Credit hire debate intensifies

September 30, 2009

Accident Exchange’s website tells us that people report 10,000 accidents every day and that the firm’s first priority is to provide these individuals with good advice and “ensure they stay mobile.”

The insurers asked to fund all this mobility suspect the costs are sometimes over-egged.

Autofocus says its data is “the ideal tool” for assessing whether a disputed credit hire charge is reasonable.

Accident Exchange says it isn’t.

Axa’s backing Autofocus.

Accident Exchange claims 2,500 claims worth £22m may have been affected by “defective” Autofocus evidence.

Axa’s still backing Autofocus.

Chesterfield County Court has postponed Adam Glossop v Christian Salveson Logistics because of concerns raised over Autofocus evidence.

Post Magazine says “as many as seven staff may have left Autofocus following the Glossop case,” and that several have not shown up in court when called.

Its website says Autofocus always “delivers the highest levels of clarity,” but the firm wasn’t keen to tell Post how many staff have left.

Accident Exchange says it will seek the court’s leave to commence action against individual Autofocus employees for contempt of court, a charge that carries a prison sentence if proven.

AXA denies its decision to quit the GTA was based Autofocus’ spot-rate data.

What can it all mean?

September 30, 2009

A quarter of UK motorists deny ever having been distracted while driving.

The other three quarters may be perpetually gawping at attractive pedestrians, billboards, nice views and low-flying aircraft – but at least they’re not filthy rotten liars.

The most common distractions, according to a press release put out by the AA are attractive people in other cars, attractive pedestrians, and a “nice view”.

Men are three times more likely than women to be distracted by attractiveness (70% compared with 25%). So presumably – to keep the average distraction figures up around 75% – women must be much more distracted by scenery of the non-euphemistic variety.

“We do notice an increase in the number of minor shunts during August,” said the AA’s Douglas Simon, when “attractive members of the opposite sex are perhaps showing off a lot of their suntan!”

Such distractions, he argues, “are likely to be a factor in the accident statistics, although most people are unlikely to admit it on a claim form!”

But think before you ogle, he urges: “A collision would ruin your journey.” Did you ever consider that? “Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel,” he admonishes. Hands on the wheel? What kind of perverts does he take us for?

“Our best advice is to stop in a safe place,” he concludes, to appreciate views or “other roadside features.”

If that’s really their best advice, Bankstone News is in no great hurry to sample further specimens of the AA’s wit and wisdom.

September 29, 2009

T’was at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham’s fair city
Where motor trade folks gathered, O to miss it t’were a pity!
They came on Sept 11th, for the Bodyshop Mag awards
Where providers most outstanding gathered up their just rewards
One insurer stood out plainly for its brilliance and valliance
The name of that fine outfit (yes, you’ve guessed it), it was Allianz
Phil Brailey held his gong up and he told all those assembled
It’s hard to say just how this feels, then (in a voice that trembled)
Our motor claims team I must thank for doing all the legwork
And also not forgetting too their great repairer network

With apologies to anyone who actually reads this.

September 25, 2009

In traditional aborigine society as a boy approached puberty the elders of the tribe would lead him out into the bush at night and scare the bejeezus out of him with bullroarers. The terror their unearthly sound inspired was a crucial part of the intentionally traumatic transition from boy to man.

Here in the UK, the equivalent rite of passage involves young men buying mechanically suspect turbo-charged superannuated superminis and being scared shiftless by the cost of insurance.

Alcoholics Anonymous this week unveiled some fascinating insights into the seminal sociological phenomenon that is acquiring your first car. Among their key findings were: boys get their first motor younger than girls; girls are far less likely to pay for theirs themselves; first cars are typically between seven and ten years old, and usually cost under two grand.

Simon Douglas, director of AA Car Insurance is that rare beast a company spokesperson quoted at length in Bankstone News without so much as a hint of misconstrual, traduction or idle derision. “At a time when the cost of car ownership is higher than ever,” he says, “with both fuel and insurance costs rising steeply, getting a car remains a priority – especially for young men.

