March 27, 2015

This is Lucy. Lucy works in a big office in London. She has a very important job. Lucy is Research and Communications Officer for PANTS, which stands for the Parliamentary Advisory Network on Transport and Safety.

PANTS gives advice to politicians about how to make it safer for people to travel in planes and trains and motor cars. Lucy knows this is important, because everybody wants to be safe.

One day Lucy received a very exciting invitation from an insurance company called Cover’ya. Come and visit us in Halifax, Cover’ya said, and we will tell you about how insurers can improve road safety. Lucy thought that sounded very interesting. So she wrote back straight away and said she would love to come.

Lucy looked at a map. Halifax was a long way from London. I will have to travel by train, Lucy thought.

Lucy liked travelling by train. She could look out of the window. She could read a magazine. She could drink tea on the way there. On the way back she could drink warm white white from a plastic cup. It was nice. But Lucy was very serious about her job and she was always wondering how she could make the train more safe.

When Lucy arrived in Halifax, she took a taxi to Cover’ya’s offices. I wonder if this taxi is safe, she thought. The taxi man said Halifax was not a good place like Saudi Arabia because the women in Halifax wear mini skirts. Lucy couldn’t see any women in mini skirts. The taxi man did not make her feel safe.

When she arrived at Cover’ya’s offices Lucy met a man called Barry. The people in his office called him Barry “Street” because he knew a lot about roads and cars. Barry said some cars were not safe and they had to be “disposed of”. He said there was a name for this kind of car. The name was “end of life”. Barry said this type of car should be “disposed of in a safe manner through authorised facilities”.

If these cars were not destroyed, Barry said, they might return to the road. That made Lucy think of zombies and she started feeling a bit unsafe again. But Barry was very reassuring.

He said that Cover’ya had something called a repair philosophy. Lucy had heard about philosophy when she was a student. She was impressed. Barry explained that Cover’ya’s repair philosophy had a cornerstone. Lucy wasn’t quite sure what that meant. But when Barry said that the cornerstone was “ensuring a safe repair is carried out on every vehicle” she started to feel safe again.

Barry said that “the complex construction of modern vehicles makes it imperative that correct methods are used and therefore it is essential to only use BS10125 or Vehicle Manufacturer accredited repairers, to ensure that vehicle safety is not compromised.”

Lucy nodded politely.

“For this reason,” Barry said, Cover’ya “mandates that all its Approved Repairers hold these accreditations, thus removing the risk of any incorrectly repaired vehicle placing the policyholder/driver and occupants at risk and to also avoid posing a serious hazard to other road users.”

Lucy was about to ask a question. But Barry had not finished.

“Furthermore our Quality Assurance team carry out audits using Thatcham Integrated Methods and Manufacturer data,” he said, “to qualify that correct vehicle repair methods and materials are being used.”

“How interesting,” said Lucy with a charming smile.

But Lucy was beginning to think about her magazine and about warm white wine in a plastic cup.

After Lucy had left, Cover’ya’s own Communications Officers wrote a story about Lucy’s visit. You can read their story by clicking here.

The Cover’ya Communications Officers couldn’t remember what Lucy had said. In fact they couldn’t remember whether she had said anything. So, a bit like Bankstone News, they made something up.

In their story Lucy says “It was an interesting day and gave me a valuable insight into some of the issues facing insurers and how the industry can have a significant influence on road safety”.

Is that really what Lucy thought, do you think?

Well, if it wasn’t, Lucy would have been far too polite to say so.

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