Goodness gracious!

June 29, 2012

When Bankstone News first heard – down the Badgers last night, as it happens – that a large number of cars had been severely damaged in the Leicestershire area by giant hailstones. Our initial response was “That’s queer – he’s been dead these fourteen year!”

Following loud and mirthful clarification from all and sundry, Bankstone News was hardly less surprised to learn that ice balls the size of apricots had rained down motor claims mayhem from on high than had the 50-stone wrestling legend really come back from the dead with a grudge against motorised transport.

Surely, Bankstone News thought, no one’s seen anything like this for years – or possibly ever. This thought was only confirmed upon reading the following comments from Adrain Weeb of Esure in the pages of the Independent newspaper: “We’ve not seen anything quite like this before – none of the underwriters or claims handlers have dealt with giant hailstones before.

“We have had people calling saying ‘my car bonnet looks like a golf ball’” Weeb continued, presumably in the sense of being dimpled – rather than in the sense of being spherical and roughly the size of an apricot or giant hailstone.

Also quoted in the Independent article was a spokesbeing for Alcoholics Anonymous who said they’d received 29 claims for ice ball damage within half and hour of “a freak hailstorm lasting just five to 10 minutes in Leicestershire at lunchtime.” Admiral claimed 50 claims in just an hour.

The newspaper went on to quote twitter’s LL Cool A, who twatted: “1pm – its dark, there’s thunder, there’s lightning, there’s rain, there’s wind and there’s hailstones the size of golf balls! #ImScared.” Pussy!

For literally amazing pictures and videos of yesterday’s freak weather visit the This is Lestershire website here.

June 29, 2012

Anyone who missed Tuesday’s special edition of Bankstone News on the forthcoming Insurance Endurance karting competition will be relieved to know that all the stories contained therewithin are still available for your perusal at leisure simply by clicking the News heading in the menu bar above and scrolling about a bit. In the meantime, here’s a very brief highlights thingy.

Anyone who is anyone (that’s everyone, presumably) will be at Daytona Milton Keynes on 7 September for the grueling six-hour ordeal-a-thon that is Insurance Endurance – and having a damn good time while they’re about it, thank you very much!

You must do this also. It’s insanely competitively priced, at just £1040 plus VAT, so you have no possible excuse for missing out on this outrageously superb corporate hospitality, networking, high-speed fun-having opportunity.

To avoid disappointment, book immediately by clicking here and don’t expect too much from life.

Want to know more? Invest in an encyclopaedia.

June 29, 2012

The general state of superfebrile anticipation surrounding this year’s Medieval Monkey’s charity monkeybiking event has crept up several notches beyond the theoretical maximum of ‘fever pitch’ and has Bankstone’s excitement-o-meter technicians cowering nervously behind hastily erected perspex screens as they bravely continue taking readings.

It is with some considerable trepidation, therefore, that we bring you the freshly arrived tidings that the Apocalypse Now themed garden party at Sheriff Hutton Castle on the afternoon of Saturday 7th July is very much on!

Our kind host the Sheriff is having letters sent out to every household in the village demanding that its inhabitants attend the castle grounds between 3 and 5pm, there to consume a repast consisting principally of tea, cakes and cucumber sandwiches – on pain of hassockage (an ancient seigneurial sanction too gruesome to delineate more frankly here).

This should ensure a large crowd is on hand to welcome the arrival of the Medieval Monkeys cavalcade sometime around ten to five, following a long succession of mechanical failures, wrong turns and general haphazardage along the way.

In the unlikely event the convoys rolls in any earlier, its participants may catch the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of a giant yellow YAA helicopter setting down alongside the castle – quite possibly with a BBC camera crew in tow (not literally – that might be dangerous) as it gathers footage for the next series of Hell Cop Heroes.

So that should be quite an afternoon!

Separately, Bankstone News has received confirmation that YAA mascot Sir Bernard de Bere (aka Bernie the Bear) will once again be joining us for the two days of Medieval Monkeys, making friends and influencing people (gesturally at least) at each of the historically monumental stops along the route.

