Bike insurance boring? Not any more!

May 26, 2010

Carole Nash has a new face, and, confusingly, it appears to be a male face – with a beard!

In fact the new face of Carole Nash looks suspiciously like the old face of Ewan McGregor’s mate Charley Boorman.

Aside from spelling his name like a girl, Boorman, famous for being friends with Ewan McGregor, is very much all male. He must be, because he’s hairy and he likes bikes.

Now Boorman – a friend of actor Ewan McGregor – will represent Carole Nash at motorcycle shows and write a fortnightly blog for their website.

Excitingly, Carole Nash customers will now have the opportunity to purchase books and DVDs featuring Boorman – a friend of Scottish actor Ewan McGregor – at a discount, without even waiting for them to be remaindered!

“As a vocal and high profile supporter of biking and bikers, Charley is the ideal ambassador for Carole Nash,” said head of marketing, Rebecca Donohue. “Sadly, we couldn’t afford his more charismatic friend Ewan McGregor,” she tactfully refrained from adding.

May 26, 2010

The shocking findings of a new survey by Ford reveal that millions of British motorists are trying to save money.

In the process many are running crazy risks like skimping on vehicle maintenance or roadside assistance cover.

If they think that’s the answer to rising road tax and fuel costs, they need a long cold taste of good old-fashioned medicine!

Consuming group Which? estimates that one in six motorists experience a breakdown at least once a year – probably because things keep going wrong with their cars.

But – incredibly – 18 per cent of the 2,000 motorists surveyed by Ford have no roadside assistance cover, and 15 per cent have put off routine servicing to save money.

Contrary to popular opinion (see illustration) young drivers are actually the worst. Thirty five per cent of 18 to 24 year olds and 28 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds don’t bother with roadside assistance. People in London are also bad.

Ford say everyone should stop being so foolish and purchase Ford Assistance 12, which is both cheap and good. “The importance of good maintenance doesn’t change,” insists Paul Muers, marketing manager, Ford Customer Service Division.

May 26, 2010

Bankstone and friends are gearing up again for this year’s charity monkey bike odyssey which takes place over the weekend of 10th/11th July.

Yes. It’s that time of year again when Bankstone gets a hankerin’ for saddling up on tiny bikes and tooling round the hills and dales of Yorkshire to raise money for Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA).

Last year’s Monkey Moviestars concept – see video evidence – was a runaway success in every conceivable respect other than actually raising any ******* money. Cue radical re-think.

This year we’re getting serious. No more Mssrs Nice Guy. The fun and games of last year’s Monkey Moviestars concept is firmly back in mothballs, bubblewrapped and on ice too, just to be sure.

Yes, this time – sure as Heinz meanz beanz – Bankstone means business. Monkey Business to be precise.

Our cunning plan for making some proper money to keep Yorkshire Ambulance saving lives goes like this:

Forget the glamorous film locations – this year we’re visiting real live motorcycle-related businesses the length and breadth of Yorkshire to fleece them good and properly for charity.

Forget, also, dressing up in funny costumes – apart, possibly, from Bernie The Bear – and think instead, not of what Monkey Business can do for you, but of what you can do for Monkey Business.

We’re seeking 10 bike-related businesses around Yorkshire to play host to our traveling troupe of monkeybikers. We’ve already found five – in Harrogate, Northallerton, York and – inevitably – Brighouse. But we need five more.

So, if your business has some connection – however tenuous – with bikes, please let us know – particularly if you’re somewhere far flung, accessible only via scenic routes o’er hill and dale – or somewhere near the sea, or something.

We’re offering lashings of positive publicity and the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from doing something decent for once in your miserable lives. In return, all you need do is play host briefly to a bunch of idiots on monkeybikes and come up with some readies for YAA.

Current stops-offs include the premises of a motorcycle hire business, a motorcycle salvage business, a motorcycle accident repair centre, a motorcycle insurance broker, and a motorcycle breakdown and recovery business. If you’re something like a motorcycle butcher, a motorcycle chemist or a motorcycle barbershop – you too could join this prestigious line up. If you know any businesses who might fit the bill, please let us know!

Of course, we’re also looking for riders, support crews, corporate sponsors, collection tin shakers, and general hangers on as usual. So if you’re interested in getting involved please email Dickon Tysoe. And don’t hang about – there’s barely six weeks to go.

