Canadian Underwriter

Saskatchewan Government Insurance asks for public feedback on motorcycle rates

July 10, 2013   by Canadian Underwriter

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Saskatchewan Government Insurance is asking for public input on possible changes to motorcycle safety programs, rating structure and injury benefit levels.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance seeks input on motorcycle rates

The public appeal comes shortly after the auto insurer formed the Motorcycle Review Committee to look at issues affected rates in the province, following controversy over increases.

SGI and that stakeholder committee have developed a package of ideas, although not every proposal has unanimous support from the committee. Now, SGI is asking the public to weigh in on the ideas.

The list of the options is available on the SGI website for the public to provide feedback. The site also includes options not being considered right now, including mandatory training, rating by horsepower and rating by make and model.

One agreed-upon option, announced last month, was to begin a voluntary usage-based insurance pilot for motorcycle riders. SGI is now accepting volunteers for the pilot, who can sign up on its website.

A thousand motorcyclists are needed for the pilot and SGI said it will provide an “incentive” to volunteers for their participation.

“Working with the Motorcycle Review Committee was a valuable experience,” Andrew Cartmell, president and CEO of SGI noted in a statement Tuesday.

“There was excellent discussion and the committee members gave us better insight into issues affecting motorcycle riders,” he said.

“Though we had some different opinions at times, we ultimately share the same goal: to reduce the number of deaths and injuries resulting from motorcycle crashes. Now we’re asking for the public’s input, whether you’re a motorcyclist or not, to round out the review process.”

Most of the ideas up for discussion are suggestions only – input from the public will determine what is taken forward to government. Some of the options include:

  • additional requirements for new riders, such as a basic skill and ability test to get a motorcycle learner’s licence and strong incentives to take motorcycle training
  • additional mandatory gear for either new riders or all riders
  • changes to the Safe Driver Recognition program for motorcyclists
  • allowing motorcyclists to change their injury coverage

“Although many of these options deal specifically with motorcycles, we all share the road and that means we’re all responsible to help keep other road users safe,” Cartmell said. “Motorcycles are smaller and can be harder to see than other vehicles, so drivers need to keep a special eye out for them, especially during the riding season.”

There were also some changes SGI and the committee mutually agreed could be implemented without needing further public input since they are more administrative in nature. Those include:

  • Explore ways to improve awareness among all drivers of safely sharing the road with motorcycles, including looking at whether information provided in Saskatchewan’s driver education program could be enhanced to create better awareness among new drivers.
  • Change the rate groupings currently used for model year to larger groups for older models, and smaller groups for newer models, to more accurately reflect depreciation rates.
  • Expand the rate groupings currently used for engine size to better identify entry-level motorcycles and be more representative of how manufacturers are currently building engines.
  • Limit the number of 24-hour and 8-day permits that can be issued for any one vehicle.
  • Require an owner who wants to register a motorcycle as an antique to have another non-antique motorcycle registered. This helps ensure the motorcycle is used in keeping with the intent of the Antique class – for parades, cruise nights, antique club events, etc.
  • Issue placards for riders in the Motorcycle Graduated Driver’s Licensing (MGDL) program to place on their licence plate to indicate they’re a new rider. This will allow for easier identification of new riders and to further encourage compliance with the MGDL restrictions.

The options document will be available for public feedback until July 31. SGI will then prepare a report, based on all input gathered, to submit to government by fall.

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