Fancy a point?

April 15, 2011

Controversy has long raged as to whether one can justly claim – were it not sexist to do so – either that men are better drivers than women or women worse than men.

Male scorn at the ladies’ attempts to do complicated stuff like parallel parking is a staple of the internet. RTA footage on YouTube frequently features bantering laddish viewer comments such as ‘get back in the kitchen, luv’ and ‘stupid bitch deserves to be raped and killed!’

But new statistics compiled by CFC Solutions, the people behind Licence Link licence-checking software throw some fascinating new light on this long running, if generally rather one-sided, debate.

Men, it seems, have six times as many points on their licenses as women (and that’s not counting all the ones their partners take the hit for). Men have an average 0.579 points and women 0.095.

Medical experts claim it is perfectly safe for men to have up to three points a year as long as they drive responsibly, but that women, with their smaller frames and inferior ability to see over steering wheels, reach pedals etc, are well advised to be more abstemious.

CFC, who flog licence-checking software to fleet managers, claim the sex divide is even more marked among fleet drivers. ‘Women drivers are generally held to be involved in fewer road incidents than men,’ said somebody from CFC, whose name is not important.

“However,” he continues with a limp rhetorical flourish, “the difference among the company car and van drivers seen in our sample is even more exaggerated than among the public at large. Male drivers do appear to represent a much more significant risk management issue for employers.”

The conclusion seems glaringly obvious: fleet managers keen to reduce their insurance costs should sack all male drivers at once and employ only women instead. They could be like a cross between the angel pilots in Captain Scarlet and WRENs or WRAFs or WAGs or whatever.

This would have the happy side effect of affording former male employees greater leisure to practice their wit on the web.

April 15, 2011

The gnomes of Zurich are known for their gnomic knowledge. That and sitting on big stacks of other people’s money. Quite whose no-one knows but the gnomes. Zurich Insurance may also now know something no-one else knows i.e. that the motor insurance market in 2011 is ‘a game of two halves.’

Inspired by this inside-track knowledge, the firm has announced plans to get back into personal lines motor in the latter part of 2011. Even the most pie-obsessed and inattentive spectators will have noted how – following a run of disappointing results – motor insurers have been played off the pitch by Claims Cheats United in the first 90 minutes. But, after some changing room chat at half time, it’s all going to be very different come July, claims Zurich personal lines manager Karl Bedlow.

Speaking exclusively to Insurance Times (they really are the people top GI types turn to when they want to unburden their souls – or engage in tenuous footballing analogies), Beds noted laboriously that “We need to get through the process of making sure we’ve got all the capabilities we need, and the proposition and delivery designed in the right way, then we’re looking to enter the market again in a more substantial growth phase in the second half of 2011.”

April 15, 2011

Would you like to ‘get intimate with the key players in UKGI?’ That is the enticing prospect held out by newly redesigned industry mag Insurance Times.

‘We give you access to what the GI elite know and their deals at the top of the market,’ the paper boasts, which will certainly be interesting once we get out of the current trough.

The new-format paper appears to have been rapturously received in the GI market (saying GI a lot is very much the thing to do these days for those of us in the know). Insurance Times Editor Ellen Bennett claims to have received so many complimentary messages she has been able to construct some kind of raft out of them.

‘As editor of Insurance Times,’ she says, ‘I am truly delighted with the feedback from the launch of the new format magazine last week.” GI people are apparently falling over one another to tell Ms Bennett ‘how much quicker it is to get to grips with the key issues.’ The emails she finds ‘most pleasing’ however are from ‘people giving details of how well it meets their information needs as a professional in general insurance.’ It would certainly be fascinating to hear more about those details.

What other amazing abilities will the new publication confer on its reader? For one thing it will allow them to get “quickly up-to-speed with the most important UKGI news over 7 days,” which doesn’t sound that quick to Bankstone News; but what do we know?

Ingeniously the magazine’s agenda straddles the concerns of ‘GI leaders of today and tomorrow,’ and contains ‘issues that will get you talking.’ A special trial offer offers access to four ‘issues’ for just £24.95. Click here for further details.

For those on restricted budgets, however, Bankstone News has reiterated its commitment to remaining completely free of charge and can guarantee that anyone who reads it will end up none the wiser.