“Unfortunately, one out of every five will also experience a serious accident within their first year of driving. Young men are twice as likely to be killed or seriously injured in a collision than young women and although the number of accidents on Britain’s roads is thankfully falling, the proportion suffered by young drivers is rising.

“Most young drivers expect their first year’s car insurance premium to be expensive, but it still comes as a shock when the cost might be twice what their first car is worth. The cars they are buying tend to be more powerful than they used to be. This contributes to higher accident rates and thus higher premiums.”

September 25, 2009

Bankstone has consistently proved itself among the UK’s most fertile outsourced claims providers. In the past three years alone, Bankstone staff have produced no fewer than seven bouncing babies.

Though equivalent figures for per capita productivity at other comparable organisations were not available at the time of going to press, Bankstone is confident of claiming its place among the most fecund of firms.

Proud parents include Helen Payne, Helen Marsden, Lisa Geleziunas, Libbi Bowers, Becky Ineson, Jade Laverty and Wing Commander Phil Webb. Readers should refrain from leaping to unworthy conclusions based on the inclusion of six females and just one male in the above list. Congratulations to all of them and their respective other halves.

Those of you eagerly anticipating the arrival of news on Bankstone’s performance at last week’s Insurance Endurance karting event need remain on the figurative edge of your seats for one week longer while we gather supporting photographic evidence.

September 25, 2009

Bankstone News is experimenting with a new format for appointment news from the motor insurance world.

Here’s our first effort:

Brit’s Dave Kelly’s recruiting in Leeds
RSA’s Fiona Gibbs met his needs
To be motor fleet writer
He was glad to invite her
For a bright future they’re sowing seeds

Somehow the tone just doesn’t feel quite right yet.

September 25, 2009

A special two-part report this week from Bankstone News’ London Bureau. Part one (you’re reading it) is in hackles-well-and-truly raised mode over the latest motor-vehicle-related slur on the capital’s decent law-abiding people.

Some Milton-Keynes-based outfit going by the name of Motor Insurers’ Bureau claims Londoners aren’t insuring their motors as per Her Majesty’s law of the land. Outrageous, mate.

As if that didn’t take the biscuit all on its tobler, these mugs expect us to Adam that Londoners are less insured that Scousers. And they reckon they’ve got the rivers to back it up too.

Thirteen per cent of Londoners, they claim, leave out all that motor insurance malarkey, compared with 12% of Merseysiders. Now how can that be right? And what’s this: just 10% in Manchester, and 7% in West Yorkshire? What a load of old nonsense.

But while we’re reporting the Roys, you may as well know that the MIB claims 1.7 million people across this fair land didn’t bother buying insurance in 2008, and that 500 uninsured motors get Ritchied every day of the week.

Credible witness? From the home of concrete cows, right-angle roads, sell-out MK Dons, and the UK’s oldest (most obsolete) cable TV network? Do us a favour!

September 25, 2009

Want to know what really winds us up here at Bankstone News’ London regional office? Do you? No? Shame that; we’re gonna tell you anyway.

Press releases, that’s only what! Maundering, mealy-mouthed, made-up bloomin’ press releases that chunter on endlessly about some or other so-called survey they’ve just conjured up out of thin air.

You know the deal: 58.3% of estate car owners in the North East quite fancy a cup of tea/Angelina Jolie/making motor insurance claims online, delete as applicable. Does our bleedin’ head in.

So imagine just how jolly-well-chuffed we were to come across the latest statistically-supported outburst from some unholy combination of RAC and Aviva (RACiva?) who want to tell us about “the UK’s most annoying driving habits.” Annoying? Don’t talk to Bankstone News’ London office about annoying!

