ICBC sending out second COVID-related rebate to B.C. drivers

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      The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has announced that it is readying rebate cheques to be sent out to policyholders as a result of lower claim levels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

      In a June 11 release from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, the province's auto insurer said the cheques, averaging about $120 per policy, will be in the mail starting mid-July.

      The rebate to about 2.94 million customers, the second such refund from the provincial Crown Corporation, reflects the amount saved by 20 percent fewer crashes from October 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, approximately $450 million.

      (Those who sign up for direct deposit by June 31 will have the rebate credited to their accounts, and those who paid by credit card will have the rebate returned to the same card. All others will receive a cheque.)

      With about a $100-million reduction in premiums revenue received by ICBC during that period because of changed, delayed, or dropped policies, the rebate total comes out to $350 million.

      "We've been clear that any pandemic-related savings against ICBC's bottom line will benefit customers," Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said in the release. "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."

      The rebate comes out to about 11 percent of what most policyholders paid in premiums during that six-month period. The amounts will vary between ICBC customers, but the insurer said that about 70 percent of its policyholders will get a rebate ranging from $60 to $200.

      Nicolas Jimenez, president and CEO of ICBC, said in the bulletin that the rebates are a reward for British Columbians who did the "right thing" during the pandemic. "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," Jimenez said. "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."