Self-driving or self driving?

June 18, 2018

Careless talk costs lives. That was the stark warning this week as insurers sought to button down loose language around cars which – to a greater or lesser extent – can do things all by themselves.

Insurers are notoriously fussy about words. So much so that many of them employ painstakingly punctilious specialists who live and breath the arcane art of ‘wording’.

Their output (known as ‘wordings’) forms the basis of all those crucial bits of insurance policies that no-one bothers reading.

What these ‘worders’ don’t know about words – and the peculiar and unfamiliar meanings they tend to take on in the mysterious world of insurance – is, frankly, not worth knowing.

When insurance worders look at ordinary people trying to use words, they’re apt to tut and frown and shake their heads despairingly. Marketing people are the worst. Those maniacs twist and turn words as if meaning meant nothing and selling, conversely, meant everything.

What’s bugging wordingistas mostly at the moment is the crazily inappropriate language being bandied about by the makers of more or less self-steering vehicles.

Auto-pilot. Auto-mated. Auto-nomous. These are the kinds of phrases currently in use by the likes of BMW, Nissen and Twizla to describe their so-called semi-self-driving vehicle offerings.

But insurer ‘body’ the ABI has had enough. If you tell someone, they argue, that their car is going to drive itself and then it doesn’t at some point (and they’re not driving it either), that’s a sure-fire recipe for RTA.

Thatcham Research – the people who throw cars around and smash them up to see what happens – reckon car makers need to stop sticking misleading labels like ‘Autopilot’ or ‘ProPilot’ or ‘Relax, I got this!’ on their semi-automated motors.

No good can ever come of introducing things when people aren’t ready for them – and, for precisely that reason, Thatcham say they’re concerned about motorists being offered tech they don’t know what to make of.

Ambiguous automotive nomenclature quite literally opens the door to a perilous grey area in which drivers may think its OK to be polishing their nails – or trouser-tucking the tip of their Trump-length ties – when in fact they’re supposed to be steering.

We need to be perfectly clear about this, says Thatcham’s Matt Aviary: assisted means you’re driving, automated means your not. There’s no excuse, he says, for confusing terminology like Twizla’s Autopilot, which not only isn’t all that ‘auto’ – it also only works in cars, not aeroplanes.

So next time you’re purchasing a car which you suspect may be planning to play some role in determining the speed and direction of your vehicle, be sure to ask the salesman exactly how the thing works and – in particular – when it may or may not be OK to start doing the crossword or, by way of secondary exemplage, fishing unwanted greenery from that manky-looking club sandwich over on the passenger seat.

 

No place for young liars to hide

June 18, 2018

Young people today are lovely, aren’t they. Caring, sharing, open, honest, so in touch with their emotions. Butter would be fully safe from meltage in their mouths, wouldn’t it. Well, actually, No. No it freaking wouldn’t! That butter would be toast!

Fresh analysis from risk solutions specialists LexusNexus Risk Solutions has found that 17-20 year olds are a bunch of no-good, cheating, manipulative b*st*rds.

‘Is their commitment to straightforward-and-above-boardness slightly inferior to that of other age groups?’ you may be wondering. No. No it is not.

Young drivers are nearly TWICE (that’s TWO times) as likely as any other age group to play fast and loose with the factual veracité when it comes to filling out their details on a motor insurance application form.

Their favourite trick (and those poor fools don’t think we can see what they’re up to!) is switching their position on a quote form back and forth from main driver to named driver to see which one would cost them less.

Little do they realise, that simple act of online fraud could see them put behind bars for up to 100,000 years and get their precious motors seized and flogged off to help fund the recently announced Brexit Bonus NHS Bonanza.

LexusNexus has snooped on quote info passed around by more than 80% of the UK motor market to see how applicants massage the facts in a pathetic attempt to shave a few pennies off their motor insurance premiums.

Now LexusNexus is offering insurance providers some kind of fancy widget that will enable them to come down hard on would-be fronters (the technical term for those who pretend to be named rather than main drivers and/or those who collude in their doing so) and so-called ghost brokers who add named drivers on to policies without the knowledge or permission of the main drivers who’ve taken them out.

