In recognition of the fact Canadian’s are driving less and claims are down during the COVID-19 pandemic, private insurers across the country have returned an average of approximately $280 per driver in auto insurance premium relief, as of June 30, 2020.
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) recently conducted a survey of members and found that the industry had already returned more than $775 million to auto insurance customers. These numbers are expected to grow as the pandemic continues and IBC members continue to provide relief to customers.
The story is different in British Columbia, where the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has not provided meaningful relief to its customers whose driving habits have changed or who are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
“ICBC has realized significant savings due to reduced claims and a drop in collisions, but has turned its back on drivers in the province by refusing to provide financial relief to British Columbians,” said Aaron Sutherland, vice-president, Pacific, IBC. “In stark contrast, private insurers across Canada have taken steps to make life easier for their customers during this crisis. It is yet the latest example of the need to end ICBC’s monopoly, and give British Columbians a choice when it comes to car insurance.”
In May, ICBC announced that the only consumer relief it will provide would be the elimination of fees associated with cancelling insurance ($30) and allowing drivers to use their car differently (for example, to make deliveries for work) without it affecting their premiums. Private insurers put similar measures in place long before this, and they have gone even further with relief measures that include:
- automatic premium adjustment payments and rebate cheques,
- new “stay at home” amendments, and,
- encouraging customers to call their insurer to change their driving usage and coverage levels.
In addition to adjusting premiums for drivers, private insurers have also committed to the following measures to help Canadians, which have been in effect for the past three months:
- Explore flexible payment options for consumers who are in a vulnerable position or facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19;
- Waive the NSF fees they would have charged if you have insufficient funds to cover your premium. You remain responsible for any fees your bank may charge you.
British Columbians pay more for auto insurance than anyone else in the country. Minister Daivd Eby suggested recently that “it’s been a difficult time for British Columbians to remember why we have a public insurer”. With ICBC refusing to support drivers in any meaningful way during this crisis, we couldn’t agree more.
About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.