Brexit impact: regional brokers speak out

June 30, 2016

“I think most of the insurance sector expected the Remain vote to be carried,” Michael Blarney told Insurance Ache this week.

Following last week’s victory for the Leave campaign, “It is difficult to know what will happen,” predicted the Northern-Ireland-based managing director of brokers Autolion.

Blarney was speaking to Ache as part of an in-depth regional survey of what brokers didn’t really know about how Brexit might affect their businesses.

Representing Wales, self-made entrepreneur Lyndon Woob spoke for many when he revealed that “I do not really know”.

Some brokers are worried they might lose their passports or that people might not want to give them big chunks of cash any more in return for simply employing some people nobody else wants to employ. But most brokers were adamant that ‘something will turn up.’

Speaking for Scots brokers up and down Scotland, Ben Bayleaf of Clark Thompson affirmed that “It’s not what I would have wanted but” there is “no reason to panic” and “we we will rise to challenge.”

Still representing Wales, entrepreneur Woob added reassuringly that “”At the end of the day the world still spins.” Not great news for Wales, though, he conceded.

Nobody was available for comment in England. Nor in ‘International’ apparently, but Ache did manage to speak to UK-based broker La Player who have ‘an international presence’.

Their CEO Mark Boon said he was disappointed with the result on a “humanitarian” level. But, he insisted, there is no need to do any new planning: “It is business as usual,” he insisted, “there is not much that will change with regard to our plans.”

He also dismissed fears that historic insurance hotspot London might not be there next time we look. “London is the cradle of insurance and still has kudos and prestige, and I do not see several hundred years of that disappearing,” he reasoned.

Coincidentally, many insurers, have also this week confirmed that everything is basically fine.

For another couple of years at least.

kudos

June 30, 2016

In the wake of what patriotism requires Bankstone News to insist was the “shock” decision of England’s footballers to exit Euro 2016 at the first available post-group opportunity, a stunned and forlorn nation casts about blindly for someone who can fix this mess.

With Woy Hodgson, pwehaps wisely, doing a wunner before being told, in no uncertain terms, one assumes, to do one, to whom should we now entrust the vital national task of trying not to be utterly crap at footy?

It is a generally acknowledged truth that the people of this country have had enough of experts. On which basis, dare we suggest, Bankstone’s own Dixie Titleist might be the very man for the job.

Dixo, as older readers may faintly recall, has some fascinating and not altogether ridiculous ideas on how to remedy this nation’s apparently ‘mixed’ ability to play our national game.

The first of the rickety pillars on which Dicko’s cunning plan rests is the contention that pretty much any Premiership team could see off any English national side of recent vintage.

Rickety pillar two is the notion that the Premiership is the “best league in the world” (and let’s not examine this one too closely, as it’s the only other proper pillar we have).

Vigorously rubbing pillars one and two against one another magically creates a much-needed third pillar in the form of the logical deduction that the best team in the Premiership could beat any national side in the world. At a trot, probably. Maybe even after a few beers and 20 Bensons.

With a moderately sturdy tripod now in place, Dickoe proposes the creation of a brand new top-flight team, comprising English blokes only, established with the specific purpose of creating a world-beating national team.

Clearly in a pre-Brexit Britain there might have been a few obstacles in the path of such a project. Obstacles, let’s say, of the ‘discrimination on the basis of racial or national origin’ kind. But now, of course, we can do what we like and the forriners will just have to suck it up, because We Wun!

And if you think Dixon’s just another rabble rousing loon with plenty say but no coherent plan. Believe me: you could NOT BE more wrong. Let me tell you Folks, Dicks has a wonderful plan. I’ve seen his plan. And it’s beautiful. Believe me, this guy has it all worked out. Bigly.

The first thing that must be done in order to put Project UK Footy into practice is to relegate two sides from the Football League at the end of the forthcoming season and elevate just one from the benighted hinterlands of non-league.

Meanwhile three teams will be dismissed from the Premier League  and only two promoted – a move cascaded down through the leagues – to make room in the Premiership for the newly formed (all-English league and national side combined) Three Lions FC, managed, if there is any justice in this world, by none other than Dipsoe Tycon himself.

The Lions will play their 19 home games at Wembley, each of which is sure to attract a capacity crowd. Who would not, after all, want to see their favoured side of over-rated foreigners pitted against England’s finest. This home fixture programme alone would comfortably generate (£50 x 90,000 x 19 =) £85m in ticket sales.

