Saskatchewan insurance considering telematics

Big Brother is coming to an insurance agency in a province near you.
Big Brother is coming to an insurance agency in a province near you.
Big Brother is coming to an insurance agency in a province near you.

As you can see from all these links, motorcycle insurance has been a hotly debated subject in Saskatchewan this year. Now, the debate might be about to heat up more.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance is looking at installing telematics on motorcycles to record a user’s data. What are telematics, you inquire? Glad you asked.

Essentially, telematics are lovely pieces of technology that record the user’s data – in this case, a motorcycle rider’s speed, etc. Riding fast? Braking late? Such risky behaviours could earn you a rate hike, thanks to Big Brother’s eternal vigilance. While that likely doesn’t sound good to you, the pilot program to test the technology was apparently uninamously approved by the Motorcycle Review Committee, a “group of key stakeholders formed by SGI to help address rating issues affecting motorcycles,” according to SGI.

The Motorcycle Review Committee is now looking for several hundred Saskatchewan riders to test the technology. No rates will be affected by the data gathered during the pilot program, says SGI.

Says Donna Harpauer, the minister responsible for SGI: “This is a truly innovative approach to addressing the issues that have been raised by motorcycle owners regarding their insurance rates and traffic safety. Usage-based insurance is the ultimate in rating fairness because it essentially lets the driver control their own insurance rate through their driving behaviour.  Simply put, those who drive responsibly pay less and those who don’t pay more.  This pilot is an exciting first step to seeing if this could be an effective approach here in Saskatchewan.”

So, welcome to your brave new world, Canadian motorcyclists: As technology encroaches on your riding experience, you’ll have your rates set by an electronic gadget that rats you out to Big Brother when you speed. And since this technology isn’t free, who’s going to pay for it? We’re guessing, that’s the rider’s problem …

Saskatchewan riders, let your MLA know what you think, now!


  1. Well I can see from the date of this article this was a long time ago!! Thank god we didn’t get this in Sask I could see a lot of people getting unwanted tickets for it! Interesting idea!

    Great read!


  2. Honestly if I’m just driving my car or truck somewhere I start wishing everyone had this. Slower less aggressive drivers would make for a more pleasant drive. Of course on my bike on an empty back road I’d like a little more freedom. For the real fun you have to head to the track anyway.

  3. The problem is that the person looking at the data will have to make a judgement call. Often, in a motorcycle, a quick acceleration and a lane change can save you. The black box will not differentiate.
    Insurance companies do not want to deal with injuries. They are expensive. They would rather we all wear bubblewrap and drive volvos.
    They have my ticket and accident history. They have the information on my vehicle, my training, my age. They do not need any more and if they had it, they would use it against me to charge me more. Insurance companies are making money and want to make more out of this.

  4. I don’t think it’s that bad, it’s only opt in right now any way. For all us normal drivers it’s a way to get a rate discount based on good behaviour. It does seem like the best way to get the truest rate for insurance. I think if I owned a motorcycle I’d probably have a different opinion though. Ha!

    • Hi, Ashley.

      The problem isn’t a matter of “normal” versus “crazy” drivers. Telematics can be used as a way of charging more on a mere technicality, much the same way that insurance companies look for ways of denying claims based on some nebulous data that shows you didn’t honour the agreement in some way. Initially, the program looks reasonable, but wholesale tracking of an individual’s actions invariably lead to misuse.

  5. They already have this in the UK, particularly for new drivers. It tracks your speed, acceleration, braking, etc and uses GPS to cross-reference against how you ‘should’ be driving. If your driving is not perfect, they automatically jack up your insurance rate. If you drive at night, or in high-risk areas like cities, it jacks up your rate. If you need to accelerate or brake hard to avoid someone else’s poor driving, it jacks up your rate. And of course, your vehicle is under 24-hour surveillance by the government.

  6. I’ve seen several ads in Quebec for what appears to be car insurance companies asking for people to voluntarily add telematic info in order to get a discount (ha!). i’ll have to pay more attention next time to ID the company

  7. SGI must already know our risk profile. They have access to our driver licence and any points we have. SGI knows our age, gender and motorcycle model, year and size. SGI knows if we have had previous collisions and claims.
    The problem with motorcycle insurance is the empty jar. The premiums from motorcyclists go into a jar and when a motorcyclist has a claim the money comes out of the motorcycle jar. This looks fair at first but it is not since a motorcyclist making a claim will be compensated from the motorcycle jar regardless of who was at fault. Therefore a motorcyclist rear-ended at an intersection waiting patiently for the traffic light to change will collect from the motorcycle jar and not the car jar. Since motorcyclists are more vulnerable to injuries, motorcycle claims will empty the motorcycle jar more quickly than the car driver claims with the car jar.
    Interestingly, since pedestrians and cyclists do not have a premium jar to collect from when they are hit by motor vehicles; the money must come from the at fault car or motorcycle jars? Why is it different for motorcyclists when a car driver is at fault? SGI needs to offer motorcyclist incentive for quality rider training now, telematics are a just a diversion.

  8. Saskatchewan? This is no obviously being used as a testing ground for what these corporations would eventually like to implement on a much broader basis; like Canada wide or N.A. wide. They know they can get away with it right now in Sask but can you imagine if they tried right now it in New York? People would be up in arms. But starting quietly in Sask they can gradually ramp up the application and spread further & further as it suits their bulging profit margins. Thumbs down!

    • I get US commercials over-the-air here and at least one company, Progressive is using one that plugs into the car’s analytical port, in Ontario, Dejardins [sp?] is using the same gadget.

  9. Insurance is a racket. The rates you pay go to support hi paying jobs and glass towers full of people that work to figure out how to make you pay more.

    • Damn Straight!!, witness my house insurance, one claim, now I don’t have any because I couldn’t meet with their damn house inspector. Its’ a dirty racket, you should have said, paying premiums to scum that live a better lifestyle than I do and I’ve always worked hard all my life!

  10. I would like to see insurance companies record of paying claims properly tracked. Those that do well stay in business, those that don’t, well, you know.

  11. Interesting point, if you complain about the high cost of insurance they counter with the telematics as a way to “appease” those who complain. So if we accept high rates, we don’t have to accept big brother, is that the tradeoff?

    • If this idea goes through, expect a big increase in sales of dirt bikes and track-day machines, and 250-500 cc street bikes. And cruisers.

  12. Good grief, it seems like BIG INSURANCE has truck again.
    How many motorcyclists are there in Saskatchewan anyway ?
    What about the speeding semi trucks and the dummy mummies in their SUVs ?
    Doesn’t the provincial government have anything better to do ?

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