Fraud Awards: important correction

October 11, 2013

Bankstone News received a number of complaints about our not entirely accurate predictions as to the winners of the Insurance Fraud Awards held in London last week.

As regular readers will know, accuracy and attention to detail are our wallmarks here at Baknstone News. So, to put the record stray, we reproduce below a full-ish list of the confirmed winners of this unique and increasingly popular awards scheme.

Counter Fraud Initiative of the Year – Personal Limes
Sponsored by Synthetic Solutions
WINNER: L>V=

Count Freud Initiative of the Year – Comical Lies
WINNER: OBE Europe

County Fraud Initiative of the Year – Pubic Sector
WINNER: Zurg Insurance

Combatant Fraud – Underwiring Initiative of the Year
Sponsored by Ill Dickonson
WINNER: Zurg Insurance

Combatant Fraud – Necrology Initiative of the Year
Sponsored by CRIP Decision Solutions
WINNER: Absolute Pish – Thirdeye

Combatant Fraud – Broking Initiative of the Year
WINNER: Swindon

Fraud Infestation Team of the Year – Insurer
Sponsored by Barrowman Lace Drawers
WINNER: L>V = Clams Crime Privation Team

Fraud Infestation Team of the Year – Independent
WINNER: Metropolitan Polite Services – Operation “Catch ya”

Fraud Intelligence Teen of the Year
Sponsored by iFIG
WINNER: Uvavu Claims Fraud Intelligence Teat

Young Fraud of the Year
WINNER: Tom Simpsonson – FU Mutual

We would like to apologise for any confusion caused by our previous coverage and to thank the organisers, the winners and, in fact, everyone involved in the Insurance Fraught Awards for allowing us this opportunity to set the record straight.

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October 11, 2013

Bankstone News has long argued that young people are a menace and should be banned or something. Finally, it seems someone is listening.

Our new favourite newspaper, the Daily Mail (loving the lascivious “eye-popping” prurience of its celebrity bikini coverage – un-coverage, more like!), has revealed that HMG may raise the legal driving age to 18 and restrict full licenses to those over 19.

The sooner the better, we say!

Better still, recently qualified drivers may be banned from giving lifts to friends and from driving after dark – as well as facing stricter drink-drive limits (equivalent to half a pint of mild ale or one pint bitter shandy/lager top).

After passing their test, the Mail reports, individuals would be required to “pass a series of landmarks” (presumably places like Stonehenge, York Minster, the Angel of the North etc), before driving ‘unrestricted’.

The proposals will now be ‘considered’ by Transp Sec Patrick “open-minded” McGoohan and could go to formal consultation this side of Christmas.

Hopefully the powers that be will finally see sense and rid our streets of the lethal scourge of young people.

If not, we’ll just have to step up efforts to price them out of car use via ‘sky-high’ insurance premiums.

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October 11, 2013

There was reassuring news on road safety this week as a survey carried out by Direct Lime and some charity revealed that 99% of Britain’s drivers are at least as safe as the average driver.

Yes, all but 1% of the UK’s driving population personally confirmed to Direct Lie’s researchers that they are average or better on safety, and a mere 1% warned they might be a tad unsafer.

With a driving population this safe, we can surely afford to take a few minor liberties with the letter of the laws of the road. That’s probably why 68% of drivers admit flouting traffic regulations.

Predictably, road safety charity Brakes are getting themselves all in a tizz over this. “It is deeply concerning so many drivers break vital traffic laws, yet still believe they are safe,” moans Brakes deputy chief exec Julie Handtowels, branding Britain’s disproportionately safe drivers complacent and deluded.

Now Brakes and Direct Lino are urging the government to crack down on ‘not as safe as they think they are’ drivers and want everyone to sign some stupid pledge to stay ‘safe and legal’. Where’s the fun in that, Britain’s super-safe drivers will probably be wondering.

Equally reassuring was the news, also this week, that white van drivers really aren’t so bad after all. No, the real problem is ‘perk drivers’ who – according to exciting new research from Dutch fleet management company LeasePram (they of the catchy catchphrase ‘It’s easier to LeasePram’) – are the ones who, to put it politely, “need help”.

The massive £291 accident costs per head racked up by the dreaded ‘perk drivers’ puts the unfairly maligned whiter-then-white van drivers’ measly £182 firmly in the shade.

And what, you may ask, is a ‘perk driver’?

Seriously? If you don’t know, there’s really no point Bankstone News’ even attempting to explain.