The finest English players would naturally gravitate towards TLFC, blessed as they would be with the finest facilities and the finest coaching team (see comments regarding DT’s presumptive role as manager above) and top position in the league would be more or less guaranteed within a couple of seasons max.

Gone would be the endless arguments over players being released from club duties to play at international level. Gone too the endless moaning about them coming back with career derailling injuries.

To the extent that there were any semi-competent English players left to play in them, other Premiership sides would be reduced to the status of feeder clubs for the national team. Naturally they wouldn’t mind, for, as Nietzsche or Blake or somebody so aptly observed, the worm forgives the plough.

In theory, qualification for the Champions League would be more or less inevitable. In practice, there might be questions over eligibility for both this and the FA and League Cups – leaving TLFC players to concentrate their energies on their league and international commitments.

In future editions – his duties as England coach permitting – Bankstone News will bring you Dickton’s solutions to the Palestinian, Riemann Hypothesis, and Meaning-of-Life questions.

Something to look forward to, at least.

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June 17, 2016

Ever wondered how to make people ‘poke up their ears’? Come on, of course you have! Well, it’s actually not as hard as you might imagine. All you need to do is enter Insurance Ache’s Broker Apprentice competition and, ideally, win it.

That’s right: according to last year’s winner Charlie Barley, clinching the much coveted title of Broker Apprentice 2015 will quite literally catapult your profile to a point a bit higher than where it was previously.

So if you’re sick of people seeing you as just some bloke (or some bird, obviously. Sorry Ladies!), then entering Broker Apprentice 2016 could be your ticket to being taken seriously at last.

Barley said winning BA15 “has sort of boosted me into a position where people actually poke up their ears and listen a little bit.” So if you are a broker, or if you think you could get away with pretending to be one for a week or two, why not apply now!

Let’s face it, what have you got to lose! At worst you’ll be wasting a few more days of an already largely wasted life and submitting yourself to the hostile glare of sustained public ridicule. On the plus side, you could find ears suddenly poking up wherever you go. Not to mention: you’ll be doing us all a favour by providing some much-needed free entertainment on the insurance world’s closest equivalent to reality TV.

Even if you don’t win, there could still be major benefits. Broker Apprentice 2015 loser, Emma Garishly says that just being in the competition could defy the laws of geometery by giving your CV an extra edge. Plus, she admits coyly, she’s seen (BA judge) Mike L Orrance of insurers L=V3, a couple of times since they met on the set of BA15.

If you’re thinking of entering, past master Charlie Barley has some helpful advice. “Use your eyes and ears” he says (ears loom large in the world of Barley). But, he warns, be wary of going in with your mouth. “Don’t go bragging about any ideas you’ve got,” he cautions sagely.

Unsuccessful candidate Emma G, offers some further advice in a similar vein, telling would-be contestants “If you have an idea don’t be afraid to go with it. Before I did the Broker Apprentice if I had ideas I would always be quite wary about pushing them. I’d always be worried that I would get knocked back. But I am a lot more confident now with putting ideas forward.”

So there you have it! What are you waiting for? What have you got to lose? Did we say that already?

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June 16, 2016

Leading industry journal Insurance Ties has done a sort of survey thing on what brokers think of regulatory body the FCA, and apparently they’re not that keen.

For starters, a lot of brokers are a bit hacked off with all the paperwork they have to do around regulation type stuff. One in four respondents to the Insurance Tights survey rated this a their biggest beef with the FCA and everything it stands for.

And if it’s not paperwork they’re moaning on about, it’s money. Fully 22% of brokers questioned said they were more bothered about the cost of FCA regulation than anything else, quite frankly. While 20% said their biggest gripe was that being regulated would make them uncompetitive.

There’s loaded… and there’s overloaded

Commenting on these controversial findings, business consultancy bloke Robin Hood of Robin Hood Associates warned Insurance Types that there is a very real danger that “The FCA’s drive for better behaviour in the insurance broking sector is overloading firms and customers with information.”

As the findings of this important and revealing new survey make abundantly clear, given the choice between being regulated, on the one hand, and, on the other, saving a load of time, money and hassle, most brokers would rather give the FCA a miss.

According to anecdotal evidence, no fewer than one broker told researchers that the FCA doesn’t “understand the real competitive world in which we operate.” Clients don’t want all the useless paperwork that is “now routinely sent with renewals” and sometimes even with quotes, this broker argued. They won’t read it, he insisted, adding dismissively that “the average consumer has not got a clue about the endless reams of bumf being sent out.”