Sadly, however, Bankstone News has also learned that, following some unpleasantness connected with a so-called ‘mascot race’ at Wetherby Races, Sir Bernard recently took the decision to retire from his public duties and is only coming out of retirement for the weekend of the 7-8 July as a special favour to all his medieval monkey biking friends (asking only that the town crier refrain from shouting too loudly and clanging that bloody bell all the time).

So this, it seems, will be Sir Bernard’s swan song.

Is it proper that a bear should sing like a swan, you may ask. If Florence of the Machines is allowed – indeed positively encouraged – to sing like a seal (note “a seal” not as in Mr Klum), Bankstone News can see no earthly reason why not. Wail on, Sir Bernard, we say. It will be an honour to ride out with you this one last time. You will not soon be forgotten!

June 28, 2012

In possibly the most exciting new development in the motor insurance market for many a year, a company based in Chelmsford has come up with a refreshingly short-termist take on the tired old price-comparison trope. Why compare all car cover quotes, the imaginatively named Short Term Car Insurance suggests, when you can just compare short term car insurance deals?

Why is this news, you may be wondering. It is news because Short Term Car insurance’s PR firm have put out a press release that starts out by mentioning that the OFT has launched an investigation into why motor insurance is so expensive and, btw, why insure your car ALL the time – seeing as it is “so expensive” – when you can save £££s by just insuring it SOME of the time.

It’s genius, really. Plus they’ve got three great reasons why you might want to do this or something vaguely related to it (using the really great Short Term Car Insurance site to do so, obviously).

Paraphrasing only slightly, these three great reasons are as follows:

1. Perhaps you’re a student or something and you only drive at certain times of the year

2. Perhaps, when you do feel like driving, you should drive a car that’s really cheap to insure like a “Citreon Ami 8 Club”

3. Perhaps you are a man and might like to insure short-term until premiums for men plummet following full implementation of EU gander equality legislation later this year

And there you have it!

Never say Bankstone News doesn’t bring you the stories that matter, when they matter, in a manner than matters. It’s just a ridiculous thing to say. You’d sound stupid, and nobody what know what you were on about.

June 26, 2012

Teams comprising Bankstone staff and friends have a long proud history of competing in Ensurance Indurance down the years. Here we touch on just a few of the many highlights of Team Bankstone’s past.

Who could forget for example 2008’s event when Bankstone’s resident evil genius, the now-notorious cloud-buster Professor Andrew Jones, mystified other competitors by arriving at Daytona Milton Keynes clad in something very closely resembling a frog suit.

All became horribly clear, however, when, shortly after racing had begun, the heavens opened and Professor Jones ploughed merrily on while other drivers headed for the pits to change their sodden attire. The strategy ultimately backfired when the deluge brought proceedings to an untimely close – prompting the Prof to develop his patent Hoverkart adaptor kit. Read all about it here.

In 2009 a heavyweight Team Bankstone decided to focus its energies on the pit stop challenge event, but all all went awry when several team members were busy filling their faces when the moment came – resulting in a deeply frustrating second place for the pitstop event. Ninth place over all.

But in 2010 everything finally fell into place when Bankstone’s tightly drilled team switched all four wheels on a decommissioned Jordan F1 car in less than 22 seconds, crucial milliseconds faster than any other team, and just 19 seconds slower than a real F1 crew. Victory at last! Where TB finished in the main event need not detain us here.

In last years event – a novel-length account of which you can read here – the strategic use of nicknames helped secure a not altogether discreditable 7th place finish for Team Bankstone – despite dastardly sabotage attempts by The Bike Insurer.

This year… who knows!

Think you can beat the Bankstone Boys? You are almost certainly right – but you’ll have to be there to find out.

June 26, 2012

It’s not often Bankstone News can plausibly claim to feel pride. But this week is different. This week Bankstone News is positively suffused in a lustrous effulgence of richly merited self-congratulation as we proudly announce to anyone who’ll listen that this year’s annual Insurance Endurance karting event, which takes place on 7 September at Daytona Milton Keynes, will be doing so… “in association” with Bankstone News!

