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Thousands of motorists being mailed refund cheques after ICBC mix-up

ICBC says 441,000 letters are being sent to customers whose vehicles were mis-labeled, with refunds being sent to those who overpaid. Drivers who underpaid will not be asked to reimburse the corporation.

Darryl Dyck/The Globe and Mail

Four months after B.C.'s public auto insurer identified a multimillion-dollar billing error, cheques are being mailed to customers reimbursing them for the mix-up.

The Insurance Corporation of B.C. announced in April that some of its optional insurance customers had been assigned an incorrect vehicle description for as much as six years, meaning their insurance premiums were higher or, in some cases, lower than they should have been.

ICBC says 441,000 letters are being sent to customers, with refunds being sent to those who overpaid, while drivers who underpaid will not be asked to reimburse the corporation.

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According to a release from ICBC, the average refund amounts to about $18 per year.

When the problem was identified earlier this year, ICBC estimated refunds would cost the corporation $36-million, plus an additional $3-million in interest, while it says the six-year-long error cost the corporation as much as $71-million.

ICBC says new computer software will prevent future premium errors because the program automatically identifies and updates a vehicle's description using the vehicle identification number provided by the manufacturer.

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