Insurance companies pay up in Massachusetts

La Mauricie is one of the best rides you'll find in Canada. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

For a while now (as in, years), we’ve been telling you massive insurance refunds are coming in the state of Massachusetts. Now, the state’s largest automobile insurer is paying up, and the refund for motorcyclists is huge.

A few years ago, we gave you the outline of the story: A Massachusetts rider, fed up with paying through the nose for insurance, complained. Because of that single complaint, the attorney general’s office ended up investigating and found, surprise surprise, the state’s riders were being hosed to the tune of millions of dollars. Since then, the AG has been forcing the insurance companies to pay back their ill-gotten gains.

This week, the AG’s office announced the state’s largest automobile insurer will be paying back $14.6 million to riders they ripped off. Yes, you read that number right. Yahoo reports Commerce Insurance will be refunding more than 40,000 riders, with individual payouts ranging from $50 to $1,200. They’re also paying the state $325,000.

The total amount of refunded cash is almost staggering. Yahoo’s article says 19 insurance companies have agreed to pay out $57.4 million in refunds on 150,000 policies in the state. It seems the refunds revolve around accusations of over-charging for bike policies by saying the machines were worth more money than they actually were, and not depreciating them appropriately as they aged.

Why do we tell you all this? After all, we’re in Canada, not the state of Massachusetts. We’re telling you this to tell you to check out your motorcycle insurance policy. Have you been denied insurance on your RG350, despite a clean driving record? Have you got another valid complaint? Let us know. More importantly, do some thinking as to which buttons you can push to effect some change. Hey, it worked in Massachusetts.


  1. ICBC have to be one of the biggest scammers out there. Sorry Blackie sounds to me that you must work for them.
    I can only afford to insure my Bike for 4mths this year. @ 115/month for the liability side. ICBC is gracious in allowing us to insure the rest through third party insurance which falls in line with Alberta.
    I have been driving for 35 years riding for 11. All but one small speeding ticket 12 years ago a clean record.
    About the payout, sorry I think I got one of these pittance cheques once.
    Oh and where do those profits all go… Is it true into general tax revenue.
    My premium tripled when I left Alberta to BC. Same bike.

  2. Yeah, your insurer is doing you a big favour. Haha…! They used to say teh same thing to me when I lived in Ontario – 25 years ago. Scumbags.

  3. Ontario insurance is one of the biggest scams in Canadian history. No fault insurance has lined the coffers of the insurance industry and made them rich. Think about it, you are stopped at a light and some careless car drive runs you over. Who pays for their carelessness? The motorcyclist. Why do I have to pay for this?
    We need the good old days where my insurance company would sue and the other persons rate would go up exponentially. There are even advertisements in Ontario for automobile Insurers that allow you first at fault accident with no rate increase.
    This is not insurance but a gun to the minority motorcyclist head saying pay up.

  4. CMG,

    Call me a cranky quebecer but the most costly component of motorcycle insurance will always remain the bodily injury coverage. For us in La Belle Province, it’s charged not through private insurance but charged along with our vehicle registration.

    There is minimal pricing segmentation and unfortunately since the insurer is the gov’t, complaints fall on deaf ears.

    They’ll say that actuarially, there is no statistical difference between riders and their machines so segmentation isn’t possible. I contend that a significant cause of bodily injury sustained by motorcycle riders is the result of two things: speed and automobile drivers.

    Speed can be addressed by stuff registration increases following fines. A system already exists but make it a greater disincentive for motorcycle riders.

    As for cagers, the only way to address it is to uphold the basic principle of insurance: the losses of few are funded by the premiums of many. ALL road users should pay for health costs associated with motorcyclist injuries. It’s like saying senior citizens should pay triple the income tax because they’re draining our healthcare system. Not a popular position for any politician to take. But why not pick on motorcycle riders. They’re outlaws after all.

    Point finale.

      • Well Zac, that depends on the government. The Crown Corporation here, ICBC, has given refunds when they’ve had a less-than-anticipated claims payout for a given year. As well, I think you will find that being able to insure a motorcycle for the riding season and NOT the part of the year where one can’t ride (snow, cold, or perpetual rain) can save significant dollars. Oh, and if you have a collector bike (one older than 20-25 years), insurance is $125 per year, thank you very much. Quite the number of worm-filled cans…..

        • ICBC has a good reputation. Quebec and Saskatchewan’s provincial boards, not so much.

          Technically, here in NB, my insurer explained I’m only paying for the riding season, but they let me keep the bike insured for the other six months anyway, since nobody rides in those months, meaning they have little risk.

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