Bugatti takes a Pelican Bath

December 2, 2011

It is, of course, a generally acknowledged fact that the Bugatti Veyron is a pig of a car to drive. Experts agree that the infamous so-called supercar handles worse than a nitro-charged Mk I Fiesta on diesel oil. Whichever fools designed this two-tonne bad joke on wheels should be taken out and slowly flayed in front of their young children with Steelers Wheel playing loud.

All the same, it’s hard to see how car dealer Andy House of Lufkin Texas managed to drive his Veyron into the Galveston Bay Salt Water Lagoon in 2009 (see previous story) shortly after borrowing $1m from a friend to buy it and insuring it with Philadelphia Indemnity for a cool $2m.

House claimed it was all due to a morbid terror of harming pelicans, a bird revered as a symbolic embodiment of Christ’s Passion and the Eucharist due to the biologically mistaken view held by Medieval Christians that, when fish and crustaceans and all that other junk that seabirds normally eat is in short supply, pelicans will peck open their own chest and feed their chicks on blood, thus replicating (near enough) Jesus sacrificing himself with a view to expunging the manifold sins of mankind.

When a pelican “suddenly appeared out of nowhere”, as they generally do in incidents leading to insurance claims, he instinctively swerved to avoid it, sending his automotive pride and joy plunging into the salty shallows of the bay. Unbeknownst to House, however, a pair of amateur car enthusiasts travelling parallel to the ill-fated Veyron (one of just 300 ever constructed) were droolishly filming its stately passage (“I’m pretty sure it’s a Lambo, Man!”).

The footage they captured – since viewed millions of times over on YouTube (mostly by Philadelphia Indemnity’s legal counsel) – failed to provide evidence of any pelicans in the vehicle’s path as it turned gently off the road traversed 40 yards of grass verge and lifeboated out into the lagoon, coming to rest knee-deep in its salty waters.

When recovery man Gilbert Harrison arrived on the spot he noted that the stranded House “took the loss in his stride” but had inadvertently neglected to turn off the Veyron’s engine off for around 15 minutes after the incident until it finally sputtered to death of its own accord. Doubtless firmly convinced that the evidence all points one way, Philadelphia Indemnity sued House for attempted fraud.

But could these apparently damning circumstances perhaps support a different and far from damning interpretation of Mr House’s actions? Was the alleged pelican invisible to other onlookers precisely because it was not a literally pelican of the flesh but a spiritual pelican visible only to Mr House and sent as a sign that he should turn aside from the path of shallow materialism and baptise himself anew in the love of our redeemer? Was his apparent tranquility following the incident and his absent minded failure to mitigate engine damage by switching the bloody thing off entirely explicable in terms of the divine rapture that had come upon him and the overwhelming spirit of the lord that then possessed him? Had House quite literally lost control of the Veyron to a higher power? Or would that count as an act of God?

Federal magistrate Judge John R Froescherhoffnerrer presiding over a summary hearing of the case in Galveston last month declined to come down or one side or another of this tricky debate, opining that he was stymied by the ‘quizzical factual circumstances’.

Further hearings will be held.

Former Top Gear man Tiff “Tiffy” Needel reckons “the fastest car in the world is also one of the easier to drive.” But what would he know!

December 1, 2011

Walkers Crisps Avatar Gary Lineker is branching out into the strange and frightening world of insurance and targeting young people. According to an advertorial in the Daily Telegraph this week, ingenie – the boxfresh brainchild of those fabulous Broughton boys, BA chairman Sir Martin and former RSA MD Steve – is an ingenious new telematics-based car insurance solution for motoring ingenues (a completely new way of thinking about motor insurance that is only slightly similar to Intelligent Marmalade et al).

“I was young once,” Lineker claims, not implausibly, on the promo video that takes centre stage on ingenie’s social media oriented website. Without the vaguely disturbing November face fur recently seen on MOTD, Lineker eerily resembles the real life Dorain Gray to Frank Skinner’s hideous attic-bound portrait.

Why Lineker? Young persons not interested in salty snacks or football may very well never have heard of him – but, crucially, if they have they’ll know that Lineker who played senior professional football for 16 years without once receiving a yellow, let along a red, card is, quite simply, good.

