Pandemic Pandemonium: ICBC says financial plan in disorder amid COVID-19

Victoria, British Columbia ⁠— The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) says the pandemic has thrown its budget projections into disarray.

Attorney General David Eby and ICBC CEO Nicolas Jimenez said on Thursday that a decrease in collision claims has resulted in $158 million in savings, but the public insurer has also generated hundreds of millions less in revenue from fees and insurance premiums.

Eby did say that, as the province slowly moves toward reopening its economy, it has seen a slow increase in collision claims, though it’s still too soon to predict how the next few months will play out.

“We simply don’t know how the year will end,” Eby said. “It could be terrible or there could be a surplus.” 

According to a report released by ICBC, the corporation’s COVID-19 impact includes:

  • A 46 percent reduction in accident claims compared to this time last year, resulting in about $158 million in savings
  • More than 150,000 customers reducing or cancelling insurance, resulting in a $283 million decline in revenues
  • A potential loss of more than $1 billion from ICBC’s investment portfolio, which it uses to offset premiums

Eby also “there are no savings to cushion the potential impacts.” 

The province is reserving any decisions about premium changes or rebates until the end of the year, according to Eby, though ICBC has temporarily waived some fees amid the pandemic. For instance, drivers who choose to suspend their insurance won’t have to pay the usual $30 cancellation and $18 re-plating fees.

Click here to read ICBC’s full report. 

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