IPT: the gift that just keeps giving

28/11/2016

Buyers of motor insurance stuck for something to splash out on in anticipation of the £40 windfall they’re in line for once HMG’s new improved restrictions on lawyers helping little people comes into force, might want to consider putting a little aside to cover the additional 2% they’ll be paying for their motor insurance following Chancer Phil “The Organ” Hammond’s decision to increase Insane Punishment Tax from 10% to 12% from June next year.

The total impact of IPT on the average comprehensive motor premium now stands at around £50. In other words, that 100%-bankable £40 saving from outlawing whiplash claims will pay for – not just the additional eight or nine pounds to which the government is helping itself this time – but also up to 80% of the total cost of IPT on your average motor policy. So basically, you’re quids – if not exactly in – then only slightly out!

At the present rate of increase, however, IPT is set to rise to a not inconsiderable 24% by summer 2019, at which point you may be looking to Government to take even stronger measures to prevent other people – people, let’s say, who are not quite as decent, honest and hardworking as you are – from claiming anything at all on their motor insurance policies – so that motor insurance premiums can come down again.

Now, clearly, the government has to find money from somewhere, and clearly IPT is a pretty nifty idea (a sort of a VAT for insurance that no-one can ever claim back), and clearly if we’re ever going afford to leave the EU and keep all those foreigners out, the money’s got to come from somewhere. But should government really be penalising people whose only crime is driving around a bit in a metal thing with wheels and an engine – and wanting to do so in a legal and indemnified fashion?

Obviously it shouldn’t! Among the first to make this important point were various insurance firms, who came out en masse this week to insist that if anyone is going to be taking money off motor insurance buyers it should be them and not the government.

Leading insurance related fashion house BIBA was swift to add its own unique voice to anti-IPT vituperation. “It’s a ruddy scandal,” said BIBA top dog Steve Wipe in Bankstone News’ recent sock-puppet pre-Christmas pantomime. “This regressive tax is outrageous,” said the real Steve Wipe or someone speaking on his behalf, which, like Mr Punch in some other puppet show, will “hit everyone and especially those ‘just about managing’”

Meanwhile telematics touts Insure My Box made a play for the yoof vote, claiming that young drivers will be paying around £150 a year in IPT on an average premium of £1,250 per annum. At this rate, JAMs and recently qualified drivers could soon find themselves priced off the road – or worse still, threatens Insure My Box’s Charley Hackett, tempted to “take the risk of driving whilst uninsured”.

It hardly seems likely they’d go that far. Not when they’d be risking a first-offence penalty of £300 just for the sake of saving themselves just a couple of thousand quid!

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28/11/2016

Another week, another thrilling instalment of top insurance reality show Broker Appendix (click link to watch). In this week’s episode the six loveable chancers we’ve come to know so well over the course of their three previous outings are quite literally sent to Coventry.

For it is there, Esteemed Reader, that an event called Brex Broker Expo takes place each year at the legendary Rico’s Arena. At this year’s BBE over a thousand people gathered in a large indoor space to hang around, listen to people saying things, and chat about insurance and stuff.

The challenge for Team Effete and Team Valor, taskmaster Mike Crain explains in the set-up scene, is to attend the aforementioned Brex Broker Expo, come up with “the most engaging campaign to benefit the insurance broker community” and advocate its merits to delegates.

Except it isn’t really! The actual task is all about parting delegates from a round green plastic token supplied to them as part of the Brex Broker Expo welcome pack and amassing the highest total of round green plastic tokens in a see-through plastic box with a slot on top.

The task is quickly dubbed the Waitrose challenge. Why? Because you can play a very similar game if you hang around the exit of the posh person’s Asda blagging tokens off departing shoppers – or at least you can for three or four minutes usually until some bloke in a stripy shirt comes over and tells you to ‘push’ off.

Sadly, neither team has twigged that it’s all about the tokens, and both appear to have put real effort into coming up with their “engaging campaigns”.

Confusingly, following another team-member swap instigated by the capricious Mike Rain at the top of the show, 2/3rds of Team Valor started out as Team Elite and vice-versa, leaving Craig and Shamone as the only contestants still in the team they started out in.

Valor’s campaign involves the seemingly irresistible proposal of cutting Insane Punishment Tax (IPT) from 10% to 6% for insured amounts under £10k, and 8% for under sums under £500,000, as part of a new progressive taxation scheme that sees sums over £10m re-rated at IPT +50%. Finally some welcome punishment for commercial insurance buyers!

Jonny Valor explains that 10% is “an extortionate amount” (clearly, at the time of filming, Valor could not have known that IPT will soon be going up again to 12%). But with Team Valor’s new plan, he says, “smaller clients and people that perhaps don’t have as much money or income can be made more fair and split more equally across the market.” WNTL!