By having a good rummage through applicants’ details, and checking, for example, whether main and named drivers have the same surname, LexusNexus can warn insurance providers of potentially fraudulent applicants – and thus ensure young people pay full whack for their insurance – or pay the price for perfidy with a lengthy prison stay.

Bankstone News goes GDPR

June 17, 2018

If there’s one thing Bankstone News takes seriously (which surely can’t be too extravagant an exaggeration), that thing, Dear Reader, is your right to privacy.

That’s why we were so delighted when those unelected meddling bureau-numpties in Brussels insisted the UK enact legislation that fully reflects Bankstone News’ own long-established absolute commitment to keeping your private information exactly that (i.e. private, see above).

The EU’s General Data Prevention Regulation (GPRD) – now enshrined in UK law via the Date Protection Act 2018 – means that persons wishing to bother people with tedious self-promotional emails can no longer use those handy lists of insurance types that that organisers of the BIBA conference used to overshare each year.

From now on, anyone you’re intending to e-bother must have given their express permission for you to do so. And, even if you’re not bothering them right now, you’re not allowed to keep their details on file on the off-chance you might want to bother them later.

Aside from giving rise to a pestilent mailstorm of increasingly desperate opt-in requests in the run up to the DPA’s 23 May launch date (we spared you one of those – for reasons that will soon become apparent), the GRDP has proved unpopular because, no sooner had business people learned that data is power and big date is big power, than some garlic-breathed busybody was telling them they weren’t allowed to have any. Not unless they were Faceboot, Googol, Wikileeks or Cambridge Analerotica or somebody.

Happily, Bankstone News has never had much time for data. The less we know about anyone – or anything for that matter – the happier we are.

Now, obviously, we need to know your email. Otherwise we couldn’t fulfil our primary mission of sending you (from time to time) the invaluable source of irrefutable knowledge, wit and wisdom on all things motor-insurance-related that is Bankstone Newt. But that’s about as far as our interest in your private information goes.

We don’t care when your insurance renews, where you live, what you earn, what car you drive, why you are never again allowed within 10 miles of Oldham, or even when your birthday is (although we’ll listen politely if you feel the need to tell us – and then immediately delete any record thereof in case you’re expecting a present or something).

No, your email is all we care about. And even then, we only want your email if it’s going to be a beautiful consensual thing and you actively want us to know your email.

That’s why we’ve swept the Bankstone News mailing list squeaky shining clean of all email addresses whose owners haven’t knowingly signed up to read this nonsense (or at least receive it in their inboxes).

In the process, we identified and expunged hundreds, if not thousands, of addresses on our system that belonged to temporary, fictitious or abandoned accounts, to people who had never once clicked on one of our stories (they’ll never know what they were missing now!) and people who, frankly, we don’t even like or who otherwise don’t deserve to have our precious info-pearls cast before them.

So there you have it: new improved GPRD-compliant Bankstone News. We trust you’ll approve of our exemplary commitment to keeping private things private and not so much as dabbling in data abuse.

If, however, you’re still not feeling sufficiently ‘private’ and/or you’ve become bitter and jaded and no longer wish to know the truth about all things motor-insurance-related, simply click the unsubscribe thingy and you’ll never hear from us again.

Not only that, but we guarantee we’ll erase every trace of your ever having existed.

Now, you can’t say fairer than that, can you!

Coach-load of conmen caught out

April 13, 2018

It’s long been proverbial wisdom on the correct side of the Pennines that you should ‘Never trust a Wigan Man, He’ll lie and cheat you if he can.’ And it’s not just Yorkshire folk who look at Wiganers with a wary eye.

Persistent allegations of endemic mendacity have dogged the town since long before notorious fibbers like George ‘Misleading Lyrics’ Formby, James ‘Hotline to Heaven’ Anderton, and Dave ‘Lying B*stard’ Doggleby brought the place into contemporary disrepute.

Dispelling that unwelcome reputation won’t be any easier after a coach load of Wigan lads on a stag outing filed almost 20 risibly fraudulent whiplash claims following a day out at Chester races.

The growing cost of attending stag events (even when they don’t involve occupying an entire floor of a Latvian super-brothel for four or five days straight) has been a worry for many sociably inclined young Brits for a number of years.

