ICBC to mail out $38 million in refunds for overcharges

Management knew of errors on auto insurance rates since 2009, hid problem from board: Auditors

ICBC is preparing to mail out 309,000 refund cheques ranging from $1 to $350 to optional auto insurance customers it overcharged since 2008.

Wrong rates were used because of incorrect descriptions assigned years ago to many vehicles that are only now being fixed.

The average customer who overpaid all six years will get a refund of around $108, ICBC spokesman Adam Grossman said. The cheques will begin to go out around Aug. 20.

The average overpayment was $18 per year.

The refunds plus interest being paid total nearly $38 million.

Nearly 370,000 other motorists were undercharged because of the glitches.

ICBC won’t go after them for the $53 million in lost revenue.

The faulty vehicle descriptions affected only optional insurance, not basic rates.

The refunds were calculated as part of two independent external reviews that checked millions of insurance transactions over the past six years.

Auditors who examined ICBC’s handling of the issue concluded ICBC knew the problem was systemic as early as 2009 but management hid it from ICBC’s board of directors until mid-2013.

Various fixes were contemplated but discarded, according to the auditors’ report.

ICBC managers feared a solution might harm its relationship with brokers and that disclosure of inaccurate pricing would hurt ICBC’s business position against optional insurance competitors.

The corporation ultimately opted to fix the errors and issue refunds as part of its sweeping $400-million technology upgrade program.

The long-running overcharges were finally made public in April by Transportation Minister Todd Stone – only after he was directly questioned by the media.

ICBC’s board had intended to wait until it had a refund strategy ready to roll out.

Customers renewing their auto insurance since July have been required to update their vehicle’s descriptions, Grossman said.

The error isn’t expected to recur because ICBC’s modernized system will pull the correct description from the vehicle identification numbers, instead of being entered manually by Autoplan agents.

Just Posted

Kootenay Lake ferry to shut down Saturday afternoon

Service to resume Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m.

PHOTOS: Nelson climate strike packs downtown to demand action

An inter-generational crowd staged a ‘die-in’ as part of the global strike Friday

Service is status quo at Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue

Lengthy review of the regional fire department is now complete

Kootenay-Columbia incumbent MP responds to Trudeau brownface scandal

Stetski proud of NDP leader Singh’s reaction, which focused on people not power

Mystery illness killing Kootenay bees

Samples being sent to laboratories for analysis

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Most Read