SAM incoming

March 25, 2010

Craig Moore has joined Bankstone as Strategic Account Manager. He comes to Bankstone from Accident Exchange, where he was Insurance Account Manager. Craig has also previously worked for Helphire and FMG, and, less recently, spent 11 years at Arval.

“I am delighted to be joining the team at Bankstone,” Craig maintains gamely, “and really looking forward to the opportunity of helping the business grow even further using my previous experience in the accident management arena.”

Bizarrely, Craig has interests beyond the world of motor claims. These include foreign travel and following First Division Swindon Town FC – two interests unlikely to overlap, obviously, any time in the foreseeable future.

March 23, 2010

It seems Bankstone News has been labouring under a delusion. Several, probably. But a shock discovery online this morning has brutally disabused us of our former fond belief that there’s more nonsense in Bankstone News than in any other insurance news publication.

How wrong we were!

Well known middle-class retail chain John Lewis appears to have its own insurance blog. “Not only top insurance blog but more…” runs the descriptive subheading on its masthead.

In reality, the blog in question appears to have been written either by a non-English speaker armed with a dictionary or by an experimental poet who’s plugged a bunch of press releases into a (not particularly precise) random synonym generator.

If the above sounds more like a performance of nonsense than a description, try the following story from Insurance Blog by John Lewis, reproduced verbatim:

‘It’s decorous: Sears Tower is now Big Willie

Chicago’s Sears Dungeon has been renamed Willis Tower in a ceremony this week.

Willis chief leadership Joe Plumeri and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley officially renamed the stronghold in a ceremony attended by local government leaders, the building’s owners, and Willis personnel.

London-based insurer Willis secured naming rights for the building as element of an agreement to lease office blocks in the 110-floor skyscraper.

However, local protesters resent the tower – which opened in 1973 and is seen as allegorical of American capitalism – being named after a British company.

To enunciate their anger at Willis, campaigners have branded the tower ‘Esteemed Willie’.

When it opened, the tower was the tallest structure in the world, and retained the title until 1998.

Despite restricted opposition, Willis believes the tower will make the company a household personage across the US.

“Everybody knows that tower,” said chief official Joe Plumeri before the naming ceremony.

“If we’re okay corporate citizens and do what we should, hopefully Willis and the turret and Chicago will all become synonymous.” ‘

The letters WTF, somehow come to mind.

Surreal language aside, this is actually not the first time a link has been posited between tall structures and phalli (see learned discussion).

In other news on the site, Equity Red Star becomes “Even-handedness Red Star,” Saga are rebranded Heroic Legend, and we learn that Forensic accountancy firm Forths has opened a new office in a “rate 2 listed building” in Leeds which will “enable the cane to enjoy more room, and upgraded bull session and hospitality facilities.”

Reading between the lines, it looks like someone in China has put Insurance Daily through some kind of language randomiser in an attempt to disguise its sources and corner the lucrative insurance news supplier franchise.

If you think we made this up, you can check out the site here – guaranteed LOLs – unless there’s been some kind of legal intervention by the time you read this and it’s disappeared into cyberspace. Probably best not click on any suspicious links while you’re there though!

Nelson’s “Column” Photo:

March 22, 2010

The great thing about insurance – wait don’t stop reading – is that there’s nothing much under the sun that doesn’t have an insurance angle to it one way or another. Say, for example, Bankstone News fancied taking a break from blathering on about motor insurance claims related things and directing your attention instead to a disused warehouse full of bric a brac behaving in a domino-effect like manner – nothing simpler!

American popular musicians (hope to God they’re not Canadians; can’t be bothered to Google them), OK Go have created what they believe is the world’s biggest ever Rube Goldberg machine in order to shower themselves with paint (bit like that car advertisement) but more chaotic. Click here to watch the video (do they still call them that?) on YouTube.

Where’s the insurance angle? “Made possible” by State Farm insurance, whose logo apparently features in the clip at some point – as well as in the end credit – though Bankstone News has yet to spot it. Maybe you can. Email with the YouTube minutes:seconds reference and we’ll tell your superior officer how you’ve been spending your time.

March 21, 2010

The House of Commons Transport Committee is unimpressed with HMG’s recent bike test regime changes.

Shutting smaller local test centres in favour of larger centralised Multipurpose Test Centres was – like an old, useless and cataract-afflicted Rudolf bludgeoned slowly to death by candystick-wielding elves – a bad idea badly executed.

The Committee’s report found that implementation of the new Multigrow Compost Centres has – like Rainbow’s Geoffrey in his too-alluring knitwear – been bungled.

Now – like decent jokes in Bankstone News – the centres are too few and too far apart, resulting – like the non-availability of specially adapted ICC-approved cricket-cycles – in delays to the launch of the new bike test.