And because we’re deadly serious about hitting our £10k charity target, this year we’re asking all riders to donate £75 each to YAA or commit to raising at least £150 in sponsorship.

Incidentally – if you don’t already own a monkeybike – and why would you – we can help you fill this void in your life. Easy Rider have once again stepped in to offer hot-off-the-production-line new-in-the-uk 125cc Monkeys at the stupifyingly low price of just £600.

Let us know as soon as possible we can get your bikes badged-up in your corporate livery and delivered pre-event.

May 25, 2010

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (Apil) is appalled at apparent Lib Con plans to pull the plug on the proposed Civil Law Reform Bill, reports Post magazine.

Notably absent from the Queen’s speech, the bill appears to have been punted out of play. But Apil are appealing to put it back on the programme.

This a bitter pill for injured people up and down the land, argues Apil president Muiris Lyons. “The draft Civil Law Reform Bill had a lot of holes in it” he says, “but it was, at least, a starting point for long overdue reform.”

Apil previously pilloried the powers that be, Post reports, for not implementing the Law Commission’s decade-old recommendations that general damages should be increased by 50%. Now it looks like they’re up to their old tricks again!

May 25, 2010

Consternation reigns following the publication of a scientific study purporting to demonstrate that women are better than men at telling people where to go.

The controversial findings were first published in the Journal of Pragmatics (previously best known as a minor character in the works of acclaimed French authors Goscinny and Uderzo) and subsequently popularised by national newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

Despite what the LibToryGraph describes as “women’s woeful reputation on the road,” it seems they are better than males at giving verbal directions to passing motorists.

One tentative explanation for women’s superior performance in tests is that they like talking and will sometimes even think about what they are saying before they say it.

Men were far more ready to offer estimates of distance – but usually wrong. Women were less keen to estimate, but better at it – supporting the theory that men will just say the first that comes in to their heads particularly to strangers who they’ll probably never see again anyway.

“Women,” the Telegraph reports, “were more likely to take their time over giving directions, with twice as many as the men “pausing significantly” and even talking to themselves out loud as they went through the route.”

But for male readers feeling undermined by evidence of ladies’ superior direction-giving prowess, the online edition of The Telegraph offers links to the following reassuring stories:

– Half a million road crashes caused by women drivers applying make-up

– Women and gay men are worst drivers

– Woman driver caught flossing teeth at 70mph on motorway

– Women worse at parking

May 21, 2010

Brutal is how Insurance Times describes RBSI’s recent round of job cuts. But it’s all about getting the business ready for sale or flotation in 2013, the paper claims.

Bodily injury is what sunk RNLI last year, when the firm’s net income dropped from £584m to £54m – with £449m set aside as reserves for bodily injury claims. Then in Q1 2010 the state-owned insurer’s income turned negative.

All is not lost, however. RBSI has a cunning plan. In addition to culling headcount, this includes getting serious about fraud control and putting up rates for business likely to result in bodily injury claims.

Another plan strand is ‘cutting out’ aggregators and leveraging brand name to go direct to the customer. Insurance Times appears to doubt whether the savings realised by doing this and ditching staff will really allow RNLI to cut costs sufficiently to out-compete the market and fund the advertising costs involved in direct customer acquisition.

But the paper applauds the cull and suggests “a low-cost operating high growth company, with a strong control on its claims expenses, is an attractive proposition for investor investors looking to buy up shares in the business by the time it divests in 2013.”

And that, Insurance Times argues – in direct contradiction of the established identification of the Hokey Cokey in this role – is what it is all about.

May 21, 2010

The dial on Bankstone News’ tattered random news story selector (TRNSS) spins listlessly for a second or two before juddering to a halt on the letter B.

This week B stands for (don’t worry it’s nothing rude)… Brightside.

So what have they been up to? Only hatching plans to snap up eCar and eBike, according to Insurance Times (on top of a copy of which we appear to have left the TRNSS this week.)

But surely they would need something like GBP9m to fund such an acquisition you protest not unreasonably. Well duh! (© That’s why they’re looking to raise £9m by issuing 36 million new ordinary shares.

Hopefully they are not writing all those certificates out by hand.

Apparently the money will enable Darkside to buy some books belonging to eCar and eBike, along with their renewal and new business rights.