It’s only natural, then, that where an opportunity arises to offset those costs (via the simple expedient of helping oneself to several generous handfuls from the vast cash-piles with which insurers’ coffers overflow), staggers are apt to latch on to it with nothing short of febrile avidity.

Coach-party whiplash claims are increasingly a thing these days – with even randomly assembled bus passengers sometimes now getting in on the act. But in this case, clear collusion between 17 passengers resulted in an attempted fraud so spectacularly hamfisted that, for insurers L=Ve, heading it off was as easy as taking candy back from a baby.

As soon as a claim involving multiple Wiganites came in, alarm bells must have been ringing at LxV HQ. The story was that the jarring impact of a low-speed side-on collision with a tiny little car had caused extreme cervical trauma to multiple occupants of the luxury stag coach on the way over to Chester races, where only the consumption of almost superhuman quantities of alcohol enabled the assembled Young Wiganians to soldier on through a day of pain and then through further carousing back in Wigan.

Over the following days, the various stag persons arrived in dribs and drabs at their local GP’s surgeries complaining of a wide array of supposedly neck-injury related complaints, remembering in many cases to evince symptoms of pain and restricted movement only when attending a subsequent appointment with a physiotherapist.

Their stories varied and shifted repeatedly. Upon it being pointed out, for instance, that a glancing impact with a tiny little car will rarely induce cervical devastation, several claimants quickly said it must have been the driver slamming on the brakes, an aspect of the incident not previously remarked upon. But the claimants’ trump card appeared to be a profusion of supporting statements from friends and families (again, remember, these are Wigan people we’re talking about, into whose mouths an untruth comes as easily as a wad of sputum into that of a trundling ‘Lactics’ midfielder).

Tragically, this lavishly compiled supporting material backfired badly when various since-separated former partners revealed at trial that their testimony was but a tissue of contrivance. Faced with this and multiple other compelling proofs of ill-concealed fakery, Judge Greg, presiding, had no hesitation in finding all 17 to be fundamentally dishonest (we could have told him that), thereby saving L:V around £400,000, and thus helping reduce premiums for decent ordinary etc…

“Fraud doesn’t pay,” commented L%V claims director Millicent Martin, adding wryly that “these conmen should have waited til they got to the racecourse before they tried to gamble on a long shot!”

If that doesn’t raise a titter, there are surely no more titters to be raised!

Ford Fiasco

April 13, 2018

No one could ever accuse Bankstone News of being the kind of online news organ that’s prone to undergarment-torsion. In fact we’re usually more laid-back than a dreadlocked central-casting Caribbean islander.

Hakuna Matata, as they say down on the Swahili coast (or in that film with the warthog, the weasel-thing and the gone-bad flea-bitten lion): that’s our motto most days. And normally we’d be the first to counsel horizontally-inclined equanimity to anyone who’ll listen.

But sometimes even we’d admit that the only rational response to a certain situation in life is to panic, to panic hard, and to keep on panicking until something quite radically changes.

Just such as situation, as it turns out, would obtain if you were to find yourself in Halifax in a Ford Fiesta. Why, what’s so terrible about being in Halifax in a Ford Fiesta?, you’re probably wondering.

What’s terrible is that if you were in Halifax in a Ford Fiesta you would be dicing, quite literally, with the imminent risk of encountering a motor accident scenario.

According to important new research conducted by or on behalf of law firm Your Legal Fiend, Ford Fiestas are not only the cars most likely to fall victim to a motor accident, they are also the cars most likely to cause one.

Which is to say: more likely than Ford Focuses, Ford Kaaas, or Ford anything elses. More likely, even, than the notorious Mercedes Benz ‘Sprinter’ Van. Which is saying something. In fact, Your Lethal Friend claims that almost one in five UK motor accidents involves a Ford Fiesta.

And where are you most likely to have an accident? That’s right: in Halifax, closely followed by Liverpewel, Coventry and St Albarns.

So if you are in Halifax, or one of those other places, in a Ford Fiesta, we’d strongly suggest you pull over immediately and jump out – although, before you bail, please do check your wing mirror for buses, lorries, or Mercedes Benz Sprinters fast approaching from behind.

On the other hand, Your Legal Fiend also reckon that drivers in their 30s are most likely to have motor accidents (with 30 the peak age for causing them and 32 for falling victim to them). Which makes you wonder why it’s teens and early twenties types who pay the highest premiums.