So what manner of percentilised insights, precisely, are on offer here, you almost certainly do not insist on knowing. Well… did you know, for example, that 72% of motorists get all steamed up when people get too close to their rear ends, or that 68% are fuming over people driving “on the phone?”

More shocking still, exactly the same percentage (68%) get cut up about being cut up by other motorists? How absolutely (expletive deleted) fascinating, and at the same time how compellingly authoritative!

Hang on though! There’s more: 65% find that other drivers failing to indicate adheres in an unwelcome fashion to their fleshy frontal-upper-torso parts.

Exactly 48% find people not saying thank you when given-way-to gets their goat. Whether the other 52% get the requisite thanks or simply don’t give way, we’ll never know. Or, quite frankly, care. What a fatuous superfulgence of specious statistical fabrication!

RACiva’s aim in bringing (making) all this up is to promote something they’re optimistically calling Road Respect Day. Sorry, but in Bankstone News’ book respect is not a right. Respect, mate, has to be earned!

RACY spokesman Adrian Tink (obviously a made-up name), a man whose job title we’re then expected to believe is “motoring strategist,” warns us to watch out for RAC Road Respect vans which will be touring the land annoying/distracting the hell out of drivers with “courteous messages on high-definition LCD screens.”

Claiming that one in three drivers gets seriously hacked off at least three times a week, RACiva further alleges that London, “notorious for its heavy traffic,” is the region where drivers show the least respect. Oh really? Perhaps they’d care to bring one of their nice little vans down the Old Kent Road and voice that opinion. Muppets!

September 18, 2009

Yet more training news from Bankstone this week. We’ll think of something else to talk about soon.

In fact, speaking of which, while we’re on the subject, at this very moment Bankstone’s top tier management team are wallowing round the circuit at Daytona Milton Keynes like Mario Kart on barbiturates – so we’ll be bringing you a blow by blow report next week on their inevitable triumph in the brutal carnage that is… Insurance Endurance.

Where were we? Ah, yes: training.

The latest batch of eager hopefuls from the Bankstone labour pool vying for the ultimate accolade that is a CII qualification – under the vigilant oversight of Park Lane College – include: Leah Meston, Rebecca Ineson, Stacy Jaggar, Tim Swingler and Mohammed Saghir.

More specifically, the aforementioned half-dozen are enrolled in a 12-month apprenticeship scheme which involves tuition during work hours as well as studying for a Level 3 NVQ and CII certificate.

Joanne Allot, meanwhile is working towards a Level 3 NVQ in Customer Services (a new concept we are thinking of introducing here at Bankstone), also over 12 months under the aegis of Park Lane College.

Finally, Cara Lutz and Charlotte Gilchrist are both bearing down steely-eyed on a Level 2 in Business Administration (ditto) at The Huddersfield National Business College. The pair then intend working towards a Level 3 in Customer Service.

September 18, 2009

Direct Line has been in the news taking a high-profile stand against meaningless fines for uninsured young drivers.

What is the bloomin’ point – the comparison-averse insurer asks – of fining some kid £50 for driving uninsured when it’s saving them two or three grand a year?

Uninsured drivers cost other road users something like thirty quid a year on their premiums. But the latest Government rethink could see fines fall from the current average £185 to as little as £50 (if paid within 30 days).

How can this make sense compared with £1000 for not having a TV licence or dodging your bus fare Direct Line wants to know? Getting nabbed with spray-can in hand can get you fined £5k – but how many people lose their lives to graffiti? Probably fewer than the 160 killed each year by uninsured drivers.

Andy Goldby, Director of Motor Underwriting at Direct Line, says, “The severity of penalties must act as a deterrent to those considering driving without insurance. Of the 1.5 million uninsured drivers on our roads, only 260,000 are convicted each year. If the fines are less than the average insurance premium then it’s not going to stop them re-offending.”

All very convincing. So why has no one stood up and made a fuss about all this before? Could it possibly be for fear of spelling out to younger drivers that they’re better off without insurance?

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