ICBC cancellation fees waived, after a week of delay

ICBC cancellation fees waived, after a week of delay | Insurance Business

ICBC cancellation fees waived, after a week of delay

After nearly a week of waiting, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has received approval from the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) to waive insurance cancellation fees.

Ratepayers, however, had to continue to pay the cancellation fee until the change was officially

signed off late Wednesday. The change comes into effect today (Thursday).

The move comes after the ICBC announced plans to waive its $30 policy cancellation and $18 re-plating fees last week at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the onset of the outbreak, many British Columbians have seen a seismic shift in their car usage. The social-distancing and quarantine measures in place have prompted some drivers to cancel insurance on vehicles they are not driving during the pandemic. Others have chosen to switch to recreational insurance cover to cut costs as they no longer commute work.

Car repairs decline
Autobody shops have also started to feel the effects of this shift in driver behaviour. Some businesses have reported a decline in customers, although it is unclear if this is a result of a drop in crashes.

“We have seen a drop of 20% on cars coming in and people getting their cars repaired,” Penney Autobody estimator Daryll Co said in an interview with Global News. “Before we would have two weeks of reservations, now we take what we get.”

Data on how much impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on vehicle crashes, however, is still not available, making it difficult to link the two together as of now.

But ICBC, which does not normally release crash data publicly, is expected to present the report in coming weeks at the behest of Attorney General David Eby.

“Should there be a situation where ICBC is seeing significant surpluses as a result of reduced driving activity due to COVID, we would work with the Utilities Commission to make sure there is another set of eyes,” Eby said to Global News.

“We are seeing fewer crashes on the road. There is no question about that. But there are also negative financial impacts and releasing one factor in the absence of others would be misleading to British Columbians. Everyone will get the same information, at the same time.”

Unnecessary delay
But drivers should already be receiving money from the ICBC in the form of rebates, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), which represents private insurance companies.

IBC said that private insurance companies, which compete on the sale of optional insurance with ICBC, have returned between 10% and 25% of rates to drivers because of a decrease in risk and costs in insurance companies.

“At a time where you have every other insurer in the country finding ways to support their customers, you have seen nothing but delays after delays after delays,” IBC vice-president Aaron Sutherland told Global News.

“ICBC isn’t giving back money because they know they don’t have to. It’s another reason why we have to open up their monopoly.”