ICBC is reducing optional insurance rates by three per cent and likely freezing basic rates in 2009.
The announcement comes despite a 23 per cent drop in ICBC’s net income to $497 million in 2008, a loss that was offset by gains elsewhere. The insurance corporation said that a moderation in claims and conservative investing were key factors allowing it to lower drivers’ premiums.
ICBC’s investment strategy yielded returns of more than one per cent last year at a time when other companies experienced losses.
Jon Schubert, ICBC’s president and CEO, said the announcement is based on preliminary calculations.
“We are working on the final recommendation on basic rates for the British Columbia Utilities Commission,” Schubert said in a release Tuesday. “Our strong financial position allows us to both reduce rates and contribute more to our retained earnings, which will continue to cushion customers’ rates during these volatile economic times.”