Yes, unbelievable as it may seem that anyone would deign to associate themselves with Bankstone News, we are indeed official sponsors of what is arguably the UK’s number one competitive karting event for insurance persons. Could we be any more excited? Not without exploding or something probably. We’re pretty damned excited anyway, and here’s why:

As many as 30 teams are expected to compete on Friday 7 September in what promises to be the 12th annual Insurance Endurance. All the usual crowd-pleasing features will be present: a seemingly interminable six-hour endurance race between teams of up to ten persons each, burgers served up in an decagonal pavilion, bitter rivalry, gamesmanship, cheating and of course the ever-popular pitstop challenge, in which teams compete to stop a pit or something.

As you will learn from Daytona’s official press release, they have a brand new fleet of super speedy prokarts this year, in which you could in theory nudge the speed limit on a motorway – although not necessarily without breaking the law, killing yourself or whatever. Anyway it’s going to be a blast and Bankstone very strongly recommends that you sign up now. Which, happily, you can – thanks to the power of online. See banner below.

June 26, 2012

Frankly Bankstone News is at a loss to understand why you are still asking these idiotic questions. But since you are, Bankstone News supposes there is really no alternative other than to spell it out for you very very simply…

  • Daytona Milton Keynes is ONLY the UK’s ultimate outdoor karting venue!
  • It ONLY boasts two exceptional race tracks complemented by excellent hospitality and conferencing facilities!
  • It’s in Milton Keynes. Which is good. No, honestly, it’s centrally located and easy to get to and everything and there’s fleshpots aplenty in the nearby and conveniently grid-like town centre for your après-kart delight.
  • Most importantly, DMK is home to Insurance Endurance the UK’s most exciting participatory motorsports event for insurance people involving karts.

Insurance Endurance offers you all this:

  • Unparalleled networking opportunities
  • The chance to mix with anyone who is everyone in insurance
  • Outstanding corporate entertainment bang for buck
  • If IE doesn’t bond you, nothing will!
  • A rich source of humorous anecdotal material fro future reference
  • Some proper fun for a change
  • You’ll be really sorry if you don’t go and then you have to listen to everyone else’s crazy stories
  • A commemorative team hat or fleece, if you are lucky
  • A trophy if you and the rest of your team are lucky and/or good at karting
  • A chance to find out whether those new 70mph prokarts are really safe
  • An opportunity to take the wheels off an old F1 car
  • An outlet for all your pent up frustrations
  • One of the most pleasurable experiences known to man
  • The prospect of a new nickname honouring your failings as driver/human being
  • A high-octane alternative to golf
  • More glamour than Monte Carlo’s Rendez-Vous de Septembre
  • More karts than Brands Hatch
  • More slippy-slidy corners than a jar full of dice in olive oil
  • A chance to show off and/or make a tit of yourself
  • Counts towards your CPD (better check that with the CII)
  • Somewhere else to be on a Friday
  • A chance to learn new things about yourself and your business associates
  • Deliverance from the temptations of alcohol
  • Burgers and stuff

If that doesn’t convince you, Bankstone News honestly can’t be bothered with you!

June 26, 2012

Some of you may be asking yourselves who or what exactly is Bankstone News and what is it doing acting as handpicked media partner to a respectable event like Insurance Endurance.

Well, as a matter of fact, Bankstone News will have you know we are a highly respected weekly-emailed online source of 100% reliable factual information about all things insurance related – motor insurance in particular – but, frankly, it’s all a bit random in practice.

Regular Bankstone News subscribers know they can count on a fresh selection of badly misconstrued re-workings of other people’s news-gathering efforts being delivered to their inbox sometime between lunchtime and home-time on a Friday afternoon – PLUS… absolutely FREE access to our exhausting archive of insurance news past and present (well, mostly past, actually, come to think of it) stretching back to 2005 or something ridiculous.

Think of any of the big insurance stories of recent years [can we supply some examples here?] [not really] and, literally, there is probably not one of them that has been covered IN DETAIL in the (virtual) pages of Bankstone News.