April 15, 2011

Plenty going on over at our sister company Bankstone Advantage these days. Latest announcement is that independent fleet management company Multileasing has teamed up with Bankstone Advantage Ltd to offer its clients an exclusive new accident management solution called RepairTrak.

To find out more click here.

April 13, 2011

PwC have picked up a doozy of an insurance business transformation project from state-owned financial services firm RBS.

Citing a desire to satisfy the strictures of Solvency II, the Royal Bankers have decided to scrunch up RBSI’s four insurance ventures, Direct Line, Churchill, NIG and UK Insurance, into a single underwriting entity. The plan is to use a Part VII transfer to fold the other three into UKI.

Pooling the capital, skill sets and support functions of the four should save some money, assuming all goes smoothly. And the regulator should approve. So bad news for some admin staff, no doubt, but outwardly not too much will change.

Will weirdly well-connected nodding mascot Churchill continue to grace the nation’s TV screens? Oh, yes!

Oh, well.

April 8, 2011

Hollywood likes to see people pushed off precipices. In the cartoon violence bear-fest that is 300, the spectacle of an overweening Persian embassy propelled into a (very large) well thrilled all those nostalgic for Fukuyama’s end of history who now believe well-throwing is the only language menacing foreigners understand. This memorable scene also led indirectly to children up and down this fair land shouting, at every available opportunity: This Is Sparta!

In Braveheart, with notably less historical justification, the character based on Edward II’s favourite Piers Gaviscon (see last week’s story), gets pushed off some battlements. If you want to push people of battlements, and you are not on a film set, one of the best places to go, of course, is a castle. Please note: Bankstone News does not recommend or advocate that you should push anyone off battlements or indeed any other high place – regardless of the satisfying opportunity this may provide to bellow: This Is Sparta!

And speaking of castles, have we mentioned that Bankstone is planning to visit 10 of these (assuming you count Castle Howard, which is more of a stately pile really, and from whose roof, disappointingly, neither Anthony Andrews nor Jeremy Irons was summarily launched during the filming of classic TV series Brideshead Revisited) over the summer on monkeybikes to raise money for charity Yorkshire Air Ambulance? One of these is Scarborough Castle, where the aforementioned Gaviscon did indeed come to grief, albeit in a rather unspectacular and delayed way, when he was captured by enemies of the king and taken South to Morse country, there to be quietly dispatched without so much as a murmur of This Is Sparta!

Want to know more about Scarborough Castle? Click here.

Want to know more about Medieval Monkeys 2011? Click here.

Want to know more about Sparta? Click here: This Is Sparta!

April 8, 2011

Who’s really on your side – and who’s just waiting for the perfect moment to stitch you up good and proper? These days, it’s more than just OK to be paranoid: it’s positively the thing to do! When push comes to shove people are all just out for themselves. So would we be better off putting our faith in technology?

Not if new research from insurance provider Swinton is to be believed (but is it?) Swinton claim to have wasted their time and that of 3,000 unfortunate drivers by asking the latter a bunch of pointless questions to discover that: four out of five people have disregarded directions provided by their sat navs.

The more extraordinary finding surely is that one in five people haven’t. The social dynamics of Hitler’s Germany suddenly seem easier to understand: “At the next junction get out of your car and kill all foreigners.”

In reality your sat nav is quite unlikely to suggest setting fire to the Reichstag, invading Poland or whatever – or even drinking Carlsberg, watching the abysmal Boardwalk Empire, or voting Classic Labour. But what this perfidious little box might well do is foment intra-familial in-car arguments of the most violent and dangerous kind.

56% per cent of motorists said they had argued with a fellow passenger over sat nav directions, with – tellingly, Bankstone News is sure male readers will agree – “60% of women admitting to starting the argument.” How do sat navs achieve this amazing effect?

“By providing instructions so cunningly poised on the border between genius and imbecility, these evil devices lure fellow passengers into adopting opposed views on the validity or otherwise of the directions offered,” explains Doctor Gonosz Rohadék of Hungary’s National Centre for Anger Management. Net result: discord, divorce and family breakdown.

Swinton’s “research” suggests that 79% of us see sat navs as inherently suspect with 63% admitting to keeping a map in their car “just in case.” On average sat navs will divert innocent drivers 5.9 miles from their intended destinations. The role of user error in these redirections is presumably 0%.

