ICBC reports positive financial results



    Encouraging trends on claims counters negative economic effects

    VANCOUVER, May 22 /CNW/ - ICBC reported strong financial results for the
first three months of 2009, despite the ongoing challenges posed by the
economic downturn.
    Net income for the first quarter of 2009 was $117 million, up from $102
million for the same period in 2008.
    "We are pleased with our financial results given the tough economic times
we are all experiencing," said Jon Schubert, ICBC's President and CEO. "In
particular, the continuing decline in the number and cost of injury claims is
good news for our customers. Good weather and improved claims-handling
procedures have benefited our customers and had a positive impact on our net
income."
    Claims and related costs for the first quarter of 2009 were down to $735
million from $761 million for the same period in 2008. ICBC's customers
continue to do their part to contribute towards this decline in claims costs
and to keep rates low and stable by driving safely, while a moderation in the
number of vehicles on the road has also played a role.
    The impact of the economic downturn is evident at ICBC, resulting in
lower premiums of $843 million from January to March, 2009, compared to $860
million from the first quarter of 2008. The slowdown in premiums written will
likely have a greater impact on ICBC's financial results going forward
throughout the year.
    ICBC's investment income for the first quarter of 2009 was $123 million,
relatively flat compared to the same period in 2008. The corporation's
conservative and long-term investment strategy - with the majority of its
portfolio invested in high-quality bonds - continues to position us well for
the future.
    ICBC also continues to be an industry leader with low operating costs,
which are consistent with Q1 2008 despite the challenging economic times.
Similar to previous years, approximately just four cents of every premium
dollar will be used for administrative costs to operate its insurance business
in 2009.
    "Our strong performance in these tough times is benefiting our
customers," said Schubert. "Our financial strength is allowing us to reduce
optional rates for 2009 by an average of three percent effective October 1,
2009. Preliminary indications are that basic rates will remain the same for
this year."

    
    Note: ICBC's Statement of Operations for the three months ending
    March 31, 2009, accompanies this news release and is available at:
http://www.icbc.com/about%20ICBC/news_room/2009news_releases/may_09#4image
    




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For further information: Media contacts: Mark Jan Vrem, (604) 982-2476

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INSURANCE CORPORATION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

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