Job done – now back off

Not everyone was totally negative about the FCA. Around a third of respondents accepted that the regulator might have a role to play in “helping staff to become more professional” or “improving customer outcomes.”

But, again, one broker (not sure if it was the same one) argued that “All the cowboys have been weeded out and the garden can now flourish.” On this basis, it’s hard to understand why the regulator is still hanging around littering up the nice tidy garden with all its unread and unloved paperwork and stalking imaginary cowboys amongst the hardy perennials.

Sustaining the horticultural analogy, while shifting adroitly from a weeding to a watering metaphor, one broker added that, if the FCA did insist on hanging around it should at least tiptoe more lightly through the intermediary tulips and consider switching from a water canon to a watering can.

TCF: Take a chill-pill, FCA

Like the God of Genesis working overtime or the global motor manufacturing sector, the FCA is “creating too much too fast,” Robin Hood argues, thus triggering a classic Marxist crisis of overproduction. “The overload of information is becoming counter-productive to the concept of TCF,” Hood warns, raising the spectre of a Marcusian crisis of counter-production.

“The small broker is still having to do too much,” Hood insists, drawing a distinction between pure and impure brokers. “There are a lot of people out there,” Hood gestures vaguely, “who don’t have the integrity of pure insurance brokers. My argument to the regulator is that, with the pure insurance brokers who give advice to clients, one should take a view that they should be treated differently.”

Delicate flowers, not meat on the street

There is some suggestion that this may already be happening, with one broker (them again?) observing that “what we seem to see is the smaller broker on the street being picked off as they are ‘easy meat’, while the practices of some of the larger consolidators and banks continue regardless.”

So basically, this latest research, shows the regulator must tend small pure brokers with a gentle touch, not overwatering them or flattening them with what broker body BIBA has described as a sheer weight of paperwork, and not pruning them back too harshly, which might be all well and good with banks and that, but is simply not appropriate for smaller, purer and more delicate brokers.

Hopefully that’s all pretty clear.

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Excessive red tape?

June 16, 2016

What, you may ask, having presumably just read the headline above, is a pseudo lawyer?

Is it one who reckons he’s all fancy pants and special and that, and is forever posing around with his fingers raised pensively to his chin, misquoting Foucault, Heidegger and Derrida? Actually, it isn’t.

A pseudo lawyer is someone who comes on like a lawyer without actually being one. He’s like a TV dentist who strategically omits the line about ‘I’m not a dentist but…’

Or something. Anyway there’s going to be a lot more of it about in the next few years. That’s according the Federation of Insurers’ Lawyers (FOIL), who are all 100% bone of fido lawyers, with the paperwork to prove it. Probably. If you asked them.

That’s right: FOOL this week warned that an unwelcome side effect of the government’s War on Claims could be a massive outbreak of pseudo lawyers.

The entirely laudable aim of increasing the small claims court limit for personal injury from £1,000 to £5,000 was to encourage would be trouble-makers to give up and go away.

The problem is that lots of claim makers have insisted on pressing ahead without a lawyer. Obviously, they’ve been floundering pitifully and really just wasting everyone’s time.

But the real worry is that flushing claimant lawyers out of the bottom end of the market has created a vacuum into which so-called claims management firms (CFCs) could come cynically rushing, in the role of… pseudo lawyers.

More specifically, they’ll be coming in the guise of McKinsey Fiends.

If that expression is not familiar to you, allow Bankstone News to explain…

Where a litigant in person is too poor or whatever to get themselves a lawyer, English law provides for them to have something, as we have just mentioned, called a McKinsey Fiend.

This are basically just anybody who offers to hold the litigant’s hand and sort of prop them up a bit generally, based on whatever knowledge they may or may not have about how to get things done in a court of law.

Naturally, the kind of low-life riff-raf who wants to make a fuss in the small claims court is quite unlikely to know anyone with either any idea how to do legal stuff or any inclination to offer this kind of assistance.

Which is where, FOIL fears, claims management firms could come a-sneaking in, telling claim makers, they can sort all this legal b*ll*cks for them and help them get their greedy undeserving hands on some of their insurer’s hard earned cash.

The problem, FOIL reckon, will only get worse if the proposals of a recent Judaical Executive Board consultation, which positively encourages pseudo lawyers, are adopted.

Said proposals include rebranding McKinsey Fiends as ‘Courtza Porters’ and even allowing them to get paid for their pseudo-legal input. Failing an outright ban on anyone lifting a finger to help litigants in person, FOIL is calling for “new rules ensuring that the interests of those using the courts remain protected.”

