November 22, 2012

Speed awareness courses are worse than useless. That’s the verdict from Welsh insurance provider Admiral. A BBC investigation found that insurance firms – including Admiral and its offshoots – are increasing premiums for people who’ve been on a speed awareness course by as much as £300.

“Our claims statistics show that drivers who have committed a speeding offence could be a higher risk than drivers who do not commit speeding offences,” an Admiral spokesbeing told reporters from Radio 5 Live controversially. Paying to attend a speed awareness course, the spokesman explained, may save you getting 3 points on your licence but “does not change the fact that the person involved has committed a speeding offence.”

Which is all very well, but it does make the police and others involved in running speed awareness courses (SACs) up and down the country look a bit silly – or possibly – mendacious in claiming – as many do – that an SAC will not affect your insurance premiums. Anyone who has taken a falsely advertised speeding course and who’d like their money back – plus handsome compensation for the financial and emotional pain of a premium hike – should contact Bankstone News Legal Services, where one of our friendly customer relations executives will be happy to accept a large non-refundable deposit to cover our initial quasi-legal investigative work.

Meanwhile, Bankstone News’ insurance arm CheapoCarQuotes will be rushing out a press release announcing that we guarantee that – unlike other insurance providers (boo, hiss) – we won’t penalise you for getting the SAC. On the contrary, we’ll turn a blind eye to the fact that you might have been going a tad fast in the wrong place at the wrong time – it can happen to anyone, let’s face it – and we’ll give you credit for sitting through the tedium of a speed awareness course. That’s right: now that you’ve learned how speed is actually a bad thing, we’ll REDUCE your premium by up to £1.00!

In the meantime, The Financial Ombudsman confirmed to Fleet News – from whom we pinched much of the “factual” content of this story – that drivers may or may not need to disclose having attended a speed awareness course, which does not technically constitute a motoring conviction.

The CII’s groovily named New Generation Underwriting Group noted that nobody really knows yet whether people have been on a SAC represent “an increased risk, a lower risk, or no different when compared to drivers either with or without speeding convictions” and are proposing doing some research to find out.

This utterly disinterested and objective proposal should clearly be welcomed – and to help them evaluate the situation impassively and scientifically, the CII group has suggested “that data on all course attendees, regardless of police authority or course provider, should be stored centrally.”

That – plus maybe a more carefully worded proposal form – should stop any more speed-freak points-dodgers slipping through the net.


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