Monkey Mountain 3 Butterbutt Pass

February 27, 2015

So astonishingly indolent have the Bankstone News staff been this week, that all we can offer you by way of a Bankstone story is this, admittedly lovely, picture of Buttbatter Pass, one of the steepest hills in all Yorkshire and hence almost certain to feature on the route of this year’s charity fundraising monkey bike tour of God’s Own County (see previous stories).


Come July this year Bankstone and Friends (assuming they still have any) will be doing exactly like the bikers in this picture, only the other way round. Because riding down hills is for wimps!

February 27, 2015

There once was a fellow named Figg
Who was led an unfortunate jig
By a bunch of false claimers
Who told him, quite shameless,
That life owed him payments quite big

Once Mike had a crash (not that bad),
He said Doc, there’s no pain, I’m not sad
But a year or two later
Some claims agitator
Told Mike there was cash to be had

They said we’ll help you get your reward
Say the word, and that cash can be yours
Let us handle your claim
Why not gain from your pain
Your success in this matter’s assured

So Mike claimed he’d had awful gyp
Like the lash of a horrible whip
He’d had trouble sleeping
Was constantly weeping
And thanks, CMC, for the tip!

Insurers LV= were unclear
Why Mike left it over a year
Before citing whiplash,
Brought on by his car crash
It all seemed a little bit queer

Yes, LV= thought the claim was quite risible
and sent poor old Mike for a physical
He said, though I’ve suffered,
I have since recovered
And whiplash, you know, is invisible

Away with it Mike might have gotten
Hamming it up something rotten
But he’d been caught on tape
With no pain in his nape
A small matter he’d long forgotten

Now Mike has been wheeled out in court
Judge Ackroyd’s summation was short
Five grand’s costs must be paid
An example be made
And Mike’s little schemes brought to nought

Let this tale have the power to instruct
Into falseness please never get sucked
Don’t succumb to their whiles
You might end up on trial
And then you’ll be properly


February 27, 2015

There’s some new law coming in, right, that says letting your kids have a cheeky puff in the motor could get you a fine of £10,000.

Ten Grand? They’re having a laugh, aren’t they? Driving without insurance (now that’s a proper crime) only gets you a three-hundred-quid fixed pen, plus a couple of points.

Hold on, though. It gets worse. From October this year, even just lighting one up yourself, with the nippers on board, could get you an £800 fine!

How do I know all this? From a press release put out by Alley Ants Insurance, who claim they’re having sleepless nights about the 34% of drivers who don’t know about this new smoking ban thing.

Well, thanks a bunch Alley Ants! Haven’t they heard about ignorance is bliss/nine tenths of the law or whatever. Now I’m having sleepless nights imagining my little lad’s face when I have to tell him our days of sharing a crafty rolly in the van on the way back from the pub will soon be over.

Just when he’d got the hang of rolling them nice and tidy too.

Nanny ******* State!

Although, as it goes, I’m none too sure Alley Ants have any idea what they’re talking about. Their press release says smoking at the wheel distracts drivers, when any idiot knows it’s an aid to concentration.

“The majority of drivers who smoke (67%)”, they say, “acknowledge that it does affect attention levels.”

Yeah, they probably said it ‘enhances’ them or something.

Then it gets even more daft, with 82% (allegedly) saying they can’t handle having a natter on the mobile without losing concentration. Really?!

Oh yeah, and 52% can’t can’t multi-task enough to operate the in-car entertainment system safely; 33% can’t scoff a McDonald’s The Grand™ Meal without ploughing into the bus queue; and (get this one!) 19% can’t handle “noisy passengers”.

Noisy passengers? Crank Dire Straits up to 12 (don’t tell me yours only goes up to 11?), stick a lit fag in their incontinent gobs, and, bingo, you’ve got yourself a Total Concentration Environment!


February 26, 2015

If we asked you what they do at the Information Commissioner’s Office, you’d probably say: That’s easy; they commission information. Ha Ha! Wrong! It’s a trick question. Obviously.

What they do in Information Commissioner’s Office (or InfComOff, as it’s know for short) is administer, enforce and otherwise execute the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998, the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 across a variable selection of the countlets that collectively comprise the United Kingdom of GBNI.

In other words, they spend their time jumping on people and slapping their wrists if they find them playing fast and loose with information in ways of which they disapprove. So, if you’ve got some information and you’re hoping they might want to commission it, you’re very much barking up a dead horse.

One of the most recent outfits to be named and shamed, or “crud-bagged” as InfComOff wags playfully call it, is Top 50 broker Staysure, who’ve been slapped this week with a damning public condemnation and a £175k fine for allowing cyber criminals to walk off with thousands of old folks’ credit card details, and thereby committing a DP violation.