And that means all those using the courts, clearly, not just those hell bent on persisting with their almost certainly bogus claims for this or that non-existent injury. In fact, particularly not them.

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June 15, 2016

The masthead slogan of top insurance new title Insurance Aches, from which Bankstone News pilfered the following story, proclaims pithily “Serving the Insurance Broking Community”. Which is more than can be said for establishment tool Lord Hut of Whirl, so-called chairman of the (supposedly) British Insurance Broker’s Association.

In a base and duplicitous attempt to subvert the legitimate democratic process, Lord Hut has this week been attempting to deceive the decent and generous spirited people of Britain into betraying their country by voting to Remain in thrall to unelected Eurobureaucrats.

Alluding to the “plethora” of “claims and counter claims” put forward in the debate, Lord Hut, claims that some of these claims and counterclaims are “clearly unsupported by the available evidence.” As our analysis below clearly shows, he must be talking about himself there!

“I am firmly in the ‘remain camp’,” he confesses, before trotting out a seemingly endless tirade of exactly the kind of unfounded propaganda you would expect from a leading member of a Europhile ring.

Let’s look at his so-called arguments for voting Remain, and see how well they stand up.

Hut’s claim: A Remain vote will be good for “peace and prosperity”.

FACT: This is fanciful nonsense. In reality, leaving the EU at once (and handing power to decent upstanding patriots) is the only thing that will be good for the inventive and generous spirited people of this country.

Hut’s claim: Britain needs to be “engaged in Europe” at a “dangerous time” for the world.

FACT: The only “danger” is people like Hut who want to keep the glorious and generous spirited people of Britain on their knees while foreigners have big offices and ride around in limousines.

Hut’s claim: “Remaining in the EU would be a vote for business stability over uncertainty.”

FACT: It would be a vote for cheese and garlic and straight bananas – and for foreigners to continue flooding to our shores until the national pie is entirely eaten up.

Hut’s claim: Voting Remain would “stimulate investment and boost confidence that we will be able to continue to trade freely under the EU freedom of services provision.”

FACT: Voting Remain will condemn us to year after year of desolate misery and paying for things we don’t want and don’t get any benefit from. Only voting Leave will usher in a golden age of national sovereignty in which a shining belief in the optimism and resilience of Britain’s generous spirited people will protect us forever from the dark forces of globalisation and reality.

What’s more

And it’s not just Hut who’s at it. Some sinister cabal of “experts” at (Hut’s employers) BIBA have somehow brain-washed its executive into publishing its own list of spurious reasons for remaining. So let’s take a look at those as well.

BIBA’s claim: “A British exit from the EU would be disadvantageous to the insurance broking sector.”

FACT: Utter tosh! What would be disadvantageous to the insurance broking sector would be if brokers had to look their families in the eye and tell them: yes, I sold my country out because I listened to “experts” and put the love of money before the love of our glorious nation. 

BIBA’s claim: A Leave vote would cause “uncertainty for businesses, leading to an adverse impact on investment, customer groups and the insurance market overall.”

FACT: Pure fantasy! BIBA has been wrong before and it is wrong again about this.

BIBA’s claim: If we leave the EU “the existing system of insurance companies ‘passporting’ into the UK could cease, potentially leading to a serious reduction in choice for UK consumers.”

FACT: Everything will be fine. Better in fact.

BIBA’s claim: A leave vote “would seriously damage the ability of brokers to place business on behalf of clients domiciled elsewhere within the EU.”

FACT: What would seriously damage brokers would be voting Remain!

BIBA’s claim: “Brokers need to be able to write suitable policies – and the EU freedom of services provision is highly beneficial.”

FACT: Everything will be perfect after we leave the EU.

BIBA’s claim: “Europe provides access to a far larger pool of skills and knowledge than the UK alone, which is of great value.”

FACT: Europe can keep its skills and knowledge. We don’t need any of them. Everything is going to be great.

Simple as that!

Crossing out Lies and writing Truth on a blackboard.

Crossing out Lies and writing Truth on a blackboard.

June 10, 2016

Consult your handsome leather-bound Floyd’s of London desktop diary and you will at once be in a position to confirm that, just as we are about to tell you, June 20 sees the start of Insurance Charities Awareness Week, one annual tradition that is very much more honoured in the observance than the breach.

Bankstone will be doing its bit, so to speak, by displaying what’s known as a ‘box’ in a prominent place around the office somewhere (probably the reception area, if you really want specifics – although no final decision has as yet been taken).

