BC drivers to get $110 insurance rebate

Most British Columbia drivers will get a vehicle insurance rebate of $110 this year and basic renewal rates will remain frozen until at least March 2026.

The Crown-owned Insurance Corporation of BC is in good financial shape and in a position to offer rebates totalling $400 million, Premier David Eby said Wednesday at a news conference that began to the strain’s of AC/DC’s “Back In Black,” a reference to the corporation’s financial position.

“This will be the sixth year of zero per cent basic rate increases, no change to the basic rate,” he said. “This is the fourth rebate ICBC has been able to provide since the COVID-19 period, since the restructuring.”

BC drivers have saved about $2,000 in rebates and lower rates since 2017 when the New Democrats were elected and embarked on reforms to the debt-laden public insurer, said Eby.

“Despite zero per cent basic rate, despite four rebates now, ICBC continues to be in strong financial standing,” he said, more than six years after he referred to ICBC’s finances inherited from the previous government as a “dumpster fire.”

Strong investment and financial returns and the 2021 shift to the “enhanced care” model for providing health coverage for people involved in crashes has put the Crown corporation in a solid position to offer rebates, said David Wong, ICBC president and chief executive.

Preliminary financial results show ICBC will earn a net income of $1.5 billion this year, which includes the cost of the rebates, he said.

“As premier Eby had mentioned, our improved finances allow us to provide a $110 rebate to all eligible customers per policy, and on top of that we’re keeping basic rates stable for an additional year,” said Wong. “ICBC exists to provide affordable auto insurance to British Columbians.”

Eligible customers should receive their rebates between late May and July, he said.

Eby denied suggestions the ICBC rebates could be viewed as a pre-election perk to voters ahead of the fall campaign, saying the Crown corporation has been on an upward financial trend under the NDP.

“We’re six years in, we’re four rebates in and it’s still happening and ICBC is still building their capital,” he said.

The rebate will do little to lessen the impact of last month’s increase in the carbon price in BC, said Opposition BC United Leader Kevin Falcon.

“This is a pretty flagrant attempt to change the channel,” Falcon said. “People are going to see right through this rebate.”

The carbon price increase to $80 per tonne from $65 per tonne adds an extra 3.3 cents to each litre of gasoline, bringing total carbon charges to 17.6 cents per litre.

Mike Farnworth, the minister responsible for ICBC, said the rebate would have recipients “thunderstruck,” another reference to an AC/DC hit.