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BC Liberals call for pandemic insurance savings to be passed back to drivers

Last Updated Dec 29, 2020 at 1:11 pm PDT

ICBC claims centre sign (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 photo)

Car insurers in B.C. saved $913-million in 2020 as fewer people were on the roads at the peak of the pandemic

The BC Liberals say the province should make sure ICBC's pandemic-related savings are extended directly to drivers

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — For months this year at the peak of the pandemic, many of us hardly turned our cars on at all. This led to fewer crashes on the province’s roads in 2020, meaning big savings for ICBC.

According to a new report from HelloSafe, an online insurance comparison website, car insurers in B.C. saved $913-million in 2020.

Given ICBC provides the bulk of that coverage, the official opposition wants the province to step in and make sure some of those savings are passed on to drivers.

“They should have done it a long time ago,” says Mike Morris, the BC Liberal MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie, and the critic for ICBC issues.

“When you look right across North America, underwriters have been giving rebates on car insurance because of COVID for months now. ICBC has been talking about it and talking about it, and the government’s been talking about it, talking about it, and yet nothing’s been done yet. I’m not surprised there’s millions of dollars in savings there.”

And Morris points out people in his riding could really use some of that money right now given the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

“There’s lots of folks that are on the verge of insolvency, bankruptcy,” says Morris. “They’ve had a tough Christmas, they have a tough few months ahead of them as we get vaccine rolled out. At any time in their life — this is the time they could use something like that.”

RELATED: Province says proposed ICBC rate decrease is largest in 40 years

The NDP government has applied for a 20 percent reduction to rental insurance rates that should kick in by May, and that will lead to a pro-rated refund for those who had already signed up for insurance beyond that date. But that refund is not directly related to the cost savings ICBC saw during the pandemic.

NEWS 1130 understands the province is reviewing a number of rebate options prepared by ICBC, and will share more details in the new year.