So maybe My Learned Friend is talking b*llocks. In which case, you can once again chill, relax, and generally luxuriate in the happy assurance that comes with knowing that every little thing is going to be alright.

Hakunis Mutandis, my Fiesta-driving Brothers and Sisters!

Dozy cops mess up at the pumps

April 11, 2018

Misfuelling. That’s a funny old word isn’t it!

Spelled variously with a double or a single l, it didn’t even exist until sometime in the late 1970s, when, due to the growing popularity of consumer diesels, the number of idiots doing it grew large enough to warrant a special name for this particular form of stupidity.

In the same way that saying ‘I misspoke’ is a nice way of admitting that you lied, misfuelling (MF’ing for short) is a euphemism for an enacted inability to distinguish between petrol and diesel.

Policemen are the worst (and lady police officers also, obviously). It was recently revealed that every day, somewhere in the UK, at least one police officer is cheerfully wrong-juicing a shiny white vehicle gaudily plastered with decals both yellow and blue.

“Dozy” is how notional newspaper the Daily Mirror characterises the rozzers’ careless carrying-on. Absolutely bleedin’ scandalous might be a better description, if you ask Bankstone News (although, for obvious reasons, we’d never recommend doing that).

Three hundred plus MF’ing police persons per annum equates to well over £50k of taxpayers’ hard-earned money down the plug hole. That’s cash that could have gone on chasing acid scooter thugs, attending minor domestic incidents, or filling out forms back at the station.

And, of course, those 300 MF mess-ups are only the ones they’re admitting to (and that only thanks to a Femdom Of Infotainment request lodged by King Edmund of Alcoholics Anonymous, to which 40 out of 45 UK police forces deigned to respond).

West Mids police were the most inept when it came to at-pump proficiency, with a staggering 66 incidents per annum. The Met, with just 49, incidents, somehow spent four times as much as the Midlanders on fixing the damage done. Perhaps they have fancier vehicles, or maybe someone down south has got a rather ‘special’ deal on sorting out the Met’s misfuelled motors.

Police spokespersons have argued that their colleagues are in an out of different vehicles all the time and often simply don’t have time to pay attention to their current vehicle’s petroleum product preference.

Jonno Cunnle of the Taxpayers’ Alliance gives short shrift to such excuses, insisting that “millions of people manage this task by taking a modicum of care. Police officers should extend the same courtesy to their vehicles.” That might sound clumsily pompous to you or I, but Jonno actually has a point: everyone – cops included – should show cars some common courtesy.

So serious is the Po-Po’s wrong-juicing epidemic that some forces have resorted to labelling or typex-ing fuel tank covers and stoppers with legends such as PETROL, DIESEL or WASHER FLUID GOES IN THE OTHER END.

Will this help? No idea. We don’t predict the news; we just report it.

Or make it up, if it’s been a quiet week.

Trust me, I’m an insurer!

March 18, 2018

Who said ‘My word is my bond’? No, it wasn’t Roger Moore. Well, alright, maybe he did call his autobiography that, but who else said it. Or, you know, whose catch-phrase is it?

That’s right (we know because we’ve just looked it up), it was London Stock Exchange. Except London Stock Exchange apparently said ‘Dictum me impactum’ because she’s probably really posh or something.

Basically, what it means is something like: if I tell you I’m going to do something, then you can be pretty darned sure I’ll do it, come hell, high water, or adverse environmental conditions of any other kind, for that matter.

Like London Stock Exchange, insurers have their own posh motto about how you can count on them to do what they say they’re going to do. Or at least the poshest ones who live in boxes in Lloyd of London’s do.

The insurance motto is ‘Uber immer fides’ which translates roughly as ‘Always super faithful’ and, as with that dictum thing above, this basically means you can count on us – our word is as good as a handshake which, in turn, is as good as a contract signed in blood and secured on our mothers’ lives.

The only problem is, not everyone’s convinced they really can count on their insurers. In fact, a lot of people are pretty sure they can’t.

Shocking new research unveiled by a shadowy body known only as The Syndicate (but allegedly something to do with another almost equally shadowy entity known as the ‘Protection’ Review) has found that insurers are the least trusted companies in Great UK today.

