The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is calling out the British Columbia government for withholding auto insurance premium rebates from customers of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
“Drivers in other parts of Canada already got about $280 back in rebates from their auto insurance providers months ago and ICBC is giving us nothing,” said CTF BC director Kris Sims. “ICBC is talking about rebates, but its annual report shows it’s pocketing savings from the shutdown while it’s pointing to rebates connected to the shift to no-fault insurance.”
CTF’s statements come after the Insurance Bureau of Canada also criticized ICBC for contributing to the indirect rise in taxes for BC residents.
ICBC had previously hinted at offering a rebate program by the end of the fiscal year – which is around April 30, 2021. BC Attorney General David Eby explained in a statement that the delay allows some breathing room for ICBC due to its precarious financial situation.
However, that rebate money will not be coming from the savings ICBC saw during the COVID-19 pandemic; the rebate will be coming from the money that drivers are currently being overcharged for third-party liability coverage as ICBC transitions into a no-fault insurance model, CTF argues.
“We are not getting any of our COVID-19 lockdown money back from ICBC,” Sims told CKPG Today. “We might get rebates next year, but it’s the money we are being overcharged before no-fault kicks in.”
ICBC recently posted that it had a year-to-date deficit of $360 million as of March 31, 2020.
Sims argued that the BC government is trying to “extinguish ICBC’s fiscal dumpster fire” by using the money taken from BC drivers that should have been returned to them during the lockdown.
“It’s banking on a global pandemic and an economic lockdown to balance the books and that’s unacceptable,” the director said.