Picture Story

October 30, 2009

Held to coincide with Bankstone’s near triumph in the Daytona Milton Keynes Insurance Endurance karting event last month, this year’s Insurance Rear of the Year awards was as hotly contested as ever.

October 30, 2009

Regular readers will know that Bankstone News is an avid connoisseur of statistics. Fascinating, then, to learn that “men are three times more likely than women to be killed or seriously injured on the hard shoulder.”

That’s according to automotive accessory specialist Comma, who quote DfT stats indicating that 2,058 males were killed or seriously injured on the motorway hard shoulder between 1994 and 2008 (i.e. about 140 a year) compared with just 768 women (about 50).

Accepting that men travel 20% more than women, Comma reckon the residual disparity is attributable to “men being more likely to attempt investigating the problem, rather than moving a safe distance from the car and awaiting professional rescue as road safety agencies advise.”

Hang on, they’ve got a psychologist, or something: “Men tend to be ego-driven, preferring to be seen as the rescuer,” scoffs Philip Hodson, Fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. “They tend to believe that they can fix the problem, even if, in reality, they couldn’t even begin to comprehend the car’s technology.” Poor fools!

Clearly there’s an uncomfortable disparity between being seen as a rescuer and being seen (if only fleetingly) as an oversized dimly lit rag doll summarily swept away by the hurtling bulk of an HGV.

With the daylight hours receding, and the clocks going back, now is a peak time of year for such incidents – because as Comma put it, “when you are outside of your car in the dark you are effectively invisible.”

If only just making a single attractively-priced purchase from a supplier of automotive accessories could somehow abate this needless roadside harvest of souls.

Wait, it can!

Yes, spend just [insert price] on a 5-litre pack of Comma Performance Motor Oil and you’ll get a special high-vis vest to wear whenever your wife insists you pull over, get out, and find out what’s the matter. Research shows you’ll be four times less likely to die.

Don’t worry, she’ll find some other way of getting rid of you.

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October 30, 2009

In street parlance, you are frontin’ if you attempt to impress someone by pretending to be something you are not.

In insurance parlance, you are frontin’ if you attempt to save money by naming a child as second driver on your motor policy when they are really the main driver.

OK, you knew that already. But did you also know (You did? You read it in a proper insurance news publication? Oh well, space to fill here, Folks) that the average age of children on their parent’s motor policies is now 31?!

Assuming quite a few of those on their parent’s policies are in their teens or early twenties, there must be a good few 40 or 50 year-old “children” dragging up that average.

According to “new research” from uSwitch.com, one in ten car insurance policies includes a child as an additional named driver. While some of these 2.5 million offspring may indeed be only occasional users of the parental vehicle, others may safely be assumed to be up to something rather more nefarious.

Switch man Mark Monteiro says “Not only are hard-up ‘kidults’ living at home longer, but they are hanging around on their parents’ insurance policies for longer too. It is illegal to buy and register a car in your own name, but falsely tell the insurer that a parent is the main driver.

“The penalties for being caught could be severe. A new driver could be treated as uninsured, be fined heavily and receive six penalty points – resulting in an automatic ban and setting them up for higher insurance costs in the future.”


October 30, 2009

The coppers’ nets are positively heaving with crashforcashers these days. Hardly a day goes by with out a fresh haul.

Still twitching on an East London quayside this week are Millwall residents Injad Miah, 24, Noor Ahmed, 22, and Sanu Ahmed, 29, Whitechapel’s Sazzad Miah, 24, Barking boy Mohammed Ilias, 20, Poplar’s Mafizul Islam, 40, Romford’s Koyas Miah, 28 and Kosru Miah, 25, and, representing Dagenham, Milad Hussain, 23, Dilwar Hussain, 21, and Iqbal Hussain.

All 11 appeared in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with various combinations of fraud and conspiracy in connection with motor insurance claims. They have been bailed to appear (or not, as the case may prove) at Southwark Crown Court on 18 December.


October 30, 2009

It’s busier than ever over at Swinton as the broker contacts 350,000 customers offering refunds on premiums they paid for payment protection insurance they may never have asked for.

Fined £770,000 by the FSA for automatically including PPI in quotes without asking customers whether they wanted it, Swinton got off lightly according to consumer campaigner Which?

“This is a truly shocking case,” claims Whichy woman Vera Cottrell.
Swinton “saddled thousands of people with unnecessary and unsuitable insurance,” she argues. Refunds, she says, should be automatic not something people have to apply for.

Swinton is believed to have made £7.8 million from PPI before the FSA told it to stop selling the product in March 2008. In addition to adding the cover automatically, Swinton advisors were accused of “failing to make clear that PPI was optional.”

In other news, Chief Solomon Fasamenseh has insisted that bandits in Mankuna district who purloined ten goats from the flocks of local villagers must pay a fine of one goat at once or suffer the consequences.


October 23, 2009

Now officially more popular than Wayne Rooney (estimated value circa £30m), comparethemarket mascot Aleksandr Orlov has been put on the market for a mere £19.95.

Yes, for under twenty quid you will soon be able purchase your very own Aleksandr Orlov exclusively from gaudy Knightsbridge bazaar Harrods. Clad in smoking jacket and cravat, this year’s must-have Christmas toy even says “simples” if you jab him in the ribs.

In other meerkat news: Arshenal’s Andrey Arsavin apparently now endures the nickname meerkat on account of his accent. But have you ever wondered why meerkats – indigenous to South West Africa should be speaking with Russian accents?

