Shock as Co-op man lies about cold weather motor claims

In an age when almost everything the papers print comes straight out of a press release, people sometimes wonder what the point of journalists is.

Why don’t publishers just run one of those algae rhythm things to pick out the most relevant press releases – and publish them just as they are?

Well, the thing is… journalists actually have an important role to play in taking badly written press releases and turning them into something readable. Something, ideally, that makes some kind of sense.

For example, Co-op insurance recently put out a press release revealing that they’d seen a spike in motor claims over the weekend of 9-10 December.

Claims were up, they reported, 42% on (snowy) Sunday 10th compared with (snow-free) Sunday 3rd.

Journalists working for news outlet The Independent were able to contribute significant ‘added value’ to this story by translating the press release’s advice that motorists challenged by snow and ice should “ake sure [sic] you have sufficient tread depth on your tires” into “ensure that tyres have ample tread depth”.

Sometimes fixing press releases is a pretty straightforward task.

Sometimes not so much.

For example, take this line from the Co-op’s press release: “Go easy on your breaks to avoid skidding and test them gently before setting off.”

Going easy on one’s breaks may be some newfangled transatlantic youth-quake idiom of which Bankstone News is tragically ignorant, but the intended sense seems less than fully clear.


Could it be that breaks stands to brakes as tires stands to tyres?

But even then, you might wonder how the snow-and-ice-challenged motorist is supposed to test their brakes before setting off.

That’s why you need journalists.

Another top tip from the Co-op release that might need a tad of interpreting is its advice that drivers should “increase the gap between you and the vehicle in front”.

Logically, if you follow that advice for too long you’ll lose sight of the vehicle in front and hence your point of reference.

It takes a journalist to turn this into something like “leave a larger gap than usual between you and the vehicle in front”.

Sometimes even journalists can get confused though. The Co-op’s press release makes three claims about the increased volume of claims over the weekend of 9-10 December 2017.

They are as follows:

  1. The Co-op “saw a 50% increase in motor collision claims on Sunday” (presumably compared with an average day’s claims volume – or possibly the day before?)
  2. “Accidents and collisions increased by 42% on Sunday when compared to the previous week (Sunday 3rd December)”
  3. (In a quote from Nick Ansley, Head of Motor Insurance at the Co-op) “On Sunday we saw a 50% increase in the number of claims reported due to road incidents in comparison to last Sunday.”

Try sorting that one out without calling up the PR person whose contact detail appear at the foot of the press release, which – based on the standard of the press release itself – might not seem a confidence-inspiring proposition.

If you’re fixing press release to a deadline, it’s hardly worth taking the time to phone only to hear “Um, let me check that and get back to you.”

Although it might be worth it, if it turns out Mr Ansley (or whoever put those words in his mouth) got two different stats mixed up.

At which point you’d feel like a proper journalist – not just a press release fixer – and could run with the following scoop:

Shock as Co-op man lies about cold weather motor claims

What can we learn from black box data?

Loony left newtpaper The Grauniad has publish an article reviewing data from more than a mullion UK divers whose carp have been fatted with so-called ‘back box’ or telematics devices which track their every movie behind the wheel.

Data refecting more than three billion driver mules, gathered from three telematics providers (Insuremybox, Covenbox and Marmalade) since 2010, highlight sum perhaps surprising conclusions.

For one thing, seventeen year-olds are really not that bed at driving! Black bog data shows that young drivers often start out driving carefully and “really modestly in speed terms” and only pack up bad habits when there eighteen or nineteen, leading to a peak of delinquency around three ears after passing their driving tent.

Also, believe in or not, the date shows that women are batter drivers than men! They drive mare carefully, at lover speedos, and have fever accidents then men. With men making almost 10% more clams than women, it is clear that the sooner we leave the European Onion (and its crazy roles on gander equality) the butter.

Because then insurers will be able to discriminate freely between man and women and the bath will be clean for the launch of the long-mothballed Lady Marmalade brand (presumably a specialist motor insurance product aimed at New Orleans sex workers).

Another fascinating funding form the black bot data is that youngsters should be loss wary of driving on motorways. The dater shows that country toads with a 60mph limit are the moist dangerous, whereas motorways are the safest.