It is Lineker’s manifest wholesomeness that allows Walkers TV ads to pretend playfully that he’s bad, in the same way that PC World’s new commercials playfully pretend that Darth Vader and, by extension, PC World are not irredeemably evil.

So plausibly does sofa-bound Lineker plough through the artlessly contrived wordpuke scrolling up the ingenie autocue, that Bankstone News soon found itself wishing we were 17-25 again and could receive “simple twitter-style messages” on how we are driving, and maybe get a premium reduction if the “clever bit of kit” decides we are “one of the best drivers.”

Make black boxes compulsory for kids, says one hard-line comment on the Telegraph puff piece. Charge kids less but bump up their excesses, says someone else irresponsibly.

Some argue that telematics infringes personal privacy, but in the week when smart phone users learned that most devices routinely record and transmit their every move, why worry over trifles like that!

December 1, 2011

Is it? Isn’t it? Might it be, provided the Crowther–Forsythe right price conditions are fully met?

The question of whether or not Bluefin is for sale has raged off and on for months now. But an independent investigation by Bankstone News can now officially reveal that, yes, Bluefin is indeed on sale.

Click here for the incontrovertible evidence.

December 1, 2011

Is it? Isn’t it? Might it be, provided the Crowther–Forsythe right price conditions are fully met?

The question of whether or not Bluefin is for sale has raged off and on for months now. But an independent investigation by Bankstone News can now officially reveal that, yes, Bluefin is indeed on sale.

Click here for the incontrovertible evidence.

December 1, 2011

Insurance Times reported this week that Alcoholics Anonymous has blasted the low level of fixed penalties for driving without insurance. The risk of picking up a fine of £200 (if caught) is little deterrent to the morally elastic youth of today, when basic insurance would cost them ten or twenty times as much.

Justice Minister Sir Anthony Crisp was recently forced to reveal the shockingly low level of fines in response to a written question from weirdly non-hirsute Lincoln MP Karl McCartney who apparently has nothing better to do than ask question the answers to which everyone knows already.

Commenting on these shocking revelations, AA Insurance director Douglas Simon said: “most people will consider a fine of £200 is an insult.” Here’s something we prepared earlier on this fascinating topic.

Meanwhile there has reportedly been both slamming and counterslamming over the adequacy or otherwise of the insurance industry’s response to the summer riots.

First on Monday Insurance Times reported that a “Government-backed report on UK riots slams insurers” after the Independent Riots, Communities and Victims Panel’s racily titled “Five Days in August” report “blasted the industry for failing to respond quickly and adequately to riot-struck businesses.”

The IRCVP report, handed to the Government by a rag-tag grab-bag of public sector worthies and do-gooders, found a number of businesspeople who claimed to have been badly let down by insurers, to have had to wait quite a bit, or not to have had insurance at all. Bizarrely it emerged that insurers have focused their attention on claims submitted by larger, higher-value clients.

But then, the very next day, Insurance Times reported the ABI smiting back furiously. “ABI slams scathing report on insurer riot response,” the headline blared. “We do not accept that insurers have not performed well in response to the August riots,” the insurer body trumped emphatically. It sometimes takes a while to settle complicated claims, a spokesperson parped defiantly.

With the IRCVP report in his hands, David Cameron is sure to be keen to flog the insurance industry savagely. Nor will his righteous ire be in any way diminished by the fact that his government is reportedly in insurers’ pockets or that a BBC report recently walloped the Government’s own compensation scheme – branded a “joke” by Kirkland Pratt of Hackney’s Finger Licking restaurant – which has so far paid out less than £4,000 of £250,000 set aside, or that the FT recently bashed the authorities for failing even to reply to more than half of the 586 businesses who applied for an “immediate” £2,000 to help them rebuild after the riot – let alone send them any cash.

Even now there is talk of a Government backed plan to inform business owners that they need to buy proper insurance.

Expect plenty more more blasting, slamming, slating, panning, bashing, damning, roasting, whipping, lashing, flogging, flaying etc. to come.

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