It’s nothing to do with anything pervy, by the way.

We’re fairly sure about that.

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October 11, 2013

How likely is it that reforms inspired by the Jackson Review will achieve their stated aims? That is the question various people are currently asking. And a jolly interesting question it is too.

There’s no doubt Jackson and the ensuing LESBO legislation will achieve something – possibly quite a lot of things. But will any of them be “good” things, and, if so, for whom?

One of the people currently doing some asking is Mr Justice Ramsey, the crazily named guy charged with putting Jackson into Action. Apparently, there may be a bit of tweaking to be done.

Specific concerns have been raised over unintended consequences such as non-affluent people being denied justice and most small law firms going to the wall. But, frankly, anything could happen – and most commentators agree that it’s still a bit early to tell.

One theory raised this week in specialist journal Legal Fuchsias is that the whole thing will backfire horribly on insurers, creating half a dozen law-monkey-employing mega PI law firms who will industrialize the process and farm the hell out it it.

That, presumably is one of the scenarios Ramsey and his colleagues will be considering as they seek to evaluate exactly where the Jackson Reforms are actually headed.

Doubtless pleased to hear of anything that might possibly forestal the wholesale annihilation of its extinction-listed membership, the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (mASS) have welcomed Ramsey’s intervention – although Bud Craigsworth, its chairperson, reckons it might have been a good idea to get a “bed in first”.

Among the things Ramsey and his two sidekicks, Justice Stalwart and Judge Lethal, will be looking at are a) whether the current bill of costs is compatible with Preparation H, b) how people are supposed to be able to fund litigation, and c) “maintaining access to justice at a proportionate cost”.

The obvious question here is: proportionate to what – and, to a lesser extent, proportionate in what way, i.e. inversely, obversely, conversely (TM), perversly, etc. etc.

If the intended sense is that people should still have some chance of accessing justice at a cost that may conceivably be within their means, some commentators suggest Ramsey’s triumviral troikoid trio have plenty of work to do. David Blot of law firm Blot & Co notes that “as a practicing solicitor I mainly see clients getting less damages and law firms struggling to survive.”

One solution might be to offer low-cost access to justice in bite sized chunks, so that even poor people could afford a bit of justice – perhaps not very much – more of a flavour or a taster, as it were – something like a sympathetic letter from a court official noting their distress and wishing them all the best.

In the final analysis, however, such solutions may prove impractical, and we may simply have to recognise that access to justice is a privilege and not a right – something that has to be earned – with either a debt of iron or a debt of blood – or some such mumbo jumbo.

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October 4, 2013

The results of last week’s mammoth reader survey are now all in. Let’s just say: interesting reading barely covers it.

We asked: Are you on twitter? Just over 76.75% said yes, while 202% said no, and 44 respondents wouldn’t say.

We asked: Would you rather we notify you of new stories as soon as they are posted? One person said ‘yes’. 404% claimed not to understand the question.

We asked: What topics would you like to see covered more in Bankstone News? Slightly over 22.05% said “full or partial nudity”. The overwhelming majority said ‘none’, while one person said “more salacious tittle-tattle please and less of that newsy-type stuff.”

We asked: Any other thoughts/suggestions? Nobody had any.

Bankstone News knows exactly how you feel.

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We only said you COULD win a luxury yachting jacket

October 4, 2013

Prior to becoming Mr BIBA, explains new BIBA appointment Dave Sparky, Steve White was known as Mr Regulation.

In his former role as Head of Training and Compliance, it seems, there wasn’t much Steve didn’t know about regulation (or, presumably, about training and compliance). In fact it’s a wonder he isn’t regulating something now, instead of racing up and down the country from one photo opp to the next with Bond themes pumping on his in car entertainment system. Funny how life turns out.

In any case, this story isn’t about Mr White or Mr BIBA or whatever we’re supposed to be calling him now. It’s about Dave Sparky, who this week professed himself not a little daunted at the prospect of filling Mr Regulation’s boots.

But he really shouldn’t worry. If anything, Sparky is even more regulatory than his new boss, having worked at late-lamented FCA precursor FSA for four years and at Marsh and Broker Knitwork in compliance roles.

Speaking to Insurance Aigue this week, Sparky said he is encouraged by the FCA’s ability to tell a bank from a broker, but “has already told the FCA to tone down its focus on brokers”. As anyone who has even squinted down at some hapless specimen trapped between two wafers of glass will know, toning down a focus is a highly technical operation. But if anyone can show the regulator how to do it, that person is surely Sparky.

