Archive | May, 2013

MC insurance rate increases in Canada

28 May

In May I was given a heads-up by my local broker regarding my Jevco insurance premiums for my motorcycle. I’m coming to an understanding that there is probably a monopoly in Ontario and that recent increases in premiums are unjustified. My rate in Ontario will be increasing by about 25% and I’ve heard of increases of 100% in Saskatchewan.

Now in August I finished researching and have the final renewal quotes. Due to the increases in premiums I’ve decided to reduce my coverage and get only what is required by law; in other words bare bones insurance. Some companies have website that work only intermittently, some offer 1 800 phones numbers but with long waiting cues and very poor or time in-efficient call back service, email quotes but only with complex on-line forms to complete,  and one local Kingston insurance broker provides personal service and has real people who are experienced and knowledgeable and an address where I can go in person if I wish.  Thomson Jemmett Vogelzang has has my business since 2007 when I purchased my new Suzuki DL1000 Vstrom, with Jevco Insurance ( now owned by Intact) and I’ll renew with them.  The rates do vary for basic insurance: TJV $708 renewal policy; Group Services, Novex, as an addition to my auto policy $670; The Personal $576; Rider Plus $986; TD Insurance $756; and Belyer Insurance Ltd $821.

There is some RAGE in Saskatchewan …

The industry is fraught with gobbledygook and insurance speak that can make it complex and difficult to know what exactly you’re paying for. The permutations of specific coverage details make it nearly impossible to shop and compare. Banks and on-line companies may just be accepting our money but providing little or nothing in the way of service and just confusion in terms of real insurance coverage. Most of us don’t have accidents or claims so we have little or no experience and knowledge to appreciate the benefits or service that we may or may not be getting.  I’m certain that some companies have little knowledge or experience of motorcycles. Most companies don’t even agree on the classification on my bike or won’t disclose it. I do seriously wonder if MC insurance premiums is just a case of price fixing that deserves investigation.

“Price-fixing agreements, like other forms of hard core cartel agreements, are analogous to fraud and theft.  They represent nothing less than an assault on our open market economy.  Buyers in free market societies are entitled to assume that the prices of the goods and services they purchase have been determined by the forces of competition.  When they purchase products that have been the subject of such an agreement, they are effectively defrauded.”  ( Chief Justice Crampton )

I’ve just learned that my group home and auto insurance with Novex is also owned by Intact.  Please see below for a partial copy of a news announcement regarding Intact & Jevco.

(   Note that TD is involved in the financing of Intact’s purchase and that they are also involved with offering motorcycle insurance.     )

Intact Financial Corporation to acquire JEVCO Insurance Company for $530 million
NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO U.S. NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATESTORONTO, May 2, 2012 /CNW/ – Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement with The Westaim Corporation (TSX: WED) whereby IFC will acquire Westaim’swholly-owned subsidiary, JEVCO Insurance Company, for $530 million. JEVCO is a leading provider of specialty and niche products for individuals and businesses in Canada with approximately $350 million in direct premiums written in 2011 (based on industry data and public disclosure).The transaction, which is expected to close during the Fall of 2012, has been approved by the boards of both companies and is conditional upon, among other things, the approval of Westaim’s shareholders and the receipt of the required regulatory approvals. Alberta Investment Management Corporation, on behalf of certain Funds whose investments it manages, Goodwood Inc. and the directors and executive officers ofWestaim and JEVCO, have agreed to vote their Westaim shares (representing in aggregate approximately 48.6% of the outstanding common shares and approximately 53.7% of all outstanding shares entitled to vote at the special meeting of Westaim shareholders) in favour of the transaction.According to Charles Brindamour, Chief Executive Officer of Intact Financial Corporation, the transaction will complement the company’s offering of insurance solutions to consumers and brokers. “The acquisition will allow us to expand our offering to brokers by providing them the opportunities to offer their clients complementary specialized products such as recreational vehicle insurance. It will also broaden our offering of specialty lines products to businesses.”  CIBC World Markets Inc. is acting as exclusive financial advisor to IFC.

Subscription Receipt Offering

IFC has entered into an agreement with a group of underwriters, led by CIBC World Markets Inc. and TD Securities Inc. for the issuance of 3.6 million subscription receipts at a price of $62.75 per subscription receipt for gross proceeds of $225.9 million pursuant to a bought deal public offering in Canada where each subscription receipt will entitle the holder to receive one common share of IFC upon closing of the acquisition. IFC has also granted the underwriters the option to buy an additional 180,000 subscription receipts exercisable at the offering price for a period of 30 days after the closing for additional gross proceeds of approximately $11.3 million. The offering is expected to close on May 11, 2012.

