Insurance is one of the most contentious issues that affects ALL riders.

It unifies us and it divides us all at the same time.

I think everyone can agree that insurance premiums for motorcycles are high, pretty much everywhere across this great country of ours.

In Saskatchewan, R.A.G.E. (Riders Against Government Exploitation) formed and in 6 short weeks they pushed back at the government insurance agency, SGI, causing a reversal of an 72% insurance increase to riders in 2013. Some classes of bikes were going to be hit with an increase as high as 400%!

The result of the unification in Saskatchewan by the riding community was a 15% increase and the creation of the Motorcycle Review Committee.

R.A.G.E has a seat at the table and is working with the Government of Saskatchewan's Insurance arm along with the general public to form the new rules that will govern insurance and hence your money and how it's spent.

The recommendations that are being put forth for public input are:
1. Motorcycle Graduated Driver Licensing (MGDL).
2. Protective clothing for all motorcycle riders and passengers.
3. Motorcycle inspections.
4. Rates, penalties and discounts for all drivers.
5. Motorcycle rates and rate groupings.
6. Injury, scarring and death benefit options for motorcyclists.

The report is quite in-depth and there are many, many topics covered. I urge you to read it.

The following is from the report:
Under Section 5:

SGI recently completed a pilot to gather information about use of telematics on motorcycles. There is no company using telematics today to set insurance rates for motorcycles. If telematics can be successfully used on motorcycles, it could allow motorcycle rates to be based on how an individual actually operates their motorcycle, meaning lower rates for those who drive safely and higher rates for those who are riskier drivers.
There is more detail about the telematics pilot on SGI’s website.

Information from the pilot shows that use of telematics for motorcycles has merits, particularly for new riders. SGI will undertake more stakeholder and public consultation before deciding whether to use it to set motorcycle insurance rates. However, this year’s consultation was an opportunity to gather some public input on the concept, and participants were asked for their thoughts on it.

Most participants were wary of telematics (46.3% of responses) or felt they didn’t have enough information to give an opinion (30.9%).
Some (22%) supported the concept.

While all members received strong push back from the groups they represent on this item, the Motorcycle Review Committee received a detailed presentation on telematics and how it might be used to set motorcycle rates, and they supported gathering more information and exploring the possibility.

Telematics - what is it?

Usage based insurance - what it is and what does it mean?

Currently there are three kinds of usage based insurance:
Pay as you drive - mileage based
Pay how you drive - behaviour based
Manage how you drive - which is a combination of Pay as you drive and Pay how you drive but with active feedback. (Telematics)

In the first two scenarios - generally you are given a rebate if you drive less than you originally thought you would and you get no tickets etc...

In the third scenario - the Manage How you Drive, you are billed monthly and your bill looks like that of a cell phone bill.

Here is the presentation video given in Saskatchewan by Paul-AndrĂ© Savoie, President and CEO Baseline Telematics - this program is currently being used in Quebec:

For these who don't want to take the 47 minutes to watch the entire video, I will attempt to give you the highlights of what I learned by watching it, but I really encourage you to take the time to watch the video because there is just so much to learn and so many questions raised by this kind of technology.

In the example given by Mr. Savoie, a rider who has a Telematics device installed on their machine will be able to log in to the insurance website and see a Google Earth map that will show you every time you were speeding, by how much over the limit you were going, every hard breaking situation you were in, every cornering situation and any fast acceleration situations. You will see graphs etc and what your detailed bill looks like.

You can also compare how you ride/drive to others in the system.

In this system - over and above a flat monthly fee for fire, theft, etc. you are charged for every kilometre you ride/drive up to 2,000 KMS per month at 1.01 cents per kilometre. (that was one example, another was 2.5 cents per kilometre). According to Mr. Savoie very seldom does anyone go more than 2,000 KMS from home hence why that is the limit and the rest of the month you ride for free as far as the mileage charge goes.

You are charged for speeding based on how many times you speed - up to as high 80% surcharge.

There is a $10 charge for every time you excessively speed (60KPH is the threshold for triggering an extreme speed penalty and that is ON TOP OF THE SURCHARGE.

In all, if you speed lots, have lots of quick accelerations, and too many hard stops you can see your insurance for the month double.

You can also be rewarded with up to 25% discount if you drive well and stay within all limits.

An email goes out every week to the driver/rider so there are no surprises regarding the insurance.

The device can store up to 6 months worth of driving data so even if you are in a region where GPS does not work, the minute you are back in range, the system will dump the information back to the insurance company.

Telematics is said to basically retrain the driver/rider by giving constant feedback and since your bill is adjusted monthly, as you remove the bad habits from your driving, your monthly insurance generally goes down over time.

These machines can send reams of information about you, where you travel and how you travel back to your insurance company.  Yes, there appears to be some benefits to the machines like emergency services deployment in the advent of a crash, or theft alert, and they can even set up parameters to allow you to speed at a race track. Or if you lend a machine to a friend - you can set up geographical limits to where they can take the machine and if they go out of bounds you get an alert.


I have some questions about the information collected and who can access it, can the devices be fitted with cameras so that if hard acceleration or hard deceleration occurs to avoid a collision that can be relayed so you don't face a penalty?

My brain is in overload from watching the video and I am sure I will have more questions as what I watched really sinks in.

I don't know about you but I feel like a lab rat in a bad conditioning experiment...
Ivan Pavlov would be proud - what a great way to train a population to be obedient.

What say you?

Belt Drive Betty
Editor & Rider

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