December 17, 2010

Good to see information getting passed around more freely these days. First Wikileaks regaled us all with lavish portions of the forbidden fruit of knowledge, now Strathclyde Police have been slipping juicy titbits of inside information about some of the tastier geezers on their patch to insurance companies.

The Herald Scotland reports that Strathclyde police have been “revealing the names of gangland figures to insurance firms and life assurers who then massively increase their premiums.”

Whether the insurance firms in question will be obliged to communicate the reasons for the premium alterations to the policyholders in question is unclear to Bankstone News at this point. Perhaps something along the following lines would be appropriate.

Dear Sir,

In the light of your status as ‘gangland figure’ recently revealed to us by the Strathclyde Police we have reluctantly concluded that your monthly premium will need to increase to [insert very large sum of money]. But don’t worry: you and your family will continue to enjoy exactly the same cover as before, and you can continue count on our exceptionally high standards of customer service.

This is boundary-pushing police work at its best. Rather than wait around while detectives gather the necessary hard evidence to bring suspected gangsters to trial, Police can now strike back pre-emptively by passing on “confidential files.”

Raising premiums to astronomical levels could effectively deny the families of suspected gangsters an opportunity to gain monetary compensation for the untimely loss of loved ones in local turf wars etc. Alternatively, dramatically increased premiums could simply ensure that those with sizeable undisclosed incomes pay a suitably inflated price for their cover. Either way, sounds like a great plan!

Gangsters are also notoriously poor drivers. You must have seen them on TV. So it will be a great comfort to motor insurers to learn that Strathcops will also be tipping them off about suspected wrong’uns, so they can be priced out of purchasing motor insurance, thus cunningly enabling the police to move in and arrest them for failure to hold valid insurance for their vehicles. Genius!

Strathclyde Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton told the Herald: “If a criminal has heavy life assurance then it doesn’t seem right that the rest of us – who have a much lower-risk lifestyle – have to pay for that.”

“Some of the information we give – because of the how, the where and from whom we got it – can’t be used in court,” Hamilton accepted. “But that does not mean we should sit on the information and not share it with other legitimate bodies.”

A spokeswoman for the Association of British Insurers told the Scottish paper that “Insurance companies use lifestyle factors to calculate premiums – and being a gangster is a pretty high-risk lifestyle.”

Hamilton declined to name the companies who are receiving information from the police because of “the danger of reprisals.” Should be fairly obvious when their premiums suddenly increase though.

But if mainstream insurers don’t want to help shady characters out with their motor insurance, there could be an attractive niche market in the offing. The domain name www.gangsure.co.uk is still available if anyone’s interested.


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