October 23, 2015

An insane rant by raving right-wing lunatic James De La Pole in the latest edition of raving right-wing lunatic’s house magazine The Spectator has accused those who run the motor insurance industry of being like a Mafia cartel.

Setting aside the question of whether and when the Mafia has ever organised itself on the basis of cartels (according to Bankstone News’ well-thumbed Dictionary of Clichés, it is drug traffickers who do this), there is clearly no conceivable justification for this outrageous accusation.

Seemingly incapable of distinguishing between the separate and not-infrequently diametrically opposed agendas of the various participants in the motor insurance process, De La Soul applies a single tarring brush to the lot of them, ending up – not unsurprisingly – creating an amorphous sticky opacity that defies all reason or justification.

“The car insurance industry is a disgusting racket” DLP declares airily, a judgement made on the basis of what he freely admits is the scantiest of all possible familiarities with the fine and upright system he so unworthily calumnifies. His sole encounter with its workings, he lets slip, is a single instance of claiming for minor impact damage to a leased Skoda Ordinary.

After one of his servants, “a nice, decent chap” called Mark, reversed into the aforementioned Skoda Ordinary, De La Pole found himself “sucked into a system that taints almost everyone it touches — insurers, garages, solicitors, car hire firms and claimants alike — with corruption so flagrant it’s hard to believe possible in hyperregulated modern Britain.”

The first confirmation of Pole’s longstanding suspicion that anyone involved in the motor insurance business is not quite a gentleman and, indeed – as it transpires – little better than a vulture, comes when the act of filing a claim unleashes a wave of “cold-callers with Scouse accents” encouraging him to “recall” neck pain or other physical symptoms associated with the dent-inducing low speed collision, and then of what he can only bring himself to describe as “people in call centres in India”.

Upright pillar of the new old establishment that he is, DLP stoutly resists these callers’ fawning incitements to venality and mendacity. £10,000, he is told, had already be set aside for him, nobody will suffer, everything is ‘perfectly above board,’ as one Subcontinental call centre supervisor assures him.

Naturally, in Pole’s case, temptation, to which he admits, could never have led on to dissemblance, but he imagines that “others might be less punctilious”, noting that “even if you haven’t set out to cheat the system, those cold-callers can be very persuasive.”

Having finally negotiated the invasively immoral inconvenience of this tide of unsolicited calls, De La Pole’s next frustration is the inordinate length of time it takes to get a simple dent put right. Why does it take so long? De La Pole has a theory. “The system is designed,” he opines, “so that as many subsidiary industries as possible can get their snouts in the trough.”

The “panel-beating company” he asserts will deliberately take seven days to do a one-day job in order to allow “your insurer’s hire company partner” to charge more. Replacement hire car costs, he complains, often exceed repair costs (in his case £1,326 compared with £997, the disproportionality of which he attributes to a) delays, as noted above, and b) his being provided with a “top-of-the-range beast” instead of the cheap-as-chips runabout he would have been perfectly happy with.

Citing “well over £1,000” as the average cost of fully comprehensive car insurance, Pole has the temerity to doubt whether “even half of that money is honestly earned and spent.” Everyone involved in running the UK’s Mafia Cartel like motor insurance industry, he admonishes loftily, “should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.”

It’s a great big merry-go-round of money siphonage, he implies, an ever-revolving circular trough at which countless corporate snouts are constantly a-sup, whilst regulators doze, and Joe Public foots the bill through sky-high motor insurance premiums.

That’s exactly the sort of nonsense you’d expect from someone who makes a living merely writing about insurance, while others get their oh-so-humdrum hands dirty. Get real Mr Hoity Toity DLP! How dare you speak ill of one of Britain’s last great service industries!

Hopefully his big mate Dave will put him straight.

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