Bizarrely, people trust bankers, shops, airlines (even Ryanair), Google and websites like Go Compare the Supermeerkat more than they trust insurers.

Roughly 48% of those questioned by The Syndicate said they didn’t trust their insurers to pay a claim, while 53% said they’d rather keep their money under their mattresses than entrust it to an insurer on the off chance they might someday get some back.

The good news, is that The Syndicate is mostly only interested in life insurers and others firms involved in the so-called protection racket.

It’s entirely possible that if they’d asked people about their motor insurers, they would have got a very different response – one of total and implicit trust, in all likelihood.

But I’ll bet we had you worried for a moment there, didn’t we!

Medicals Direct purchase fuels further progress for Premier

March 17, 2018

Out-saucing specialists Capita have sold direct medicals group Medicals Direct Group to premier medical group, the Premier Medical Group.

Premiere Medicals have been at the forefront (i.e. the bit slightly in advance of what would traditionally have been considered the front) of the medical reporting and screaming market for as long as anyone can remember (i.e. since sometime in the mid 90s).

Now its acquisition of Medical Direct Group will allow Premium Medicals to move still further ahead and ultimately to achieve its strategic vision of moving further ahead even than the forefront and thus achieveing universal recognition as “the leading [leadingest?] provider of the highest-quality medical reporting and screening” services “across sectors in the UK.”

Premiers Medical Group already employs 230 people “across four offices in the UK” to which it can shortly add Medical Directs’ “Nurse network and screening and reporting resources”.

The purchase will also enable Premiere Medicals Group to get its hands on Medicals Direct Groups’ “renowned service platforms, portals and data management capabilities.” This is definitely a good thing, because it will create “a multi setting screening network” for the combined groups’ customers and help to satisfy their “evolving” demands.

Combining Premier Medical Direct and the Medicals Group will enable the combined entity to do some more investing in technology, which again should help with the whole forwardness project.

One particular advantage that an integrated PMGMDG creates is “exclusive access to WARP technology” an MoJ-compliant electronic platform that circumvents traditionally conceived obstacles to faster-than-light travel (i.e. the requirement for a virtually infinite input of kinetic energy posited by Einstein’s theory of special relativity) by warping space itself to deliver market-leading turnarounds.

A good many other exciting benefits will accrue from the Premier Medicals Group Direct Medicals Group takeover. If you’d like to know more, you can fill yourself fully in right here. Or maybe here.

And why wouldn’t you want to do that!

Down Memory Cul de Sac

March 16, 2018

In this week’s idle raking-over of the quickly cooling coals of Bankstone News’ former glories, we whisk you back to September 2015. Who couldn’t forget the time when we reported the busting of a major car crime gang whilst heavily under the linguistic influence of Anthony Burgess’ semenal opus A Chocolate Orange! Well, just for the Hull of it, and to save us writing something new, here it is again… 

Working hand in rooker with specialist millicent squad NCA (National Crime Agency), fraud bankrotzers APU are all boasty this week about how they struck a bolshy great tolchock against an internazzy auto crasting shaika that was nabbing UK 4x4s and karrabling them off to Far Ugandaland, O My Brothers.

These oomny chellovecks were hoovering up a horrorshow stack of deng, crasting dorogoy off-da-rocker vehicles, autos of the clefless kind, you pony, My Droogies, and then dooking them off, via Oman and Mombasa, to Ugandaland capital Kampalaville.

Sans doubt, you’re all agog, with glazzes wide and ookos pricked, to slooshy how this artful banda got loveted – and quite a zammechat raskazz it is too, My Droogs. So now, bez further fillying about, your humble narrator shall tell thee all there is to tell of it.

Unbenazzed to those fine young auto crasting vecks, the lewdies at APU came up with a horrorshow oomny malenky veshch (what they call a pravnuk pokoleeny (4G) trackster) that gets skrivatted somewhere inside your auto, there to send out digilectro signals that let APU viddy where your auto ittys if and when some grazzy malchick skvats it.

This oomny malenky ustrozva let APU smot a dorogoy top-of-the-kallexa Lexus getting crasted in dear old Londograd and then get vistied, in lovely malenky containys, all the way – via the afore-skazatted mestos – as far as distant Kampalaville in darkest Nayugaland, there to join 28 other roskosh autos in some merzky moodge’s compound.

