The B.C. government is expected to announce a long-awaited COVID-19 rebate for ICBC drivers on Tuesday.
Global News has learned Premier John Horgan, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, and ICBC CEO Nicolas Jimenez will be unveiling the benefit for drivers Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.
Until now, British Columbia has been the only jurisdiction in the country where drivers did not get a COVID-19-related rebate.
The government will provide details on Tuesday on how much the rebate will be and when drivers should expect to receive it. Insurance companies around the world have seen a reduction in risk due to a decrease in drivers on the road.
Last week, Jimenez told reporters ICBC’s second quarter financial update showed $410 million in net income.
“We need to isolate what portion of the net income, which is higher than planned, is attributed to COVID,” Jimenez said then.
The insurer lost more than $2 billion from the start of 2018 to the end of 2019.
The province last provided numbers showing the impact of the pandemic directly on ICBC in May. At that time, the province was not ready to provide a rebate, even though crashes had been down substantially.
The public insurer’s finances have been described as incredibly volatile because of lower crash rates paired with a loss in investments and a large number of insurance cancellations. But many of those policy cancellations were re-purchased and the investments have largely bounced back.
Private insurance companies, which compete for the sale of optional insurance with ICBC, returned between 10 to 25 per cent of rates to drivers because of a decrease in risk and costs in insurance companies in the spring.
According to the May report released by the province, 103,700 British Columbians have cancelled their ICBC policies since the start of the pandemic. The province recently waived cancellation and re-plating fees.
Lowering the insurance rate class was also popular, with 57,561 ICBC customers doing that since the beginning of the pandemic.
In May, ICBC announced it had opened 46 per cent fewer claims compared to the same time last year, with an average weekly reduction of 7,200 claims. The drop amounted to approximately $158 million in savings at the time, according to the insurer.