(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

An air cadet and RCMP officer stand guard over Quesnel’s Cenotaph during the 2019 Remembrance Day ceremonies. The COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled all public memorial ceremonies set for Nov. 11. (File Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel Remembrance Day ceremonies on hold for 2020

There will be no public event, but residents are encouraged to observe two minutes of silence

Cariboo Regional District Area A Director Mary Sjostrom, School District 28 board chair Dave Chapman and Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson plant ceremonial shovels into the ground at what will become Quesnel’s newest school during a ceremony Tuesday, Oct. 20. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Construction begins on new Quesnel Junior School

A groundbreaking ceremony was held to kick off the two-year project

B.C. Conservative Leader Trevor Bolin and Cariboo North candidate Kyle Townsend were practising proper physical distancing during a campaign stop in Quesnel on Saturday, Oct. 17. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Bolin first party leader to visit Quesnel

The B.C. Conservative Pary’s leader made the stop to support Kyle Townsend

Seasons House provides shelter and services to people in Quesnel who are experiencing homelessness, and they’ll be able to do a little more in November once a toque and toiletry drive organized by the Quesnel Women’s Resource Centre wraps up. (File Photo)
Quesnel toque and toiletry drive runs until Oct. 30

The Quesnel Women’s Resource Centre is collecting items for Seasons House

Workers from the Quesnel Child and Youth Support Society prepare Christmas hampers in 2019. The society was one of seven recipients of funding in the first round of the Emergency Community Support Fund. The Quesnel Community Foundation is now accepting donations for the second round of funding and is urging local groups to apply before Oct. 30. (Facebook)
Quesnel Community Foundation urges area groups to apply for COVID-19 relief funding

The deadline to apply for Round 2 of the Emergency Community Support Fund is Oct. 30

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

Most Read