When a gromny great horde of Nayugaland millicents came a-clopping at their door, pooshkas at the ready, those internazzy crasters caught on horrorshow skorry that they weren’t so oomny as they’d messelled.

A whole bolshy oozy of auto crasters, from UKapital to Kampaville, have now been skvatted by the rozzes, had their pretty polly repurloined, and off will itty for a yudny malenky spell in staja. All in all, a horrorshow example of teckovecks and millicents rabbiting in perfect harmonia.“Working with the police and security services in Kenya and Uganda,” utterstated NCA veck Paul Stainfill, “we have been able to dismantle an international criminal network that has been responsible for stealing high-value cars from the UK and exporting them to East Africa.” Old Stainfill govoreeted on all gloopy about how the millys couldn’t have done it without APU and “its unique technology” and its “innovative method of locating the asset.”

His actual slovos those are indeed, My Droogy Brothers, and not a slovo of a losh.

Any veck that cares not to vereet me can kiss my potny sharries.

Click on the image above to access revolutionary online translation tool.

 

Fix that rake now, or someone will pay!

March 6, 2018

According to the latest estimates prepared by industry ‘body’ the Association of Brush Insurers (ABI), the average British comprehensive motor insurance policyholder can expect to spend somewhere north of £30k in premiums over the course of their driving lifetime.

Just what does that outlay secure – other than impunity from prosecution for driving without insurance and the ‘piece of mind’ that comes with opting for fully comp motoring? Basically, it gets you about 10 average motor insurance claims (currently running at just over £3k a pop – a new record, incidentally, fact fans!)

So if you get a licence at 18, and drive til you’re 85, say, that means you need to make an average one motor insurance claim every six or seven years, if you want to break even. Or it would if we assume a constant relationship between average claims costs and average premiums.

You could, of course, enhance the return on your insurance spend by submitting a rapid sequence of above-average insurance claims. But, of course, you won’t be paying an average motor insurance premium for long if you push your luck by claiming big and often.

But Jimmy Dalton of the aforementioned ABI warned consumers of motor insurance products this week that sinister forces are at work distorting the aforementioned relationship between average claims costs and average premiums, so that decent ordinary policyholders are paying more for less.

That’s right those sinister forces are your own government. Not even the EU, this time, weirdly, but YOUR OWN GOVERNMENT (they can get away with that sort of thing here, because they’ve stripped us of the innate human right to guns and ammunition – but that’s another story). And it’s all because of three pieces of rank stupidity which urgently need fixing. One is so-called Insane Punishment Tax (IPT). Another is foot-dragging over banning lawyers, PI claims etc. The other other is the topic of the following paragraphs.

In February last year the then-Lady-Chancellor Elizabeth ‘Mad Lizzy’ Truss slashed the calculation known as Ogden’s Rake – used to calculate how much insurers are entitled to trim off payments made to long-term injured claimants to allow for profits they’ll make investing their winnings – from 2.5% to minus 0.75%.

This Jimmy D, reminds us, is the lowest Ogden’s Rake figure in the entire western world (obviously ‘they do things different’ further east). So low is it, in fact, that it assumes life-changing-injuries people and/or their carers are investors of a positively Trumpian order of ineptitude – and actually need paying more than they’re entitled to!

Clearly dickering with Odgen’s Rake in this bizarre and reckless fashion was always going introduce additional costs into the whole insuring-things equation. And when that happens it can only mean one thing. One thing that’s neatly encapsulated in the headline statement from the ABI’s press release, which states plainly that: Britain’s motorists are paying a heavy price for delays in the Government implementing its proposals to reform how the discount rate is calculated.

The nub of it is that HMG is so tied up with securing the best possible deal for Britain (as we break free from the suffocating embrace of the EU and raise our eyes in ambitious anticipation of the glorious dawn of a boldly global Britain free from foreign influence) that it’s entirely back-burnered fixing Odgen’s Rake – or, as now seems likely, replacing it’s with something better fit for purpose in this modern age: Dilman’s Dibber, perhaps, or, just conceivably, the increasingly fancied Tysoe’s Trowel.

Come on HMG, pull your finger out an ease our motor insurance premium pain!

Little progress on Ogden as HMG dithers.

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