Midnight tomorrow (Saturday) marks the start of a new era for ICBC, as it switches to its new care-based model called Enhanced Care coverage.

The corporation says Enhanced Care is a redesigned approach to auto insurance. It says it brings “historic savings” for auto insurance premiums, significantly improved care, and wage-loss benefits for people injured in crashes.

Customers who buy full basic and optional insurance from ICBC for a policy effective on or after May 1st will save 20 per cent on average, it says, compared with last year’s premiums.

And because ICBC customers are able to renew their insurance 45 days before their expiry date, it says thousands have already renewed under Enhanced Care, with average savings of more than $400.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says millions of people will be able to “breathe easier” – both at renewal time and if they’re injured in a crash – thanks to Enhanced Care.

“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,” he explains.

Autoplan brokers throughout B.C. have been trained on all Enhanced Care coverage changes, ICBC notes.

It says many customers are also eligible to receive a one-time refund based on the portion of their current policy that extends past May 1st. These Enhanced Care refunds will be issued starting later in May.

ICBC president and CEO Nicolas Jimenez adds: “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. 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.”