Brightside chief Chauncey Gardiner said the purchase will “enhance the Group’s footprint in the personal lines insurance market.”

He also opined that getting the Brightside corporate foot on eCar’s pedal “represents an opportunity to further accelerate the growth of this product and its earnings potential.”

Weirdly, neither eCar nor eBike are actually based in Yorkshire. Less interstingly, both are already owned by individuals associated with Darkside in some complicated way you can hardly expect Bankstone News to fathom.

May 21, 2010

From the point of view of brevity, the Association of Chief Police Officer’s Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service’s preferred acronym AVCIS is marginally better than logical alternative ACPOVCIS, but not quite as good as AVIS – as we shall see.

As you will doubtless be aware, this week – 17th to 23rd May – is National Car Crime Week, AVCIS’ annual reminder to motorists that they could soon become victims of car crime if they don’t look out.

“From car theft to cloning, finance fraud to trafficking,” they warn, vehicle crime is out to get you. Be vigilant, they suggest, keep your car keys out of sight and avoid doing things that will make it easier for villains to swipe your motor.

Eager to trade on their near-identical monikers, car rental outfit AVIS have generously “shown their support” for National Car Crime Week by providing a checklist of car security do’s and don’ts in the news section of their website.

Bankstone News is seriously considering doing something similar – but first a word from AVIS.

AVIS UK Security Manager Robert Donovan says Car Crime Week is “a great initiative. As a former policeman,” he continues, “I’ve too often encountered car crimes that could be avoided.” Drivers should be alert, he claims.

AVIS’ top five tips are as follows:

1. Lock the car when you leave it
2. If you rent or – if you must – own a satnav system, don’t leave the fittings in the car and wipe away any markings on the windscreen
3. In fact, never leave anything in your car – especially not anything electrical, because “criminals have devices which tell them exactly what is in your car”
4. Always leave your car in a safe area
5. Keep your car locked when you are driving – otherwise thieves will steal things out of the back, or get in and carjack you, or something, when you are “sat in traffic.”

Don’t have nightmares!

May 14, 2010

Congratulations to ARAG, worthy winners of not one but two awards at the Claims Technology Awards in Manchester last week. ARAG was the only company to pick up two awards on the night. Presumably they were quite heavy.

The awards in question were for Most Innovative use of Software by an Insurer and Outstanding Team of the Year.

The first came on the strength of ARAG’s groundbreaking online ATE policy application and administration system, now in use at solicitors’ offices across the UK.

The second recognised the outstanding combined efforts of ARAG’s ATE Claims and Underwriting teams.

Modestly, MD Tony Buss claimed only that ARAG is “on the right track” in its efforts to “pioneer new types of legal expenses insurance and new approaches to doing business in this sector,” leaving it to Marketing Director Paul Hurley to spell out just how awards get won: “Our overall product and service offering is leading edge,” he said, “making ARAG, for all the right reasons, stand out in this very competitive market.”

Given that just six months ago ARAG also won the coveted award for ATE Insurance Provider of the Year, they must be doing something right!

May 13, 2010

In a current TV ad for the ubiquitous Max Beezley congratulates his audience ironically for putting together a lovely CV then filing it away where no one will see it. “Genius!” he observes with evident contempt.

Could this be the start of a vogue for ads mocking the stupidity of their target audience? If so, is right on the money, warning motorists not to put the wrong kind of fuel in their cars.

Things can go wrong with your car if you do, warns Will Thomas, confused head of motor insurance.

“Accidents do happen,” he notes ruefully, adding that “drivers realising they have done this should notify a breakdown company or local garage immediately. Above all they must not drive the vehicle,” he explains with a commendable economy of punctuation.

There’s “no hard and fast rule” he observes – paraphrasing the memorably self-defeating declaration of that bloke who takes on Butch Cassidy in a short-lived “knife” fight – but not all insurance providers cover misfuelling.

If you think you may be stupid or easily confused, he suggests, it’s probably a good idea to check with you insurer before you stick any nozzles where they’re not meant to go.

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After the problems I had with my previous insurer when I was knocked off my bike, it was very refreshing to talk to someone who didn't automatically assume that I was at fault simply because I ride a motorbike. I received a call back very quickly from someone who knew what I was talking about and dealt with my call in a friendly yet very professional manner. Thank you.
Mr. L - Westcliff on Sea