Children in Need Quiz and Auction

November 18, 2008

Bankstone staff hope to raise well over £400 for charity Children in Need following a quiz night and charity auction held on Friday 14th November. Each paid £1 to enter a 48-question quiz and a further 25p for each wrong answer. The winners qualify for an extra day’s paid leave in 2009. The auction included prizes as diverse as an iPod donated by a local recruitment firm, special guest tickets to a Huddersfield Giants Rugby League game, Maltese and Polish meals prepared by staff members, and a Bankstone director as your slave for the day. With £347.50 raised on the night, bidding continues for another week on many of the lots, so a record-breaking* £400 plus total is definitely on the cards.

*Last year’s inaugural Bankstone Children in Need fundraiser brought in £350.00.

November 12, 2008

Bankstone has brought in two high-profile figures from the motor accident management world to launch a new company Bankstone Advantage, with the specific aim of satisfying clients who demand a high standard of service combined with a core focus on cost control and managing vehicle utilisation.

Nick Williams and Phil Webb, who have nearly 40 years’ motor claims and accident management experience between them and previously worked together with a number of high profile accident management companies, will become co-directors along with Bankstone directors Andy Jones and Dickon Tysoe of a new Bankstone subsidiary, Bankstone Advantage.

Both will also become shareholders in the new venture. Bankstone director Andy Jones commented: “Bankstone is now well established in the motor claims management sector, so linking up with Phil and Nick was a logical progression for us as we extend our service offering. Obviously they both bring new skills, new contact networks, and their own excellent personal reputations to the table; but there is also a great deal of synergy between what we do and what they do. Bankstone Advantage will benefit from our well-developed infrastructure and service platform, and in particular from our powerful IT systems.”

Nick Williams added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Phil and I. We share a common belief that clients should be able to access a service that exceeds both their expectations and goals from an accident or claims management service. Our knowledge of the industry coupled with the powerful technology platforms we have developed at Bankstone will allow our clients to achieve both.”

Phil Webb said: “During our time in this industry Nick and I have gained an extensive insight into the complexity of the market and how to make positive change. We have taken time to listen to and understand what clients and suppliers need from their accident management providers, and now we are in a position to deliver precisely that. In particular we are looking to deliver a flexible, proactive and responsive service together with our repairer networks and business partners.”

November 12, 2008

It’s an ill wind that blows no good… or something, as they say. There are early indications this week that harsher economic times are boosting bike sales.

Car sales have slumped by 23 per cent, but trade body the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) reports that registrations of  powered two wheelers’ were up four per cent last month on the same month last year. 11,408 mopeds, scooters and motorcycles were registered in October, compared with 10,972 last time round. Bike Industry News quotes MCI acting chief executive Steve Kenward: “The motorcycle industry is not immune to the economic downturn, but the resilience of the market this year reinforces the fact that PTWs are more relevant than ever. As people look for ways to reduce the costs and hassles of travel, they are realising that motorcycles are an efficient, low cost option, and enable you to arrive with a smile on your face.”

November 12, 2008

Less than two years after entering the continental European market, Irish insurer Quinn confirmed to Insurance Times that it is to cease writing business in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. The news follows the resignation of founder chairman Sean Quinn who stepped down as chief executive after the Irish Financial Regulator imposed a €3.25m penalty on Quinn Insurance and fined him personally €200,000 for contravening obligations under the Insurance Acts and Regulations including “failure to notify the financial regulator prior to providing loans to related companies.” Commenting on Quinn retreat from mainland Europe, a company spokesman quoted in Insurance Times said “While the company made good progress in developing opportunities in Europe, given economic conditions, we feel we are unlikely to establish the necessary scale in the foreseeable future.” Commenting on his resignation, Sean Quinn says he accepts he made mistakes, believes the fine was disproportionate, and will now be spending more time with his family assets outside the group, in particular “our property portfolio, which is now active in 10 countries.”

November 12, 2008

AXA Insurance announced on Monday that it has launched a new personal lines intermediary motor product, AXA Car, targeted at the low-risk driver market.

The product combines comprehensive and TPFT cover with a new rating structure and rating factors that supposedly enable more accurate pricing ‚ leading to cheaper quotes for safer, low risk drivers. AXA claims the product also reflects its “drive towards redefining the standards of customer communication within the financial services industry” with a simplified policy wording. Hopefully that is a safe, low-risk drive towards redefining the standards of customer communication within the financial services industry. AXA is also promising an improved motor claims service with a new quality control system to ensure customers get “optimum service throughout their claim” and dedicated case handlers for every customer making a claim to update them on progress via SMS messages. The new product will be phased in over the next year to replace AXA’s existing PLI motor products Conwy and Premier 35.

November 12, 2008

Days after reporting a 43% increase in profits for the year to June 2008, personal lines broking group BGL has been telling anyone who will listen this week about its plans to acquire other firms again following a seven-year hiatus.

Chief Executive Peter Winslow told Insurance Times that he is close to completing two “very significant” deals involving high-street brands. These would apparently come under the wing of BGL’s affinity-focused “partnership division” Junction. He confided to Post Magazine, however, that Hastings Direct was not a target. He told the paper’s editor Jonathan Swift that now is “a good time to be looking for businesses because the multiples are coming down and there will be forced sellers. It is something we will be focusing on next year and we will even be setting up an acquisitions team, which is something we have never done before.” BGL’s other brands include Bennetts, Budget, comparethemarket.com and Fusion.

November 12, 2008

Implausibly named Insurance Times correspondent Saxon East reported on 5 November that former Confused.com managing director Debra Williams has decided to leave Highway just months after joining the firm. Highway’s £150m takeover by mutual Liverpool Victoria (LV) apparently derailed her ambition to work for a publicly listed company.

The report quoted “an spokesman” for LV adding minimally to the extent of our knowledge with the following words: “Debra Williams joined the Highway Group to broaden her experience of working in a stock exchange-listed plc and she decided not to remain following its acquisition by LV.” Attempts to contact Ms Williams were unsuccessful, but the paper understands that she is somehow combining gardening with travelling whilst serving out her time at Highway.

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