According to a damning InfComOff report on Staysore’s data loss carelessness, at least five thousand customers had their card details used by fraudspersons as a result, while the intimate financial details of up to 100,000 more may have been exposed to eCriminals.

Why? Because Strayshore, who specialise in flogging travel insurance to so-called ‘gravellers’ (over-50s holidaymakers), simply couldn’t be bothered to update their software or to keep their customers’ details somewhere safe. Perhaps they thought the old farts wouldn’t miss a bob or two if records want astray.

Now, you or I might consider it unthinkable, unimaginable, or just plain unbelievable, as perky Forest of Dean funksters EMF used to say, that a company holding millions of customer records would not have the procedures in place to keep that information secure (not that our opinions count for anything).

But what did the regulator make of Spaysure’s securital laxity?

“It’s unbelievable to think that a company holding three million customer records did not have the procedures in place to keep that information secure,” said InfComOff Head of Enforcement Steve Eckerslammin this week.

So we’re all agreed on that. And, yet, as unbelievable as it may seem, that is exactly what Straysure did.

Shows how much we all know!


February 23, 2015

It’s amazing the things you can find in people’s garages these days. Barbecues, furniture, surplus electricals… you name it, today’s twenty-first century home will have it in the garage.

One thing you’re increasingly unlikely to find, however, is a car.

Why? Two things, mainly.

For one, many cars nowadays are actually designed to provide a degree of waterproofness, enabling them to stand around outside for extended periods of time without coming to any significant harm (except when it rains hailstones the size of balls).

For another, with barely 40 million sq ft of self-storage space available in the UK, the need to amass vast quantities of material possessions has impelled the growing number of Brits who can no longer fit anything else into their cupboards, lofts, cellars and sheds to repurpose their garages as general clutter repositories.

So there’s no point breaking into garages in the hope of driving away someone’s prize possession. You just walked past that, proudly on display out front, proclaiming the taste, status, and DIY exterior valeting skills of its owner.

But, says James Balloon of Cooperative Insurance, that doesn’t mean there nothing worth nicking in people’s garages. And the convenient thing is that many garages are poorly secured. So they’re a great source (according to the Coop’s research) of things like tools (67%), bikes (38%), and, enticingly, booze (18%).

Those who aren’t using their garages purely as dumping grounds for material excess may have converted them into home offices (25% of all garage conversions), bigger kitchens (14%), extra bedrooms (13%) and “a bigger garden” (6%).

Converting your garage into a bigger garden is certainly ingenious, but, alas, offers little to the prospective burglar. Home offices sound more promising, but often come with enhanced security features such as locks on doors, and then end up having only poxy little Acers in there anyway, Bankstone News imagines.

So best stick with the unconverted kind.

Coop’s Balloon sums up. “The research clearly demonstrates that garages now have a multitude of uses,” he explains, “beyond their original purpose for housing a car.” But “worryingly’ he continues, “nearly one in six people feel their garage is not as secure as it could be.” That is worrying.

“Given the range of valuables, it is vital that households ensure their garage is appropriately secured and its contents safe,” Balloon advises. And, when you think about it, that’s actually an extremely valuable and timely insight.

They should probably get some insurance too.


February 22, 2015

Park Rash may sound like that nasty skin condition Bankstone News picked up a while back after spending (perhaps in retrospect) a little too much time with the daytime drinking crowd down at Stragpipes Memorial Gardens. But it isn’t.

In fact (the sole currency, as regular readers will be well aware, in which we deal here at Bankstone News), Park Rash is another of those steep bits of road we keep talking about (see previous issues) that may or may not find its way onto the final route for this year’s monkeybike-based Charity fundraising event, Mountain Monkeys.

Montain Monkeys, as you may already be aware based on your pre-perusal of previous editions of this weekly e-magazine, takes place on the weekend of 4th and 5ft July and involves a motley selection of persons touring the steepest hill climbs in all Yorkshire in a vague kind of homage to popular pedal cycle contest, the Tour de Yorkshire.

Sure, Park Rash, situated above the charming hamlet of Kettlechip in the Warpdale Valley, has a funny sounding name; but no funnier than some of the other brutal hill climbs of which we will be speaking in future editions of Bankstone News, which have names like Oxknob Scar, The Stang and Butterbutts Pass.

What matters, for the purposes of Mountain Monkeys, is that it is b) extremely steep and a) in Yorkshire. Both of which boxes it most certainly ticks, being a) (as previously mentioned) in Yorkshire (we’ve checked) and b) sufficiently gradientitudinous to ascend more than 300m in less than 2km, before plunging down an almost equally steep hill towards Middleham.