Committee Chairbeing, Louise Ellman MP commented, “Many candidates and trainers now have to travel too far for their motorcycle test. This adds to the cost, and in some cases, exposes candidates to fast and dangerous roads on the way to a test site before they have even taken their test. The Driving Standards Agency needs to give much greater priority to customer service and convenience for test candidates and trainers.”

Some have argued that there was “nothing wrong with the old way of doing things” and that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I always say.” But the committee accepted that a revised test regime was needed following the introduction of new European legislation.

It did however feel that the Government had maybe got a bit carried away and that – like the hairy bloke from Joy of Sex – it had perhaps been guilty of “gilding the lily” by over-elaborating the test through the introduction of “more manoeuvres than is strictly required.”

“Motorcyclists make up just 1% of road users,” noted Ms Ellman, “but account for 19% of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.” Like someone who realises that the moment for long-winded would-be humourous similes may have passed, we’ll simply tell you that the committee thought it would be a good idea if the Government collected some “robust and reliable data” on motorcycle deaths and injuries – including those taking place during (or on the way to?) tests. If there turn out to be a lot of the latter, the committee suggested, another test re-think might be a good idea.

It’s like common sense gone crazy!

March 21, 2010

Following a winter in which the ABI’s motor insurance claims counters have passed the quarter million mark (cash value: £400 million), a Middlesex broker has issued a statement that finally puts things in their proper perspective.

Dave Stoneageman of Flint Insurance explains exactly what went so badly wrong with motor claims this year:

“Over the winter months, Britain has experienced an unprecedented amount of snow and ice, which has created hazardous conditions for many motorists. This has led to many motor accidents, which have been caused by drivers losing control of their vehicles and also due to damage which has occurred as a result of pot holes, due to poorly maintained roads.”

At Bankstone News we just knew potholes had something to do with it! (A pot hole is the same thing as a pothole, isn’t it?)

But who are these experts in the science of cold-weather motor accident causation? Well, Flint Insurance are an independent insurance broker, based in Harrow, Middlesex. With over 30 years’ experience in the trade, they can offer a range of cover for businesses as well as personal insurance including specialist lady driver insurance for clients throughout the UK. By using a panel of over 35 insurers, they can provide the most appropriate and cost-effective cover for their clients.

Don’t say Bankstone News doesn’t do in-depth!

March 20, 2010

Those penny-pinching clutchpurses over at Allianz have been quibbling over credit hire charges again. Insurance Times and Post Magazine both covered the news this week that Allianz has successfully contested charges relating to a £500 per day replacement vehicle provided to Sunderland striker Darren Bent via Accident Exchange. But frankly Bankstone News is b*ggered if it can make much sense of the reports on their websites.

The reports agree on some things: following damage to the Tooting-born footballist’s Mercedes CLS Coupé, he decided to settle for a measly Aston Martin DB9 as its temporary replacement. Post claim the incident happened “in February.” Seeing as it’s only mid-March now, the bill for 94 days’ hire with which Allianz were reportedly landed would certainly seem a bit rich.

Luckily, Insurance Times is on hand to clear up this apparent temporal anomaly: “The striker was involved in a road traffic accident in February,” they clarify, when his Mercedes CLS Coupe was damaged by an Allianz policyholder.”

OK, that’s much clearer. Wonder if the policyholder was driving at the time. But hang on, Post says: “The striker, a policyholder with Allianz, was involved in a road traffic accident in February where his Mercedes CLS Coupe was damaged.”

Does that mean Bent and the damager were both coincidentally Allianz Policyholders?

Did one of these trusted insurance industry news sources accidentally garble the facts whilst attempting to create the impression of not having simply cut and pasted an Allianz press release?

Or – cue three ascending minor chords, the last extended for dramatic effect – were Mr Bent and the damager one and the same person?!

And what about the unprecedented speed with which the case was settled… on appeal?

Bankstone News has uncovered a trail of clues all pointing towards the shocking conclusion that the damage in question – whoever may have been the damager – occurred, not this February – pause – but in February 2009 – or possibly even longer ago than that!

Three clues in particular point to this conclusion:

Clue 1: When asked last year on a fan site what car he drove, Bent replied Aston Martin (also noting that he really likes Michael Jackson and thinks nuclear bombs were a bad invention).

Clue 2: his twitter name – the one he famously used to publicise his view that Daniel Levy should “stop f***ing about” over the player’s proposed transfer from Spurs to Sunderland is DB10thetruth. Now, 10 is one more than 9, ergo QED!

Oh and (Clue 3): ahead of the game as they may be, it somehow seems improbable that Post Magazine could already have been writing back in December last year about the fallout from an incident that had yet to occur. Probably the clincher, that one.

“I’d always wanted a car with the same initials as my name,” England’s third or fourth best striker has never actually said, “but really I prefer Range Rovers.”


Someone’s actually done some proper fact-finding on this since Bankstone News posted the story on Friday – and it turns out Benty did – not altogether unsurprisingly – have another vehicle, but didn’t think a 4×4 was quite the thing for driving in and out of London. Tell that to all the capital’s yummy mummies/gangstas et al. racing over speed bumps in their Chelsea tractors!

