ICBC applies to regulator for two-year rate freeze on basic auto insurance

Written By The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — Premier David Eby says the provincial auto insurer is applying for a two-year rate freeze on basic auto insurance to help alleviate some of the high cost-of-living pressures on British Columbians. 

He says if the application by the Insurance Corporation of B.C. is approved by the provincial utilities commission, it will mark five years with no increases for the basic rates. 

The announcement comes as ICBC reported $117 million in net income for the first half of the 2022-23 fiscal year, alongside lower investment income and a significant decline in value for the insurer’s equity investments by the fall. 

In a financial update released in September, ICBC says that like other insurers, it depends on an investment portfolio to offset claim costs and reduce premiums and it acknowledged that market volatility could cause further losses. 

ICBC president Nicolas Jimenez told the news conference that while the corporation’s investment portfolio has seen recent declines, the core of the business is doing well and the rates reflect anticipated future performance. 

In support of the application, the government also says in a statement it’s directing the B.C. Utilities Commission to ensure ICBC builds sufficient capital reserves.

“When we’re projecting rates, we’re looking forward not back,” Jimenez said. 

“We are projecting a future that’s not rosy, that accounts for the fact that there is a lot of volatility. But we are very prudent, very cautious — we always have been — and this filing will lay bear essentially that conservatism and caution, which is again allowing us to do what we’re doing around rates for the next two years.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2022.

The Canadian Press