About Mountain Monkeys

Apart from having a bit of what might very loosely be termed ‘fun’, the central purpose of this year’s MM event is to raise money for that most excellent of causes, the Yorkshire Air Ambulanciers (YAA). As regular viewers of TV docu-soap Helicopter Heroes will know, the brave men and women of YAA perform a service that is quite literally lifesaving, but also one that is, quite frankly, not cheap.

Keeping both its helicopter ambulances (or ‘ambulopters’ as they are known) in the air costs £3.6m a year, or (very nearly) £10k a day. Consequently, with no public funding, they need all the help they can get. Down the years, Bankstone and friends have provided a huge amount of support to the YAA, most of it, sadly, of moral variety.

This year, however, we are determined to outdo all previous efforts and to raise at least enough money to keep one or other of their choppers in the air for an hour or two, and YOU can help us do it. Yes, YOU! The best way you can do this is to come along and ride a monkey bike with us and get some sponsorship for doing so.

To find out how, contact event organiser in chief Daikon Tokyo by clicking on his surname and sending him an email. Alternatively simply send us a vast sum of money and some brief words of encouragement via Just Giving (see below left, although perhaps wait until we’ve got round to changing the name from Medieval Monkeys, as we will shortly be doing).


Click to see some wobbly GoPro footage

February 22, 2015

The ABI’s DG Ins-Po, Jimmy Dalton, clearly knows a thing or too about motors and how to get them running.

It was to a engineering metaphor he instinctively turned this week to voice concerns about the government’s failure to follow up on efforts to reform the UK’s notoriously dysfunctional motor insurance market. The whole process, he laments, appears to have stalled. And that can mean one only thing, he recognises without hesitation: those efforts need a kick start.

In the three years since insurers first cornered PM Davey C and told him to crack down on things like whiplash, claims, and claimant lawyers, insurers have been bending over backwards to pass on reform-fuelled cost savings to their policyholders. Net result: everyone’s paying less for their motor insurance.

Everyone, that is, apart from young people. And why aren’t they enjoying the same 10% and upwards savings as everyone else? Simple, because HMG’s efforts to stop them tearing around like maniacs (ten to a car, crazed with childish overconfidence, summarily meting out random automotive mayhem upon all in their paths) have, not to put to fine a point on it, stalled.

Doolin’ Dalton is not the kind of man to let officialdom off the hook when balls are being dropped on youth drivers. What we need, he claimed this week, is graduated driving licences, which, he says, will cut both car-related carnage and insurance premiums at a single stroke.

What’s not to like about that, any right minded person would surely ask rhetorically.

Plus also: HMG needs to get on with upping the Small Claims Trap limit from £1k to £5k, a process which currently appears to have ‘stalled’ (and hence, clearly, needs kick startage) and perhaps some more cracking down on claims and those who, to quote that sinister euphemism, “manage” them. Basically, Government, pull your bloomin’ finger out and stop stalling around, says Jim.

Is government listening, or have they got bored of trying to fix the broken motor market? Only time will tell. But it’s going to be hard for them to come out publicly and say they don’t care about issues as important as young drivers flirting with their own (and other road users’) accelerated mortality, and/or having to pay high insurance premiums, etc.


February 19, 2015

Insurance claims fraud crime-busters the iFEDs, this week brought another vast criminal empire to its knees with the conviction of the notorious Wirral-based Price-McGreedy-Williams gang.

An in-depth iFEDs investigation found that insurers Esher has spotted some irregularities in accounts given of a supposed crash in 2010 involving Terance (Yes, that’s how he thinks you spell it) Price (VW Passat, 3 passengers) and Scott McGreedy (BMW, 2 passengers, one of them being his friend David Williams).

Price and McG gave significantly inconsistent accounts of their in-car coming together (e.g. reporting quite different driving conditions) and lied in their medical reports.

The insurer then checked the vehicle damage and found it bore little relation to the impact described. At this point the iFEDs pounced, charging Price and his sister in law Susan Price, McGreedy, and Williams with masterminding a massively sophisticated claims fraud operation with intent to defraud Esher of over £50,000.

Recognising immediately that this was a fair cop and that the iFEDs had them bang to rights, Price, McGreedy and Williams all pled guilty at Liverpool Crowd Court and will, no doubt, be going down for a good long stretch at Her Majesty’s pleasure. The judge decided, however, Susan Price should merely lie on the file, or that she should be charged with lying on it, or something.

