that claims are down and consumers deserve a share of those savings.”

Earlier this week, the NDP government was called out by the B.C. Liberals over unrelated rebate cheques set to be in drivers’ pockets late next year – possibly falling in line with the next scheduled provincial election in October 2021.

That rebate, announced in months past, is part of the government’s shift to a no-fault auto insurance model which officials say will save the public insurance corporation in the years to come with drivers in B.C. seeing some of the lowest rates and best benefits in the country.

In a statement emailed to Black Press Media Friday afternoon, Attorney General David Eby said after billions of dollars in losses, the province is requiring ICBC to be fiscally prudent through the current year before issuing any rebates.

“If ICBC does end up with a surplus as a result of the pandemic, combined with money saving reforms we have already implemented, we have passed a law requiring that surplus must be used to benefit drivers,” he said. “It could be through a rebate, a capital build that helps keep future rates low, or some combination of the two.”

He also cautioned British Columbians to consider the source of the criticism.

“This private insurance industry lobby group that says they’ll do a good job on car insurance in our province by theoretically providing rebates is the same lobby group that is trying to explain to British Columbians why strata insurance rates in our fully private market are climbing by 30 per cent and more with no accountability.”

ALSO READ: ICBC begins catching up on thousands of road tests


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

ICBC

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Caleb Wykes, Jade Daniel and Alicia Dennis celebrate Australia Day at the Fernie Hotel and Pub. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
Fernie Hotel celebrates the land down under

Sausages sizzled and Vegemite was spread as The Fernie Hotel celebrated Australia Day on Jan. 26.

Teck today announced the development of a new centralized office building in Sparwood, B.C. File photo
What’s in a brand? Sparwood logo turns 10

The five-point star and branding has adorned the district’s properties since 2011

A Half-moon hairstreak butterfly. (Image courtesy of Calgary Zoo)
Parks Canada, Calgary Zoo work to conserve butterflies in Waterton Lakes

Parks Canada will contribute $289,000 over three years for the project

Freshies barista, Craig Stoner at the new cafe location. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Freshies settles into new space

The new locatiom on 2nd Ave gives the popular cafe more space

Castlegar Sculpturewalk 2020 – 10 Year Anniversary Sand Sculpture. (Submitted/CBT)
CBT arts and culture grant program now accepting applications

Apply through the Kootenay Columbia Cultural Alliance

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
5 big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19

‘What should be done to reduce the harms the next time a virus arises?’ Disease control experts answer

Most Read