Legislation to ensure ICBC surpluses benefit drivers

THE Province announced on Monday that it is poised to introduce legislation that will prevent any B.C. government from directing ICBC to make payments to government from its excess optional insurance capital.

This will ensure that any future surpluses remain with ICBC to be used for the benefit of drivers.

“For many years, the old government treated ICBC like an ATM,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “It raided ICBC’s profits to the tune of $1.2 billion – seriously eroding ICBC’s financial stability and leading to higher premiums. With these proposed changes, in those years when ICBC does make a profit, those funds will now stay within ICBC so they can be used to make auto insurance rates more affordable, and for other ICBC programs and services that benefit drivers.”

The government will propose changes to the Insurance Corporation Act to prevent any future provincial government from using ICBC’s excess optional insurance capital to lower its own borrowing requirements while eroding ICBC’s financial position, as was done in the past.

Between 2009 and 2016, the previous government directed ICBC to make the following payments, totalling almost $1.2 billion, to the Province from ICBC’s excess optional capital:

* $576 million: 2009-10

* $101 million: 2010-11

* $237 million: 2013-14

* $139 million: 2014-15

* $138 million: 2015-16

“This legislation to keep ICBC surpluses out of government coffers is another step our government is taking to restore ICBC to a sustainable financial position so that insurance rates can stay affordable,” Eby said. “Drivers can have confidence in knowing that their auto-insurance premiums are going toward benefiting drivers.”

This proposed legislation will be introduced in the coming days. If passed, it will help ensure ICBC’s long-term financial stability. Upcoming legislation will also deliver the changes necessary to implement the new Enhanced Care coverage starting May 2021, so drivers can see their premiums decrease by 20% on average and have increased peace of mind knowing their medical and recovery benefits will take care of them for as long as they need, if they are injured in a crash, according to the Province.