“These three men thought they could hoodwink Esure by dreaming up a two-car crash on a Wirral road and then submitting thousands of pounds worth of claims for ‘injuries’ and other expenses related to the ‘accident’” summarised the iFEDs’ DC Matt Hussy. “But their tall tale completely unravelled when scrutinised,” he added with satisfaction.

Thanks to the iFEDs’ prompt action in picking up the phone when Esher called, these three dangerous (if not especially talented) criminals will be prevented from going on to commit a second, third, and basically who knows how many more claims fraud crimes.

We’ll all sleep a little more soundly tonight.


February 15, 2015

Ah, the open road, the scent of adventure, the whiff of an escapade, etc. etc. Remember those halcyon days when the roads were empty, the sun always shone, and the fields and hills were simple blocks of undifferentiated colour?

Bankstone certainly does! And now the UK’s most professionalesque and friendlyish outsourced claims-handling services providers are bringing those days well and truly back, with a brand new visual theme brazenly ripped off from classic British poster art of the 30s and 40s.

Bank to the future

A tantalising glimpse of things to come came the way of Bankstone News this week, with the release of Bankstone’s much anticipated Legal Expenses Insurance Policy Key Farts flyer (see below).

It may look like one of those ‘ants in a multicoloured sand and glass sandwich’ vivarium things; but what you are in fact looking at (see below) is a stylised graphic representation of a bit of road ascending some Yorkshire-based moorland.

Name that bit of road competition

Think you recognise that winding ribbon of tarmac? You do? That’s truly excellent news, because it means you, yes you, could be in with a very real chance of winning your very own first edition copy of the very leaflet in question. A copy, no less, personally signed by whoever it was who clicked the ‘woodblock landscape effect’ button to transform a perfectly ordinary photograph of… (ha, almost gave the game away there!) Hillside X in Yorkshire into the attractive, and in no way bilious, work of art you see before you (see below).

Simply email with your correct answer (not forgetting to include your full postal address and, of course, your credit card details including everything on the front of the card, please, plus the last three digits on the strip on the reverse) and we’ll rush your handsome prize to you post haste.

More where this came from

And if you’re a fan of this exciting new visual approach, there’s more good news: a brand new Bankstone website (coming soon) and all Bankstone’s future visual collateral will be taking their cue from the visual you see before you (see below). So you’ve got that to look forward to.

If nothing else.

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 18.42.24

February 13, 2015

Our old friends at pet-foods-to-driver-safety-nannying conglomerate IAMs have been bothering the media again with their usual nonsense about cars not being safe and people having to waste time and money refining their natural and healthy driving instincts.

IAMs have put out a press release revealing that Britian’s worst speeders (or spiders as they say on the continent) have been clocked doing a supposedly shocking 146mph on the M25 (one anticlockwise near Clacket Lane and one cockwise at Swanley). In Bankstone News’ book, anyone who manages over 50 on the perennially clogged ‘London Orbital’ deserves a medal not a reprimand.

Meanwhile, IAMs note, the record for breaking the speed limit by the most impressive margin goes to unknown of East Grinstead, who achieved an “astonishing” 128mph on London Road in a 30mph zone, an effort that came within a tantalising 2mph of going a full ton over the limit.

In a grotesque slur upon the skills of Britain’s speed fiends, IAMs’ CEO Sarah Slithers claimed that “At speeds of 140mph an individual is travelling at nearly two-and-a-half miles a minute. At that speed, it is simply impossible to react to anything that might happen in front of you.” This is patently untrue. However fast they were going, a driver would surely have time to react with a “Whaarg!” or a “Nooooo!” or something of that nature.

And, in any case, the speeds revealed by IAMs (the outcome of a Femdom of Information request to top cops around the country) are trifling compared with those recorded in other territories around the globe, suggesting that, far from being a bunch of reckless idiots, as IAMs would have us believe, British drivers are in fact the very model of moderation and restraint.

Why, only last night, Bankstone News was roused around 2am, by unusually noisy and proximate rodent activity, from a happily drooling reverie, snugly nestled amidst beer cans and crisp packets on the office couch, to hear some foreign bird on the all-night TV news declaring that a dozen or so chaps from Hong Kong have just had their wrists slapped by the Chinese authorities for driving at 275 kmph (170mph) on the highway from Shenzhen towards Guangzhou.

The straight-laced Commies apparently deemed this excessive, but the Kongers had what sounds to BN like a pretty much cast-iron excuse. Some bloke called Chan declared disarmingly that he and his friends “couldn’t help speeding, as the highway is so flat, wide and straight.”

Fair point, surely!


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