Creative post-rationalisations include his arrival as a student back in the cold war era when many Africans shivered their way through a Soviet higher education, and – the official version – that he was kidnapped by Russian gangsters – but escaped… hmmm.

Could it be perhaps that the ad agency confused meerkats with another steppe-dwelling burrowing mammal the Marmot (marmota bobac) who might be expected to have a Russian – or at least a Mongolian – accent?

Apparently not. Ad agency insiders have confirmed the worst suspicions of thin-skinned East Europeans who regard the ads as racist by admitting the whole thing stemmed from hearing someone pronounce comparethemarket with a Slavic accent.

And the name? Borrowed perhaps from Alexander Mikhailovich Orlov the soviet spymaster who directed the kidnapping and execution of the POUM leader Andreu Nin before defecting to the US in 1938. Or could it be (this week’s cheap excuse for a picture of a scantily clad female) that they were inspired by Russian philologist Marina Orlova?

No idea, mate.

But love or loath, it’s hard to quibble with a spokescreature who took CTM’s brand awareness from 20% to 59% in the first eight months of the campaign, resulting in an 80% rise in quotes requested and a 73% drop in acquisition costs.


October 23, 2009

In previous editions of Bankstone News we may inadvertently have suggested that crash for cash fraudsters were subtly devious schemers with a sublime genius for artful deception – or something like that. Anyway – sorry – turns out they’re not.

Not, at least if the latest high-profile perpetrator nabbed by the law is anything to go by. So subtle was fraudster Mohammed Patel that he staged the exact same accident (braking suddenly to provoke rear-end shunt) over and over again on the exact same roundabout (Stockport’s Eden Point on the A34) until workers in the office over the road grew suspicious and photographed Patel on the day he crashed twice inside an hour.

In 93 known incidents Patel conned £1.6m out of insurers – spending it on expensive cars and girlfriend – charging £500 a time to crash other people’s cars enabling them to claim for whiplash and other fictitious injuries. For every monkey Patel netted, insurers paid out an average £17,000 without apparently spotting Eden Point as a bit of a black spot.

Patel was handed a four and a half year sentence in a Manchester court this week and banned from driving for three and a half years. So no practicing your handbrake turns in the exercise for you, Mr Patel.

The Guardian reported one of his victims’ suspicions were aroused when he asked Mr Patel why he stopped so suddenly. Patel, clutching a piece of paper on which the “driver’s” details were neatly copied down, responded: “Didn’t you see the motorbike?”

“It was a bit comical,” his co-collisionist noted, “because the passenger and driver both got out of the car holding their necks and saying they were in pain. Most people know whiplash is not instantaneous.”


October 23, 2009

Ever wished it could be summer all year long? Well soon it could, following the publication of a report by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee recommending that we no longer put back the clocks for winter.

Their logic appears to be that lots of people – pedestrians in particular – are injured due to a seasonal surge in accidents in October and November – and that this is not necessarily a good thing.

“The end of British Summer Time appears to be a significant factor,” the report says,  noting that “the period immediately after the clocks go back is more dangerous for road travel, even compared to other dark months such as January.”

The statistics also show that far more people are injured in the late afternoon and evening than in the morning.

Abolishing winter time is likely to be popular with drivers of most motor vehicles, making the evenings lighter longer and easing the transition into total wintry gloom. But, of course, it will never happen due to stiff resistance from drivers of mud-spattered quad bikes, tractors, Landrovers and other farm vehicles.

The case for making the change is bolstered by the outcome of an experiment carried out in the 1970s which appeared to show a fall in accidents involving pedestrians – and in particular children walking home from school – thanks to an extra hour of light at the end of the day.

But even summertime all year isn’t good enough for The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, who argue for something called “single double summer time” which would provide one hour’s additional daylight in summer and two in winter – sure to get the tractor men seething.


October 22, 2009

Insurers like speed cameras. Most believe they help prevent accidents and so bring claims costs down. So they won’t have liked what they heard from the Tories at their recent annual conference.

Shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers has pledged an end to the expansion of the UK’s speed camera network. There will be no government funding for new fixed speed cameras, she said, if the Conservatives win the next election.

If councils still want to install them they will have to raise the money themselves, she insisted. They will also need to prepare a report each year on the effectiveness of each camera in use and consider alternatives.

“Labour’s army of speed cameras,” Villiers snorted derisively, “is not the best way to make our roads safer. It is time to say enough is enough on fixed speed cameras – we have reached the high water mark.”

Whether she – or anyone else – actually went on to say “enough is enough on fixed speed cameras – we have reached the high water mark” Bankstone News is unable to confirm at the time of going to press.


October 16, 2009

Deborah Greenwood has joined Bankstone in the role of Broker Development Manager.

Her previous career includes 21 years with RSA in a variety of roles across underwriting, claims and relationship management, most recently as claims account manager.

Bankstone director Dickon Tysoe comments: “With her wide experience and understanding of the personal lines insurance market, Debs will add a whole new dimension to the Bankstone offering.”

Deborah Greenwood adds: “I believe customer service and empathy with the claimant is paramount in delivering a first-class claims service, and I am looking forward to putting that theory into practice with such a dynamic and forward thinking firm as Bankstone.”

Beyond the world of insurance, Debs pursues a parallel existence in the world of athletics – high jump and distance running in particular – coaching with Halifax Harriers and Calderdale schools and competing in this year’s London marathon.

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