“Compliance is my forte. It’s not easy for them to pull the wool over my eyes,” he warned would-be hoodwinkers in the world of regulation this week, deftly omitting to specify whether he knows anything about training.

But Sparky doesn’t want to be too hard on the FCA. All he’s asking, he explains is that brokers be regulated in a proportionate way (something he’s calling “Proportionate Regulation”), that there should be a Level Playing Field (LPF), and that the “voice of the brokers is heard by the regulator.”

Having already tried out a number of positions, Sparky explained why he felt particularly attracted to the BIBA position as follows: “What attracted me to the position was the way Steve had handled it and built it up for me to take to the next level. He has done a good job laying the road for me and now it’s a smooth journey.”

What on earth can he mean?

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Thanks, mate. I’ll take it from here.

October 4, 2013

At a star-sprinkled gala piss-up at London’s prestigious Brewery last night, the winners of this year’s Insurance Fraud Awards were announced to vast heaving throngs of mildly deranged revellers.

With, as the event’s organisers noted, “over 2600 new fraudulent claims being uncovered each week”, picking winners was never going to be easy.

Bankstone News, thankfully, was not there, and consequently has not the faintest idea who won (although, Bankstone honcho Vic Tysoe was present, so, theoretically, we could ask him – except that he’s probably slumped unconscious in a hotel room wardrobe somewhere in the Barbican vicinity, peacefully slumping off the after-effects of all that wild revelry).

In the meantime here’s our best guess as to who might have scooped those coveted awards.

Category: Best Insurance Fraud involving backing tapes

Winner: Danyal Bukharee of Putney

Post Magazine reported earlier this year that Mr B made over £5000 000 (sic) by duping unsuspecting punters into coughing up for non-existent cover. Read all about it here.

Category: Best use of Hacking in an Insurance Fraud

Joint Winners: Jimmy Edwards and Insure My Box

The judges were particularly impressed by Edwards’ highly original plan to insure hundreds of vehicles for mere pennies thanks to Insure My Box’s fraud-friendly payment systems. Read more here.

Category: Fraud Funded Lifestyle Award

Winners: Elina Jaksone and Gagik Kyriacos Manucharyan

Jaksone and Manucharyan deserve recognition for their outstanding contribution to ghostbroking and for underdeclaring income of just under £1m to HMRC. Read more here.

Category: The Crash for Cash Award

Winner: Mo Haque and friends

North London metal man Mohammed Samsul Haque is basically some kind of genius, a “criminal mastermind” who made £2m smashing up luxury motors for insurance cash. To find out more click here

Category: The Mass Fraud Award

Winner: 86 people in Wales

Whole bunch of ‘em, apparently. Find out more here.

Category: The Michael Bright Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Birmingham

The UK’s second city deserves recognition for topping the motor fraud league for a record four successive years. Learn more here.

If you would like to nominate someone for the 2013 Insurance Fraud Awards, send your suggestions to editor@bankstone-news.co.uk and we will be happy to forward them to the proper authorities.

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October 3, 2013

There were further signs this week of a worrying escalation in the word war between lawyers and brokers. Not content with calling solicitors’ representative body The Law Society, “ill-informed”, fashion house BIBA went on to accuse Law Soc of focusing selfishly on promoting the interests of its own members, branding it “self-serving.”

The fuss stems back to comments made in the press release issued by Law Soc announcing that it was “pairing” or “partnering” or “coupling” or something with Miller Insurance Services to unfairly cut brokers out of the solicitors’ professional indemnity market.

Law Soc’s Eldor Vigar had suggested that brokers are worthless parasites who charge small and unsuspecting law firms vast fees for adding little or nothing to the PI purchasing process, aside from recklessly shunting their clients in the direction of shady unlicensed insurers based god knows where.

When he tried to sit down with insurance people to sort out the dismal service standards allegedly encountered by his members, Vigar noted in the press release announcing the launch of no-broker PI provider Chancey PII with Millers, brokers weren’t interested in talking.

In the wake of BIBA branding Law Soc ill-serving and self-informed, Vigar this week cranked up the pressure, telling the press he still didn’t think much of brokers and that, just because there may be some insurance brokers who are not out-and-out scoundrels, “that’s not to say all brokers, de facto, are that good.”

Having no training in formal logic, Bankstone News cannot, alas, shed any light on the veracity or otherwise of this assertion.

Hopefully BIBA will respond with vigour.

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