ICBC’s investments are doing so well that the government-run auto insurer wants to give its customers a break on insurance rates.
The Insurance Corporation of B.C. asked the B.C. Utilities Commission on Monday for permission to reduce basic auto insurance rates by 1.9 per cent.
BCUC is responsible for regulating basic drivers’ insurance rates in B.C.
The number of claims ICBC has had to pay out is down, but the average cost of claims has risen — especially in the area of bodily injuries suffered in car crashes, which gets more expensive every year.
ICBC showed a net profit of $563 million for 2009, up from its $497-million profit a year earlier, spokesman Adam Grossman told The Province.
While ICBC president Jon Schubert thanked the province’s motorists for “their smart driving that has helped us control our claims costs and apply for this rate reduction,” the company’s annual report shows its investments accounted for nearly all of the 2009 profit.
Of its $563-million profit last year, ICBC investment income made $532 million.
The report credits “the recovery in the capital markets [and] maintaining stable income from [ICBC’s] conservative fixed-income portfolio” for the windfall.
Mike Farnworth, the New Democrats’ ICBC critic, linked ICBC’s request for lower premiums to what he called the Liberals’ “guilty conscience” over transferring $778 million of ICBC profits into the government’s general revenue in the March budget.
“They’re taking $778 million out [of ICBC’s profits] and giving $39 million back.”
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