March 19, 2010

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Visit for more details.

March 19, 2010

A survey conducted by Which? magazine has found that insurance brands sailing under the Admiral’s ensign are quoting higher car insurance premiums for people who have not lived in the UK since birth.

The Which? survey established that, by Admiral criteria, people born outside Britain should expect to pay almost 20% more for their car insurance than those who were born in the UK. No other insurer appeared to have a similar policy on non-native motorists.

Accused of discrimination on the basis of national origin, the Admiral quickly broke down and confessed to being a residencist. A spokesman told Post Magazine this week “We do rate on the age someone first comes to the UK. This is not an origin question, but a residency question. We do not ask any questions on where a person is from.”

Very tactful.

Of course there will always be those who argue that underwriting is inherently discriminatory and should be outlawed at once. Fair enough, takes all sorts and that, but isn’t it time the voice of common sense got a hearing?

Now – don’t get me wrong, no offence, with all due respect – Bankstone News isn’t a residencist or anything, but surely all right-minded people know in their hearts that it’s high time somebody took a stand against all these people coming over here and taking our affordable motor insurance quotes.

Tricorns off to Admiral we say!

White Admiral, Photo Credit: Bugman50/BradSmith

March 18, 2010

The French are famously passionate. Sometimes they can be passionate about some rather odd things: ideas, cheese, Johnny Hallyday.

The latest manifestation of these erratically-directed enthusiasms is AXA’s professed passion for ‘respect on the road.’

A new website of that name invites visitors to “share our passion and help to bring courtesy and respect back to British roads.” Alarmingly it notes that “inexperienced drivers all too often give themselves away behind the wheel of a car” – which certainly sounds like a dangerous thing to do, particularly if the car is moving at the time.

It’s all part of the multi-million-pound launch of AXA’s first direct assault on the car insurance buying public. With the slogan “Experienced Drivers Wanted” and the alluring promise of 90% discounts for those not in the habit of making claims, AXA has sensible drivers squarely in its sights.

Visitors to the company’s new Respect on the Road website will literally marvel at its vast array of content aimed at the “more experienced” driver. For example:

Item 1: Charley Boorman kicks off the Respect campaign by checking out who has the most annoying horn.

Item 2: Download the aptly named AxaDent iPhone app, which talks you through what to do if you want to make a motor insurance claim, and even allows you to capture photos of any vehicle damage following an accident.

Item 3: Watch power-dressed people barge, assault and shout at one another on a crowded sidewalk as the YouTube version of the latest AXA TV ad shows what it would be like if pedestrians were as disrespectful as car drivers – until finally a smug man in an executive saloon cruises blithely past them through a red light, and the ‘regular geezer’ voice-over tells us:

With AXA, experience can bring its own rewards,” – as opposed, presumably, to the rewards more properly pertaining to some other quality or attribute – “Up to 90% no claims discount on your car insurance. Experienced drivers wanted. AXA: redefining standards.”

Redefining standards, incidentally sounds like a great idea. That old thing about “rules by which to measure quality or quantity” is really starting to sound a bit old hat.

Item 4: Blogger The Respecter fumes, with throbbing temples, about how his tranquil enjoyment of Radio 4’s Play for Today has been rudely interrupted at a roundabout when “some imbecile coming the other way suddenly lurches in front of me, as he idiotically exits right without indicating his intentions.”

Perhaps The Respecter’s tag is intended ironically. Channeling Victor Meldrew certainly seems an odd way of promoting respect for fellow road-users.

His supposed middle-aged credentials look slightly shaky too. Shouldn’t he know his Afternoon Play from his Play for Today. Would-be deft-touch details like being told by his doctor to give up Battenberg cake for the sake of his heart are surely laying it on a little thick. Stand by for references to cardigans and slippers in future postings.

Items 5, 6, 7 &c.: Much, much, more….

So what about that crazy TV ad?

“Who needs another car insurance company?” ask WMO, the advertising agency responsible for the TV ads, on their website. “When AXA launched into this market they needed a campaign that would be talked about, while attracting the right kind of customer. By contrasting how ridiculously some people behave on the road with the value of experience, AXA has a campaign idea that not only communicates the benefits for experienced drivers but can also stimulate a genuine social debate.”

That debate looks set to run and run, with occasional breaks for a nice cuppa and a spot of sudoku, or when the grandchildren come round.

March 16, 2010

Only – ho, ho… Only – splutter – oh dear, I’m sorry! Only in America, as they say.

St Louis-based car dealership Lynch Hummer is giving away a free gun with every Hummer they sell. The stunt has made headlines around the world for the firm whose pricing is apparently “extremely aggressive.”

Maybe UK motor dealerships should try giving something dangerous away with every new vehicle sold. A five year old child perhaps?

Photo: Christian Meyn

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