The box in question will contain a variety of items designed, as the Insurance Charities publicity materials put it, to be “useful and enjoyable” and to appeal to “as many people as possible.”

If we told you the box will contain “tissue packs, chocolates, pens and leaflets”, that would hardly begin to convey the full utility and enjoyment potential the box contains.

The leaflets, for example, are “not just leaflets”. No, indeed, far from it: “with a couple of folds and tears along the perforated lines they can become a bookmark and a business card.”

Bankstone will be urging (possibly even compelling) its staff to avail themselves fully of the myriad possibilities for good cause supportage presented by this miraculous box and its multifarious contents.

After all, it’s worth remembering that – for all the joy insurance brings to the lives of those it touches – some current and former insurance people can still find themselves left out, left alone, or left behind, with seemingly nowhere to turn for support…

That’s where Insurance Charities comes in.

Set up over 100 years ago, the Insurance Charities supports people who’ve worked in the insurance industry, providing everything from financial assistance to welfare breaks, activities, advice and support to everyone from PAs to CEOs (i.e. not just CEO’s PAs, but PAs, CEOs and everyone in between).

If you would like to help support the Insurance Charities, and maybe even get a box of your own, check out their website at www.theinsurancecharities.org.uk or see their pages at www.facebook.com/TheInsuranceCharities/ or uk.linkedin.com/in/TheInsuranceCharities.

Let’s face it, you’ve done your share of taking out. Now’s the time to start putting something back in.

They say charity begins at home. Well, insurance charity begins with charitable insurance people. And that means you!

Unless it doesn’t.

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foolish enough to superglue my fingers to the bridge of my nose.

June 10, 2016

We’re all familiar with the much-touted claim that the UK sends £3bn in fraudulent motor insurance claims to Brussels every year. But new allegations from an unimpugnably independent source have unexpectedly thrown that figure into doubt.

Unbiased non-aligned watch-tank the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has challenged the government to submit the contentious £350m figure for independent verification.

Either that, APIL insist, or remove it immediately from the side of the War on Claims ‘battle bus’ that minsters are currently driving round the country as part of a sponsored deal with leading UK motor insurers.

The figure has assumed a special relevance in the run up to 23 June as the Ministry of Justice is about to publish an “ACTION PLAN” based on the recommendations of the INSURANCE FRAUD EXPEDITIONARY TASK FORCE.

Regular readers will recall that the TASK FORCE set sail earlier this year to defend ordinary decent motorists, and the insurance companies who represent their interests, from illegal occupation by so-called ‘C4C’ fraudsters.

A key plank in the rhetoric used to galvanise the British public behind this campaign has been the claim that C4C fraudsters, and their so-called claims management paymasters, possess Weapons of Mass Deception capable off hitting mainland UK motor insurers (and the policyholders who will ultimately suffer) within 45 minutes.

Lord High Minster of Justice Falco has specifically cited ‘credible intelligence’ suggesting that the value of current fraudulent attacks could amount to £3bn per annum (that’s enough to privatise one NHS hospital each and every week of the year), equating this to an extra £50 a year on the motor insurance premiums of normal right-thinking people with cars.

But now it seems some or all of the above figures may not be strictly true. Bankstone News for one is at a loss to know what to think.

Nothing new there, then.

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June 10, 2016

A bit like the pros and cons of EU membership, motor insurance, it seems, is simply too complicated for the average UK person to get their head around.

“Motor insurance too confusing”, pronounced a press release from insurance firm Co-op Insurance this week. And they’re not just making it up. They got researcher Atom Mick to ask 2,000 actual UK drivers, most of whom had little or no clue how motor insurance works.

Rather than making more of an effort to understand what they’re buying, 86% of drivers say motor insurance should be made more simple, so it doesn’t hurt their brains so much.

And, let’s face it, they’ve got a point. When we’re all so busy with social media and online shopping and catching up with all those telly box sets, who’s really got time to waste filling out long complicated application forms on confusing.com or some insurer’s website!

Here are some of things people don’t understand about motor insurance:

  • How motor insurance premiums are calculated (51%)
  • Why motor insurance premiums go up and down (43%)
  • Why more expensive cars cost more to insure (36%)

More shockingly still 42% of motorists don’t even understand why they should have to pay more when other people make claims!

Luckily – given these disturbing revelations about how confusing everyone finds motor insurance – Co-op insurance is working on some revolutionary plans for making motor insurance easier to understand.