Although whether HMG is really going to want the hassle of reassigning five different grades of IPT every six months each time they put it up again is open to question. There’s also a danger people might deliberately insure their property for less than its worth to keep it below a trigger threshold.

Team Elise, meanwhile have uncovered a worrying new phenomenon in the insurance market and have chosen this as the target for their campaign. It’s something called “under insurance”. Apparently some people aren’t paying enough for their insurance, and then if something goes wrong insurers have to tell them: “Sorry Mate, you didn’t pay us enough money, so we’re not going to pay you enough money.” WGACA!

But Team E-lite have a cunning plan that can fix this problem. This involves teaching insurance brokers to have proper conversations with their clients and do things properly.

Initially both teams stand around on their stands for a bit. This appears to suit Team Elite who are “getting all the attention”. But after a while Team Valor turn the tide by abandoning their stand to roam the exhibition hall, waylaying delegates and getting them to hand over their tokens – for which, let’s face it, they’ve no real use themselves (unless, for argument’s sake, they’ve lost one of the pieces in a popular family board game that they’re hoping to get out and play with over the forthcoming festive period).

Anyhow, it soon becomes clear that tokens are there for the taking, nobody’s really interested in being educated about underinsurance or hearing out illusory promises about sliding scales for IPT, and that – with a 2pm cut-off – time is running out.

Perhaps fatally for Team Valor, Shamone is still out there roaming the halls somewhere with a fistful of freshly harvested round green plastic tokens when 2pm strikes and the passing hipster from Episodes 2 and 3 (who it turns out was actually top insurance journalist Jonathan Swifty-Swift in disguise all along!) whisks away the two plastic box-loads of tokens for counting.

In a dramatic denouement we learn that it was incredibly, incredibly close, with the two teams almost impossible to separate on 109 to 132 round green plastic tokens respectively. In the end it was given to the team with 132 tokens which was Team Elite. Another win for a team featuring charming and personable Dean sees him standing head and shoulders above the other contenders. The bloke must be at least 6’ 2”.

The lesson to be learned from these week’s cleverly devised task is very plain in hindsight – although it took the teams a while to work it out. If you’re going to go to one of these industry events, there’s b*gger all point paying for a stand and then just hanging around hoping someone will come and talk to you. You’re better off just turning up as you are, and doing a bit of good old fashioned networking.

Piece by piece, these apprentices really are gaining the knowledge they’ll need to succeed.

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27/11/2016

Prang-swapping website Accident Exchange has revealed that modern day Britain is simply too small for the larger vehicles favoured by today’s anxious and status-hungry motorists.

Not only do people need taller cars so they can look down on other drivers, they also need wider cars to they can just generally feeler butcher, more insulated, and ‘tucked in’.

And it’s not just car owners who want to make cars bigger. Manufacturers are having to make cars bigger to incorporate lots of new safety features and kit and so on. It just has to be done, really.

This leaves funny old Britain feeling more than a little quaint, poky and spatially inadequate. It’s literally ridiculous that we are still using car parks designed in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, when today’s cars are many times the size of those built back in those bad old days.

For example, a 1960s mini was so small you could quite literally fit one in a matchbox (see illustration). Today’s equivalent is so wide that a 6ft tall man could lie down across the back seats, provided he folded his legs up against his chest!

The vast size of modern vehicles is leading to almost £1.5 billion worth of damage claims in areas where cars are parked, if you believe Accident Exchange. According to unsourced guesses, there are over 675,000 car parking collisions each year caused by excessive car size – a staggering 1,859 every day!

Some survey or other has found that the average UK parking space is just 4.8 metres long and 2.4 metres wide, while popular SUVs like the Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class are twice that long and nearly five times as wide. Or something.

Not only are many Brits incapable of manoeuvring the lumbering beasts they like to drive in confined spaces without impacting others vehicles, but also parking spaces designed for the laughably slimline cars of yesteryear are literally impossible to park without a) scraping and gouging vehicles to either side and/or b) discovering you can’t open your door to get out.

Accident Exchange’s director of accidents Scott Hamilton-Scooper believes that the increasing size of UK vehicles “could be contributing to the rise in car parking incidents we are seeing” and that the fact that parking spaces aren’t terribly wide “makes things tight for large cars.”

It’s pretty terrifying when you stop to think about it.

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26/11/2016

Winter is icumen in, Lhude sing Goddamm. Raineth drop and staineth slop, And how the wind doth ramm!

Yes, it’s that time of year again. With Britain slated to experience the coldest winter since time began, it’s time to hanky down around a rawing fire, whip out your tongs and toast those cobblers. It’s the season of snowflakes, mince pies, cinnamon toads and white walkers.

There’ll be sledging, ball fights in the snow, and muckle merriment besides. But it won’t all be fun and games. Insurers Cover-Ya are warning of weather related motor mayhem up and down the land. When the climate turns cold, we’re told, motorists are up to 33.3% more likely to find themselves obliged to make a claim on their motor car insurance policies.

