After ICBC announced last week that it was taking “further steps to reduce financial burden for drivers” during the pandemic, the insurance corporation announced on Thursday that the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) granted interim approval for ICBC to officially put the temporary measures into place.
The BCUC said the approval came about following an “expedited virtual oral hearing” on relief for basic automobile insurance policyholders.
The application submitted by ICBC requested BCUC approval by April 23, 2020 to implement the following measures:
- Waive cancellation charges on non-fleet owner’s certificates
- Permit fleet customers to suspend their Basic insurance and obtain a refund without the need to cancel their Basic insurance
- Permit customers currently insured in certain Rate Classes to temporarily use their vehicles for delivering food and medical products during the pandemic without charging additional premiums or changing rate classes.
In a release, the BCUC said it accelerated its review of the application submitted by ICBC and granted interim approval of ICBC’s requests for a 60-day period, effective April 23, 2020 to June 21, 2020. After this time period, the BCUC said ICBC may apply again for an extension.
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As part of these temporary measures, customers who reinsure on May 30 or thereafter will be able to re-use their plate. Customers reinsuring prior to that date will be issued a new plate at no charge and at that time are expected to surrender their plate. ICBC said it will also allow fleet vehicle customers to suspend their insurance to help them save money during this difficult time.
For drivers with learner licences that expire during the pandemic, no fee will be required for their first knowledge test, once testing resumes.
ICBC also confirmed that customers will be able to use their vehicles for the delivery of food or medical products and services, without changing their insurance (vehicle use) or paying a higher premium. This includes people volunteering to help deliver groceries or other essential supplies to seniors and other people in need.
“We know many British Columbians are facing financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ICBC President and CEO Nicolas Jimenez. “Businesses are also having to adapt to the situation, with many companies changing their business model to offer delivery services so people can access the food and medical products they need while physical distancing.”
As such, Jimenez said ICBC “is responding to these needs and taking action to ease the burden for everyone during this difficult time.”