But what exactly is a ‘sat nav?’ “An in-car sat nav is a helpful tool when embarking on a journey,” Swinton’s Chelton Steve explains “many drivers gain benefit from using one,” but “if a system is faulty, a sat nav can make a journey extremely stressful and much longer than it needs to be. Having a map as a backup is always a good idea.”

Free map and family legal advice helpline when you purchase car insurance through Swinton?

April 8, 2011

When it comes to bikes, balance is everything. If you don’t have balance, you might fall off or something. It’s as simple as that.

That’s why motorcycle insurance broker Carole Nash is shifting about a bit to get that balance just right. Or as Insurance Times put it this week: Carol Nash to cut nine posts.

Some posts are being split, as opposed to axed, though. And it’s not just about cutting costs, the Nashers claimed this week. Along with the chopping, there will be some new posts brought in.

Three section heads and six team leaders are to go sales and operations. On the plus side, the position of head of sales of operations (currently vacant) will now be split into separate roles for head of sales, head of operations, and head of heads (possibly) and CN is bringing in two business change consultants to make sure it can cope.

“This is categorically not about cutting cost, it’s about creating an operational structure that best serves the future needs of our customers and, therefore, the business” said Dave Cullen, restructure architect.

“As an ambitious and diversifying business it’s vital that we examine our procedures and processes to ensure that we are best serving the changing needs of our customers,” he repeated flawlessly from the Business Bullshit Bible, going to finish with the following bravura flourish: “The aim is to ensure we have a balanced organisational structure which maximises the value of available talent, increases process accountability, and ultimately enhances the customer experience. That in turn will help drive sales and income.”

Top marks, Mr Cullen. Now get chopping!


April 7, 2011

As regular readers will know, Bankstone News is never happier than when – with a heart full of spite and a hideous smirk on its unsightly face – it is hammering out vile aspersions. Unworthy sniping is its stock in trade.

Imagine, then, its frustration at trying to make something of the latest news from Direct Line founder Peter Woods, who seems disconcertingly like a thoroughly decent chap. Oh well, here goes anyway!

How fascinating to learn of Mr High and Mighty Peter Woods’ oh-so exciting plans to buy out the 50% of Gio Compario he doesn’t already own and roll it into Esure with a view to floating the latter for a cool £2bn. Just because he revolutionised the insurance industry by setting up Direct Line, devised the most lucrative performance-related remuneration package in history, and has hardly set a foot wrong since, we’re all supposed to hang on his every word. Pah!

Having completely ripped off Direct Line with Esure – stopping off along the way to insult women drivers twice over with the insufferable Michael Winner’s Calm Down, Dear schtick and the sparkly camp nonsense of Sheila’s Queens of the Wheels – he won’t deign, he says, to snap up Direct Line now Arbiess has been told to offload it.

“I’d end up having to sack thousands of people and end up with loads of spare properties,” he snorted in repetitious disparagement. “It is not the sort of thing I want to do in the last few years of my working life.”

Not content with this unpleasantness, he went on to take a swipe at another entrepreneur with a bland name. “I have paid all my tax,” he boasted to the Daily Mail. Continuing in the same me-me-me vein, he added: “I’ve been one of the highest taxpayers for years. I’m not a Philip Green with a wife in Monaco.”

You’re not fooling anyone with that indefinite article, Mate. Not much doubt which Philip Green you’re having a pop at!

He went on to crow about how Esure has moved roles back from India. “India’s fine for back office work,” he conceded grudgingly, “but customer facing doesn’t work. If you can get jobs done, and done well at the same cost, you do them in Britain,” he pontificated. That’s just racist innit?

April 6, 2011

Whilst accidentally browsing US motor insurance news, Bankstone News inadvertently stumbled upon on a potential new front in the car insurance cost wars. “Get a girlfriend,” the article trumped, “save on car insurance.”

You can read it yourself if you insist – along with a lot of weirdly familiar stuff like ‘The idiots raising your car insurance,’ by clicking here. But basically it’s all about how Jesse from California saved himself $200 simply by adding his girlfriend to his auto insurance policy.

Of course, that’s it, Bankstone News eureka-ed! If you’re a callow sportswear-sporting motorsports obsessed youth with a suped-up pimped-out Seat Ibiza sitting on your (parents’) driveway on which you spend your every penny, all you need do to avoid the multi-thousand motor insurance premium is find a girl who’ll move in with you.

Ah, hang on, Bankstone News has spotted a flaw…

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