Although, it’s a bit of a con really, because, instead of actually making motor insurance simpler, which is clearly what everyone wants, they’re just trying to help people understand how bad-old over-complicated motor insurance works.

For example, they’ve produced a series of three videos designed to explain, yawn, how motor insurance pricing works.

The first shows how 25% of your premium goes on compensating all the people your insurer’s policyholders have injured, 20% goes on repairing/replacing all of the cars and/or property belonging to other people that their policyholders have damaged, 20% goes on repairing/replacing all their policyholders’ own damaged or stolen cars and/or property, leaving just 35% of your premium cash to pay for things like operating costs, IPT and ‘so on’.

To be honest, it’s hard to imagine surging public interest will be crashing the site hosting the Co-op’s educational videos any time soon.

Underwriters might enjoy them though. Always good to gain a new level of insight into such arcane matters.

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June 10, 2016

Some of the people crack motor insurance fraud busters The FEDs come up against are terrifyingly sophisticated. Some, on the other hand, are terrifyingly stupid.

Take, for example, Luke Gaughan and Sam Bobbly-Bingly, a couple of feckless young ne’er-do-wells from notorious West Yorkshire depravity nest Bradford, who have just been convicted of a quite astonishingly cack-handed attempt at motor insurance fraud.

Even by Bradford standards.

How did the pair’s nefarious intent to subvert the due process of insurance claimage come to light? It happened like this, since you ask.

Late one November night in 2014 Bobbly-Bingly parked his battered Peugeot 206 by the kerb somewhere in Oxenhope, Keighley. Stepping out of the vehicle, he then stood by while his so-called mate Gaughan repeated rammed it with his battered Vauxhall Corsa.

Puzzled locals, perhaps alerted by the unfamiliar sound of one car repeatedly impacting another in the wee small hours and perhaps suspecting, following a brief visual inspection from behind twitching lace curtains, that something irregular might be afoot, decided to call the cops.

With neither car in a fit state for driving any distance, Bobbly-Bingly and Gaughan managed to get them as far as a nearby car park, where they were just in the process of switching to a third ‘getaway’ vehicle, when an officer of the law (one PC Peter Brown, to be precise) turned up and wondered aloud what precisely might be occurring here, Lads.

Having been spotted in the act of playing bumper cars on the public highway and, shortly thereafter, been physically apprehended in an act of car-sharing collusion, the pair had little choice but to fess up to their having – for reasons they preferred not to specify – been deliberately driving one car into the other.

Believing he might have some inkling as to the unspecified motivation for deliberate multi-prankage, PC Brown then took the precaution of warning the hapless pair that – although, as yet, they had committed no crime – they should not even think about submitting one or more dodgy insurance claims. Just to be on the safe side, he also noted their details and kept them on file.

Upon reflection, PC Brown decided that, rather than trusting too far in the good sense or better instincts of this unprepossessing pair, it might be best to do a bit of further research and alert their insurers to the potential benefits of paying extra close attention to the purported circumstances of any claims they might receive from Gaughan or Bobbly-Bingly in the near future.

Unmoved by PC Brown’s friendly admonitions, both young gentlemen proceeded to advise their insurers of an unfortunate accident which, they claimed, had occurred when Bobbly-Bingly had recklessly cut a corner leaving Gaughan no choice but to run into his rear end (just the once, mind).

Bobbly-Bingly’s decision to accept the blame and make no attempt to claim for damage to his own car suggests his nerve may have begun to falter. But Gaughan, clearly the dominant partner in this duplicitous double-act, pressed on merrily with a claim against Bobbly-Bingly’s insurers, Insure My Box.

Having been tipped off by West Yorks Fuzz, thanks to PC Brown, Insure My Box contacted Bobbly-Bingly and suggested to him that the circumstances of the two vehicles coming together may not have been precisely as he had represented them. B-B caved at once, freely admitting he’d been fibbing.

Gaughan, however, turned out to have been made of more resolutely knuckle-headed stuff and insisted his fabrications were the honest truth and nothing but. Undeterred when Insure My Box threw out his claim, he then tried to claim against his own policy, with Uvavu. They, however, had seen him coming a mile off, and immediately referred both of our would-be fraudsters to dreaded anti-fraud squad The FEDs, whose brilliant detective work quickly brought the pair to book.

On 26 May this year both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and were sentenced at Bradford Crown Court to four months’ imprisonment (suspended for 12 months). Gaughan was also ordered to pay back £1,280 for losses incurred by the insurers.

For his pains, Bobbly-Bingly was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. A course on how to pick your friends more carefully might also have been in order.

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