About Intact Financial Corporation

Intact Financial Corporation ( is the largest provider of property and casualty insurance in the country with $6.5 billion in premiums.  Its 10,000 employees offer home, auto and business insurance through Intact Insurance, Novex Group Insurance, belairdirect and Grey Power.

Skyline Drive

11 May

Judy rode with me all day on Friday; her first time ever on a motorcycle.


Considering that we may have slightly exceeded the restricted speed limit once or twice,  she is fearless and was great to have along. Oh my, it’s just so easy to get confused with engine rpm, which is the best gear, miles, kilometers and speed limits;  but doubling or tripling the yellow suggestions in the corners does make for a fun ride. Of course I do have concerns about safety and generally ride conservatively and I seem to be lucky, hoping that any cops with radar are only setup on straightaways and not in the corners.


We met up with Sam and Laura in Front Royal. It had been a long day for us all; we ended the day in rain and lightning at dusk in limited visibility. Dangerous conditions for riding in deer country; and we saw many. As Bilbo Baggins would say: “adventures make one late for dinner.”

I’ve been on the BRP with my motorcycle on four separate trips and have now ridden the entire length of it as well as the Skyline Drive; some part a few times.  I took over 1200 picture since I left Kingston and I’m way behind with photo editing and posting a few, without Rodney’s help. Without his help I’m struggling to remember how to create and post a linky file from y SPOT that should produce a map of my ride. So I gave up, took a picture of my computer screen and posted the picture. We old grey haired luddites are resourceful.





We loaded up the bike onto the trailer and drove back to Kingston on Saturday. The trailer worked fine and we had no problems other than occasionally dragging a chain of bumping the hitch in driveways and parking lots. The fully loaded Subaru Impreza with 4 adults and luggage along with the bike and trailer worked fine. On a couple of the long steep grades on hwy #81 in Pennsylvania it lugged and slowed in 5th gear with the cruise control on, but was fine in 4th gear. The car seems to have plenty of power although our fuel consumption increased.   DSCF7507


Bent Mountain Lodge VA

11 May

Wow, Thursday and my first day to ride with warm temperatures, sun and no rain. I was comfortable with only a sweat-wicking jersey and all the vents open in my RoadCrafter suit.

I had spent some time today off the main road to explore and take pictures. I went under the BRP and followed Air Bellows Gap Road, some gravel at the start but west of the parkway it’s paved. My plan had been to ride into Stone Mountain State Park but I decided that the narrow gravel roads and trails aren’t the best place to go solo on a loaded Vstrom. I expect that exploring the trails and pathways in a small group on mountain bicycles would be an great experience. I was told by one of the locals that the only people that drive in are hunters.




This one of my favourite caution signs along the parkway and at mile marker 235 is a typical section of beautiful stone walls.


I arrived at the B&B in Copper Hill VA in the late in afternoon and spent some time relaxing on the sunny deck. Later my family arrived and I was able to get a picture, from the deck, of them driving up the gravel driveway with the BRP close-by in the background.


This place is awesome and has so many comfortable places to sit and relax and feel right at home It’s a shame that we are only staying overnight. Bonnie & Jesse are very professional hosts and animal lovers with friendly cats, dogs and horses.


Laurel Springs NC

8 May

Rodney and I left Asheville this morning and at the north/south fork in the BRP we parted. I had a cold misty trip along the parkway in fog and mist too thick to see very far; but I rode anyway and eventually it cleared. Weather at 6000 ft elevation along the parkway can change very quickly.  I understand that by the time he got home to the Atlanta he had thoroughly tested his new Olympia AST jacket and was pleased with his purchase. Having followed him in some extreme weather conditions I was very impressed with the visibility of the Olympia high-viz colour and reflective material in comparison to his old gray and black jacket.


I followed Rodney’s suggested Diamond Back Loop in clearing weather, near Little Switzerland and enjoyed lunch at the cafe.

Mayberry Trading Post, old post office building built 1892. between mile posts 180-181

Mayberry Trading Post, old post office building built 1892. between mile posts 180-181

Mabry Mill  at BRP milepost 176

Mabry Mill
at BRP milepost 176

After the fog I though that maybe I’d passed through a time warp until I stopped at Lump Overlook and learned that there was an antique Ford car MAFCA  national rally of about 200 going southbound on the parkway.



