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Opinion: Burnaby drivers feeling betrayed about 'tiny' ICBC rebates

The premier made a big deal out of the rebates, but many drivers aren't getting much back
icbc rebate
This Burnaby driver got just $26 back from ICBC.

People have been waiting in eager anticipation for their juicy ICBC rebate cheques – especially after Premier John Horgan called the one-time rebate cheques are "the largest single give-back to policy holders in Canada through COVID-19."

I mean, the premier made a really huge deal out of this.

Well, not everyone is getting the enormity of these rebates.

Like a Burnaby driver named Christopher who tweeted out – with great sarcasm - that he got his ICBC rebate for just 26 smackeroos.

See the photo above. That’s a bit of a letdown.

My partner got her cheque in the mail and it wasn't much more - she's wondering what the point it of hyping something that is really very little money for many drivers. She called it "tiny."

Then there was the Coquitlam woman who got an ICBC cheque for only $1.

“I was in disbelief and I thought: ‘this has got to be some kind of mistake or joke,’” said Shari O’Neill, whose post of a photo of the cheque went viral on social media.

The cheque is one of the first batch being mailed out by ICBC after a cyber attack hit the third-party cheque vendor, stalling the initiative. 

O’Neill had two cars insured during the qualifying period of April 1 to Sept. 30, a 1994 Toyota Tacoma and a 2017 GMC Yukon, and paid about $200 a month each for the two vehicles, with a 43% discount.

She expected to receive at least $200 back for the two cars after the B.C. government said cheques would range from $25 to $400 when the rebate plan was announced in February.

O’Neill said sending the cheque for $1 was a waste of time and money and it would have made more sense if the government just credited the amount on people’s insurance for the following year instead of mailing out cheques to people in amounts so small as to be useless.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, who is the minister responsible for ICBC and a Port Coquitlam MLA, said in February the rebates were the result of balancing lower claims costs during the pandemic with other considerations, such as lower premium revenues.

"The vast majority of people who insured their vehicles in the early months of the pandemic will see on average a rebate of $190," he said at the time.

On its website, ICBC stated that it has begun mailing COVID-19 rebate cheques in small batches directly to eligible customers and continues to work on options to send out more cheques in the coming weeks.

ICBC estimates that 0.2% of cheques will have a value of $1.

Don’t spent it all in one place.

  • With files from Diane Strandberg, Tri-City News