Now that you know all this, you’re sure to want to continue receiving the many benefits of being a Bankstone News subscriber, and, indeed, to TELL YOUR FRIENDS. Signing up is just as easy as can be. Simply go here and do a bit of typing and clicking and stuff.

Want to meat the Bankstone News team in the flesh? Well, then, we have exciting news: there’s talk of Bankstone News entering its very own all-star team in Insurance Endurance this year alongside the main Team Bankstone.

More on that in future editions!

June 22, 2012

Bankstone’s charity fundraising plans received an unexpected fillip this week when it emerged that Little Lord Chancellor George Osbore is extending gift-aid type top-ups to money collected in tins, buckets etc. There will be crowd-pleasing 25% added by the Treasury on top of anything raised in cash above £20. So that’s good, then.

But more to the point: have you given generously yet to Medieval Monkeys 2012. Have you? No, have you, though? It’s remarkably simple – you just click on the JustGiving box below left where it says donate, and contribute whatever you can.

Your £250 will help the Yorkshire Air Ambulance get injured folk to hospital before they expire. And it’s not just Yorkshire people they save. They’ve even been known to take the odd Lancastrian. On a quiet day. Point is: cough up.

There’s an option to leave a comment when you donate online, but hilarious abuse is strictly optional. We’re really just interested in your money.

While you’re there you can watch our hilarious trailer video featuring clips from last year’s event.

Latest news on preparations for MM2012 are that the dashing Duke of Jones (as previewed last week) has had a new engine fitted. The asthmatic 125cc unit has been replaced with a fire breathing 140cc lump producing twice as much horsepower!

The Duke’s suped up steed was put through its paces on the dynamometer at the workshops of Kent-based OO Racing, where Adrian and his team have kindly been sorting out the Jonesmobile.

The resulting beast produces 14 bhp which, combined with changing the gearing, will dramatically improve its performance, and even give the Duke a sporting chance of making it up the Rosedale Chimney Bank without getting off and pushing like everyone else!

Early next week, btw, we’ll be sending out a special edition of Bankstone News entirely devoted to the forthcoming Insurance Endurance karting event – about which we have exciting news.

For a change.

June 22, 2012

Give Bankstone News the faintest whiff of an opportunity to step down and review our options and we’ll seize it with both hands. How delighted our near-namesake Arron Banks must then have been to be permitted exactly such an opportunity this week by Bristol-based Brightside Group.

Bankstone News readers will doubtless agree that here are few things in life more satisfying than reflecting at leisure upon one’s options, but market rumours suggest AB – who still owns 15.24% of the firm – may have something a little less contemplative in mind.

Unsubstantiated reports indicating that he left the building muttering a line made famous by California’s first Austrian-born Governor might appear to support such a line of conjecture.

For now though, Brightside’s former Insurance Broking Director Marty Holman has stepped up on to the CEO podium thingy so recently stepped down from by the departing Bankster.

A “source close to the broker” was quoted by Insurance Age this week describing Holman as “a safe pair of hands”, but, as with former Arsenal keeper Davey Semen, Bankstone News feels certain there is far more to him than that.

For some mysterious reason, Marty “Hands” Holman has felt it necessary to brief the press on how he and Banksy don’t hate each others’ guts. There is “no animosity in the relationship” he told Insurance Age. In fact, Hands is “looking forward” to working with Banko in his role as chief exec of the inauspiciously named Southern Rock, a “large provider” to Brightside.

Responding to suggestions that Bankski will soon return, backed by private equity, with a bid to delist Brightside, Hands Holman said: “We are a plc company and therefore anyone can look at putting together a bid to place in front of shareholders.” Would he be surprised if this happened? “Anybody who knows Arron would not be surprised by that, and I’m certainly not,” he told the paper.

“If anyone comes forward with a bid that then goes to the shareholders that they are happy to take my job”, he went on to tell Insurance Age, “is to manage that, run with it and continue to run the business.”

So running is high on Hands’ agenda, but so, it seems, is sitting: “The opportunity to be sitting at the top and steering the company and guiding it is great. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

Should be a thrilling ride!

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