Only a short ride west of the BRP and I stumbled ( with help from my gps) onto the  B& B.  I waffled on quitting my ride for the day early because the weather was reasonably bright and I was enjoying the sunshine for the first time in a few days.


It was an easy day for me of only about 275km and I’m about a day ahead of schedule to meet up with my family, but I’m certain to find some great winding roads to enjoy tomorrow.  I know that Pam was very busy having just hosted a lunch for 75 and was trying to take advantage of the improved weather to garden and prepare for an upcoming weekend wedding. I sure that she must have felt hesitant to be bothered by a solo motorcyclist as a customer; but I experienced only her open personality and genuine warmth.  Even before I had finished unloading the bike it started to rain. So, all round a good decision to stay here. Where else could I have stopped and been so spoiled by offers of cold drinks, coffee and snacks in the in such a beautiful farm house. Pam & Ed are wonderful hosts and expended so much hospitality to me so that I felt like their friend. Enjoying dinner and an evening of conversation with them and their neighbours was great. Admittedly our conversations with mixed  accents including Appalachian Mountain, Georgian and my Canajun eh, challenged us all. What a riot, I really lucked out. My wife will be jealous that I’m staying here overnight without her. I’ve enjoyed my stays at B&Bs all over on my trips but never felt so comfortable.

Mt Mitchell NC – Blue Ridge Parkway

7 May

This is ride day three for us, without Rodney’s numbering of the planned gps routes we wouldn’t know what day it is. I’ve ridden much of the Blue Ridge Parkway before but due to road closures have never made it to Mt Mitchell until today. This time riding together has been a blast. We have been on backroads littered with debris from wind damaged trees; and splashed through rivulettes flowing across the pavement together with mud and gravel from the heavy rains. Complete with fog and condensation inside my visor, sometimes I’ve felt that the only way through the corners was to “let the force be my guide.” We have no pictures of the high speed highway sections of our trip or the way-too-close lightning.
Adventure Touring complete with plenty of stops and heavy rain has put us way behind of Rodney’s detailed plans. His Sport Biking background and my much slower paced riding style fit only because he has slowed down from his regular speeds.  But we do have hundreds of pictures with the Fugi X10 and many miles of GoPro helmet-cam video, and some great memories. We end up riding into the dusk to complete each day; even though we aborted some of today’s route and took a direct way back to our motel in Asheville. I know he was disappointed that we didn’t get into Virginia.
Wednesday morning we split; he has a long day’s to return home and I’ll continue solo northbound and be able to pickup some of our missed route.


Shady Valley TN    hwy US-421

Shady Valley TN
hwy US-421

food and fuel available

food and fuel available


Finger DCIM100GOPRO Lunch MtMitchellRoadOpen ShadyDog DCIM100GOPRO

Blue Ridge Parkway – BRP

6 May

We left the house early in the morning in rain and headed north to Tennessee. We stopped in Tellico Plains, TN to visit Mike at Tellico Motorcycle Outfitters. Rodney went in to look for a new pair of pants and came out with this new jacket.


Can you see him now?


Bald River Falls


Gord at the Falls


Deals Gap


GordAndRodney_TopOfBRP WheresGord

Chattanoga TN

5 May

We bailed on riding in the rain. The unseasonally wet and cold weather sucks for enjoying the twisties. Instead we had a family day and rode a coal burning historic train to a turn table, and then visited Rock City.

DSCF8049 DSCF8042 DSCF8028 TVR Tunnel Exit


4 May

I rode from Clemson SC to Clayton Georgia along wet roads in damp misty air, not actually rain or drizzle. Warwoman Road, as most, littered with debris from the strong overnight winds. I would have stayed longer at mill to take more pictures but was put off by a big ugly Pit Bull dog. Rain started as soon as I parked at The Rusty Bike Cafe.

As arranged Rodney arrived just a few minutes later. The high temperature of the day was only 11°C and colder with mist in higher elevations. Having riden e rode all day in cold rain we shortened our route a bit and got to Rodney’s house in time for a great dinner. With Kim’s help we discovered that green tea with Bacardi Torched Cherry rum is a wonderful drink after a wet cold ride.


Warwoman Mill

This cold wet weather wasn’t what I expected and I was begining to wonder if my gps had accidentally taken me to Newfoundland.


Lunch at Turner’s Corner and then a rainy pic at the top of Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia.

Brasstown Bald Turners Corner