Saturday, May 1st marks a new era for ICBC, as the company launches its Enhanced Care coverage which will offer better care and savings for customers.

The B.C. Government said the Enhanced Care model is a redesigned approach to auto insurance that aims to bring savings on premiums, significantly improved care, and recovery and wage-loss benefits for people injured in accidents.

“Under Enhanced Care, millions of people will breathe easier – both at renewal time and if they’re injured in a crash,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “This is the culmination of significant work by government and ICBC, in consultation with a wide spectrum of stakeholders and experts, to secure a sustainable, affordable and care-centered future for public auto insurance in British Columbia.”

ICBC customers who buy fill basic and optional insurance for a policy effective on or after May 1st will save an average of 20% on their premiums compared to last year. Since customers are able to renew their policy 45 days before they expire, many people have already renewed under Enhanced care, which will save an average of more than $400.

“Delivering more affordable auto insurance has been a core principle of these changes from Day 1 and British Columbians are now starting to see the results of that commitment,” said Nicolas Jimenez, president and CEO of ICBC. “Some customers have already renewed under Enhanced Care, or benefited from a significant decrease in the costs of our optional third-party liability coverage earlier this year.”

The B.C. Government said insurance brokers have already been trained on the new model and will be able to help customers understand the Enhanced Care coverage.

Many ICBC customers will also be eligible to receive a one-time refund based on the portion of their current policy that extends past May 1st. B.C. said the refunds will be sent out starting later in May.

The new model will also focus on delivering better care to those injured in a crash, whether they are a driver, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian. After Saturday, accident victims will have access to a full spectrum of care, counseling and financial supports related to their needs and those of their dependants.

“Our team of recovery specialists is ready and feeling positive about being able to provide better care benefits and support to any British Columbian who is injured in a crash,” said Nathan Acker, operations manager, recovery and benefit services at ICBC. “As someone who comes from a clinical and health-care background, I know how important these changes are and how these benefits will assist our customers in achieving their recovery outcomes, regardless of whether they were responsible for the crash or not.”

B.C. said the Enhanced Care model is based on consultations done last year with health-care providers, disability advocates and other stakeholders.

“ICBC has also consulted with people with lived experience who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents and accessed supports under the current system,” said Jane Dyson, former executive director of Disability Alliance BC. “ICBC listened carefully and made important changes to the insurance model because of this feedback. I feel confident Enhanced Care will provide significantly improved benefits and supports to people injured in motor vehicle accidents.”

Enhanced Care will come into effect at midnight on May 1st.