ICBC to issue second COVID-19 rebate next month

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ICBC will issue a second COVID-19 rebate next month in recognition of lower claims costs due to fewer crashes during the pandemic.

Rebates will average $120 per policy — ICBC will return approximately $350 million in additional rebates to 2.94 million customers. This builds on the first COVID-19 rebate of $600 million for a total of $950 million.

“We’ve been clear that any pandemic related savings against ICBC’s bottom line will benefit customers,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general. “The good news is that ICBC is in a strong financial position to issue a second COVID-19 rebate to customers, putting more money back in the pockets of B.C. drivers.”

Most customers who had an active auto insurance policy from Oct. 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, will be eligible for the rebate. 

Rebate amounts will vary between customers, depending on whether they had a vehicle insured for the full six months and how much they paid in premiums. Roughly 70 per cent of customers will get a rebate between $60– $200.

Exceptions include customers with short-term, storage or distance-based policies, whose premiums already reflect lower usage. The rebate is approximately 11 per cent of the premium customers paid for coverage during this six month period.

ICBC issued the first rebates by cheques mailed to customers. This time it will be distributed based partly on how customers paid for their insurance policy.

Customers who used a credit card will have their rebate returned to the card they used. Customers who paid by cash, debit or Autoplan payment plan will be mailed a cheque to the latest address on file with ICBC.

“The past year and a half has been tough on all British Columbians, but they’ve been doing the right thing — including staying closer to home and driving less because of the pandemic,” said Nicolas Jimenez, president and CEO of ICBC. “Due to lower claims, we’re in a position to support our customers and bring them some extra relief, and that’s just what we’re going to do.”

ICBC received about 20 per cent fewer crash claims than expected between Oct. 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, but also saw a reduction in premium revenue as customers made changes to their insurance policies, held off on getting new ones or cancelled them.

The estimated impact of fewer claims is $450 million, while written premium revenue is down $100 million compared to what would normally be received for the period, resulting in net underwriting savings of about $350 million, according to the province.

A customer with several vehicles fully insured with ICBC basic and optional insurance may see a higher value COVID-19 rebate, while a customer who has a vehicle with only basic ICBC coverage or a vehicle that was insured for a portion of the six month period would see a lower value rebate. A customer who insured a recreational vehicle for one month may see a very low-value COVID-19 rebate of just one or two dollars, the province said.

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