(ICBC / Facebook)

ICBC will be sending $600 million in rebate cheques to drivers as part of a government pledge to return COVID-19 surpluses to the public.

Rebates are expected to average $190 and will be issued in roughly the beginning to middle of March 2021.

“ICBC is in a favourable financial position,” Premier John Horgan said at a press conference Tuesday.

“During the early days of COVID there were calls for a rebate or a refund to drivers as a result of reduced activities on our roadways, which led to fewer crashes, fewer claims, fewer injuries, and fewer costs to ICBC.”

The government says those lowered costs from April 1st to September 30th led to an estimated savings of $720 million, while written premium revenue was down $120 million, giving the rebate amount of $600 million.

Customers who held an active policy between April 1st and September 30th are eligible, with their rebate amount based on a portion of what they paid for coverage during that period.

Exceptions include customers with short-term, storage or distance-based policies, whose premiums already reflect lower usage.

The Basic insurance portion of the rebate is subject to approval by the BC Utilities Commission.

Cheques will automatically be mailed to the roughly 2.86 million customers who meet the criteria.

These rebates are separate from savings refunds ICBC is expected to issue as part of its move towards its new Enhanced Care coverage model.

ICBC says they are in a strong financial position to offer the rebate. CEO and President Nicolas Jimenez says that Q2 numbers are going to be made public soon which reflects that position.

“We’re now in a position where we feel more confident that releasing $600 million is the prudent and fair thing to do for our customers,” Jimenez said on Tuesday.

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