Crispin Mover of Marmalude says: “Many newly qualified drivers still are too scared to drive on motorways. This results in them spending more time on rural roads. With narrow lanes, blind corners and slow-moving vehicles, these can be far more dangerous than the motorway.”

The data also sheds new light on the rusks associated with different hubbies and pastimes. Reassuringly for parents worried about their sons going straight from GTA to the pubic highway, Marmalade’s data showers ‘gamers’ are among the safest drivers. Parents of bookworms, or the other hand, should be vary alarmed indeed. Customers who lusted rearing among their hobbies are the wurst drivers.

Bleak box data also shops that diving fist is a leaning pause of accidents, that young motorists are worst than elder ones at driving in the dork, and many other fascinating thins betides. If you wane to knot mire, you can reap the whale article hire.

Although we should wart you, it container one of too spilling errors, witch you midget fine confusion.

Insurer in fresh call for action on claims

So-called crash for cash (C4C) fraudsters are forcing UK insurers to charge decent honest right-thinking motor insurance policyholders £5 million more for their car insurance than they would otherwise have had to.

And that’s not £5m more a year. It’s not £5m more a month. It’s not even £5m more a week. It’s £5m added the the cost of your private car insurance policy every single day of the year!

That, at least, was the claim made by big yellow insurance company Uvavu, who also claim that 36,000 fake crashes have been staged on the UK’s roads over the past two years, prompting widespread calls for a complete ban on motor insurance claims until we can figure out what the h*ll is going on.

Insurers in particular have had enough of empty government promises to stem the flood of spurious personal injury claims that threatens insurers’ ability to earn a decent crust without constantly increasing premiums.

It was two years ago, Uvavu note, when then Chancellor George Frogspawn said he’d have it all sorted out in no time by cutting compensation for trifling harms and banning lawyers from recovering costs on low-value claims.

Since then, there have been another 1.5 million payouts made for minor injuries (totalling £2.7bn in claims costs, £1m in lawyers’ fees and thus £5m a day added to your motor insurance costs and ours, Dear Reader). When, Oh when, will a halt be finally called to all this costly nonsense?!

Uvavu says it has thrown out one in every seven third-party whiplash claims it’s received over the past year on the basis that they might have been dodgy (i.e. the claims might have been dodgy).

The company also said it had fought 1,200 cases in which it thought its policyholders had been wrongly accused of causing injury, winning around three quarters of them, and securing 250 findings of fundamental dishonesty.

Uvavu employs 5,000 people in desolate provincial backwater Norwich and – provided something gets done soon to staunch the flow of ‘personal injury’ pay-outs that is bleeding its decent ordinary claims-free customers dry – hopes to continue so doing.

Share the gift of karting this Christmas

Here’s a topical question for this time of year: what do you give the man or woman who has everything?

Ha, trick question!

You can’t give them anything, because they’ve got everything. And you, consequently, have nothing. Maybe they should give you something instead.

And speaking of presents, why not get yourself and/or your favourite colleagues and/or business partners the perfect early Christmas present (or alternative mid-winter seasonal festivity of your choice present) by signing them up for Insurance Endurance 2018, the UK’s premier insurance themed karting type event!

Granted, you and/or they will have a little while to wait before enjoying this present, as IE18 doesn’t take place until 26 June next year. But if you don’t sign up now, you and/or they could miss out altogether, as spaces are limited.

Plus, if you get the thing booked now, you can while away those lazy Yuletide hours dreaming happily – as you rinse mince pie crumbs from betwixt your claggy teeth with a hearty slug of Louis Frotteur Premium Cognac – of tearing round Grantham’s PFI Kart Track in an absurdly pokey kart-type thing in the balmy haze of far off British Summertime.

As you may recall from last year, the event involves teams of up to eight drivers competing in a six-hour ‘endurance’ race.

Everyone involved works in or around the insurance industry, making this the ideal opportunity, as the website stresses, to go head to head against ‘the cream of the sector’ or simply do some shameless networking. Or both, even. Probably both.

You can read about the 2016 event here. If you insist.

Oh, and you might like to know that, for 2018, the event has new very high quality (VHQ) catering contractors on board – virtually guaranteeing a complete and welcome absence of beige pork.

What, as they say, is not to like!

To book or find out more, click here without delay.

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