Wee Joe is Go (ish)

December 8, 2014

Regular readers may recall how, back in September, Bankstone News reported delays to the launch of would-be mould-breaking telematics aggregator Wee Joe.

They may further recall that Wee Joe was threatening to “shake-up” of the world of motor insurance with a revolutionary combination of telematics, price comparison, and lifestyle-based recommendations and offers.

Back then, Wee Joe pushed back its launch date to some unspecified point in the future while it persevered in trying to make the bl**dy thing work, aka: “making sure every element is fine-tuned before we launch to the general public.”

The delays, Wee Joe said, would also allow it to spend some time “exploring some exciting new elements”. One such new element, as it turns out, was back-burnering the whole telematics bit.

Wee Joe is now officially live, proudly offering quotes from around 90 insurers, in much the same way all those other comparison sites do, but with the added benefit of a ‘free’ app (coming soon, according to the Wee Joe website) that allows users to give away all their driving data in return for a somewhat nebulous offer of ‘discounts, offers and freebies’.

Those who download the app will get to find out whether they are driving nicely (though good behaviour won’t get them money off their premiums) and have personalised location-specific advice and sales messages delivered straight to their phones, wherever they go.

“If the consumer doesn’t mind giving us their data,” Wee Joe top man Dick Barlow has said, the Wee Joe app will save users money and try to flog them stuff at special low-low prices.

If, on the other hand, the consumer turns out not to be all that keen on handing over their data, Wee Joe can presumably carry on doing what it’s doing right now: i.e. not much.


December 8, 2014

Mind blowing new research findings unveiled this week by vehicle-to-business technology provider In-Car Cleverness prove conclusively that people are more likely to have high speed collisions (in their cars) at times of day when people tend to drive faster.

As astonishing as it that may sound, the guys at Inca Cleverness have analized one year’s data from almost 900 rental cars to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the average speed of collision peaks at 2am when the roads are clear of traffic.

Exactly how many of the 900 vehicles analised were out burning rubber and crashing into things in the wee small hours, ICC does not reveal. Nor whose fleet it was coming to high speed nocturnal grief on what, we may safely assume, was at least one and possibly several occasions.

ICC reckon the average speed of a 2am prang is 36mph per participating vehicle, compared with a mere 24mph at 8pm when there’s still some traffic about and folks are mostly feeling mellow, or 32mph during the rush hour when the traffic’s heavier, but folks are feeling anything but mellow, and are, in fact, not to put to fine a point on it, rushing.

ICC Commercial Director Timothy Heaves explains why people crash faster after dark: “Motorists are taking more risks when driving at night, when they can take advantage of the light traffic, but when tiredness and the absence of daylight makes conditions more conducive to accidents.”

If people must crash in your fleet vehicles, it is always preferable to have them do so slowly, Timothy advises. “Driving at higher speeds results in a greater impact and, should a collision take place, the consequences for the vehicle occupants and the fleet overheads are inevitably worse.”

Yes, yes, we know it’s all a bit technical, but if you can follow the argument, Bankstone News thinks you will probably agree that it’s amazing the things they can find out these days with science and stuff.

Driving at night

December 2, 2014

Yes, it really is that time of year again. Giant Coke trucks will soon be rolling across our screens as we gawp, swill Baileys, and blindly grope amongst the ever-disappointing contents of a box of heritage-themed Coronation Street chocolates.

Have you got your tree up yet? I know. I know. We’re not bothering with a real one this year either. All those needles! We’re getting the whole lot from Iceland again this year. Brian’s in for his hernia on the 18th, so it’ll just be us at home this year.

While we’re on the subject of Christmas, Bankstone News thought you might appreciate a sneaky peek at this year’s Bankstone Christmas card. Its unique design features a wintry view of renowned local landmark Dolly’s Knob seen from Crotch Lane below Crapper’s Rill.

We hope this snowy vista will put you properly in the mood for all the holiday fun to come. If we like you, or we think we might get some business out of you or something, you’ll probably be getting your own copy in the post sometime soon. If not you could always print this one off and fold it.

In the meantime, may we be amongst the very first to wish you A Very Merry Christmas from everyone at Bankstone News (and almost everyone at Bankstone, while we’re at it).

Preview - 27206BankStoneXmasCard_Layout 1 (page 1 of 3) copy

December 1, 2014

Printed books have well and truly had their day. They’ve had it, worn it out, watched in horror as it finally expired, vainly tried to resurrect it, then carried its limp form around for days, cooing fondly and petting it, like some mad old lady with a lifeless lapdog.

So ‘over’ are books, that Bankstone News’ kids would rather do the washing up than pick one up. Where once a shelf or two of well thumbed books proclaimed your learning, taste and discrimination, today they just scream ‘Weirdo’. Books, comme en dit chez AXA, are terminally vieux chapeau.

Motivated perhaps by something of this contemporary contempt for the bound printed word, or perhaps simply by the realisation that they were never going to get round to looking at them anyway, Southport-based biker-solicitors Fletchers have taken the bold decision to ditch their entire collection.

Rather than binning, burning, recycling, or fobbing them off on a local charity shop, Fetchers have donated their books to Liverpool Edge Hill University, the kind of dusty institution where, allegedly, die-hard bibliophile academics may still be found pawing lovingly at one ancient tome or another.

A press release celebrating this generous bequest explains that the move will boost Feltchers’ drive to becoming entirely paperless, thus reducing their impact on the environment – as well, presumably, as freeing up space for another desk or two.

Edge Hill will doubtless be delighted to get its collective hands on of all those books. Some of which, reportedly, haven’t even been coloured in yet.


December 1, 2014

Many French baby boomers, or bébés explosants as they are of course known in that country, cherish fond memories of a Wild-West fixated childhood in which the Belgium-born spur-heeled white-stetson-sporting righter of wrongs Lucky Luke featured large. Perhaps not altogether coincidentally, garlic tinged insurance giant AXA has latterly taken to doing what the French call ‘portant le chapeau blanc’ i.e. setting an impeccable moral example to the world at large.

The latest, perhaps most controversial, manifestation of which is throwing open its book of excuses for not paying claims to anyone who cares to take a peek. It has long been known, or at least suspected, that every insurance company has one of these. But now AXA has ‘terrorisé les colombes avec un chaton’ by revealing theirs for all to see. Less scrupulous insurers may be tempted to view this as transparency gone mad (l’insanité de l’invisiblité).

According to leading industry journal Insurance Tights, AXA has ‘launched an initiative to help brokers improve their client’s understanding of what is and isn’t covered by a policy,’ a document that will doubtless be welcomed not only by those brokers with but a single client, but also by those with more th>n one. The initiative has been branded Making Claims Clear (or, as they would say in Paris, Faisant Disparaître les Revendications).

The move has the backing of leading fashion house BIBA, whose chief exec Steve Wipe welcomes the clean up, commenting “These new guides from AXA will play a key role in enhancing clarity with customers.” Sounding suspiciously like a politician, AXA’s Martin Assfield adds that “As an insurer, we have a responsibility to be absolutely clear with our customers about what cover they can and cannot expect” and says the guides will help avoid ‘largely needless friction’.

Largely needless, of course, because at the end of the day we all need a bit of friction, don’t we.


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