Cover-Ya have analised almost 150,000 claims to discover this alarming trend and are now predicting that “prolonged periods of snow and ice could lead to treacherous roads this winter.” Yikes, you’re probably thinking. Maybe I’d better stay at home. And maybe you’re right. There could be any number of reasons why that might be a good idea.

But if you do choose to venture out this winter. Bear in mind the word treacherous in the quote above. “Treacherous roads,” says Cover-Ya Road Champion Barry Street “could lead to incidents,” the kind of incidents, he cautions, that could lead in turn to motor claims. Motorists should gird all appropriate portions of their anatomy against: darkness, fog, rain, ice and snow.

But with a few simple precautions, Baz insists, it should still be possible to drive around a bit this winter and yet live to tell the tale. What you need to do is as follows:

  • Don’t try to drive off without first clearing snow and ice from your windscreen – otherwise you won’t be able to see where you are going and will probably drive into something
  • Take care of your ‘wipers’ and they will take care of you – also keep topping up a bottle with screen wash and keep a dicer in your car
  • Your tyres are the only bit of your car that touches the road – or at least they should be – so make sure you have some air in them and that they still have those little ridges on them so they’re grippy and that
  • Don’t drive so fast and stop driving so close to other cars -because it’s really difficult trying to make a car stop when the roads are icy or treacherous or whatever
  • If the weather is really horrible or if you see any skinny half-naked geezers with ice blue eyes roaming about with straggly white hair and stuff, then by no means leave the house without a nice warm ‘sweater’ and some hot soup in a thermos.

Follow these simple rules and what could possibly go wrong!

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21/11/2016

Blimey, that was quick! No sooner have insurers had a little whinge about HMG’s inaction on whiplash than HMG launches a ferocious crack down on compensation claims of every conceivable kind (especially those worth less than £5,000.00).

Encouraged by insurers’ promise to pass on £40 a head to Britain’s motorists (how could that not be a vote winner!) the Ministry of Justice has officially declared the current number of whiplash claims “unacceptably high” and is planning to crack down hard on this scourge of affordable motor insurance policies by scrapping the right to compensation for anything trivial and requiring people found guilty of claiming for whiplash injuries to wear a distinctive cap.

Before they do that, however, they’ve decided to do a bit of consulting on these new proposals. Insurers will probably be OK with them – seeing as they came up with them in the first place – but almost inevitably self-serving legal types will have a little whine and a moan about ‘access to justice’ and all that nonsense. Who needs access to justice when there’s £40 quid a year just waiting to be claimed!

Other stuff to be consulted on includes: a) a fixed-price see-through menu of compensation payments for cervical injuries that might actually be real or quite serious or something, b) stopping anyone with a claim worth less than £5k from having legal representation, and c) banning insurers from making offers to would-be whiplash claimants who don’t have a proper sick note from MedCo.

These measures, HMG hopes, will slash average whiplash pay-outs from just shy of £2k to well under £500. This will allow insurance companies to a) cheer their long-suffering shareholders up a bit b) launch a brutal price war with one another, or c) make good on that forty quid a head promise.

The whiplash crack down (whipcrack as it is now being called) has been all over the papers and radio recently. Here,  for example, you can hear Uvavu’s Andrea Moreish outlining what they’ve told the Government to do – or here  you can hear (at 31:12) self-serving solicitor Tom Jones on the Paddy Vine show claiming that insurers are using whiplash as a sort of a cross between a fig leaf and a blunderbuss to stop injured little people standing up to the sinister might of insurance companies – and also some lassie called Lizzy Truss who says we are all paying a billion pounds a year to fund giveaways to whiplash scammers – and that legislation to make sure the system works fairly for everyone (except bad people) is urgently needed.

And ultimately, you know, she’s right: because there’s simply too much incentive in the system now for people to seek redress for bad stuff that gets done to them. Insurers’ new legislation should fix that good and proper. And about time too!

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21/11/2016

Noted man of music, medicine and other metiers too manifold and miscellaneous to mention, Dr Harry “Broonz” de Brunjes, is currently packing out edutainment venues across the country with the sell-out two-man show he does with fellow physician Dr John Andrews, Dual Medicine for Murderers, which anatomises the notorious careers Dr Harry Shipman and Dr John Bodkin Atoms.

The pair enjoyed their latest triumph on the night of Halloween when they thrilled an audience of 350 in the hallowed bowels of London’s Royal Society of Medication (see picture below, in which Dr B manually describes the dimensions of some anatomical detail no doubt pertinent to their ghoulish tale of mass murder and psychopathy).

So widely has their fame as experts on how to kill people and get away with it spread, that acclaimed author Jeffrey Archer allegedly sought HB’s advice (for research purposes only, of course) and credits him in his new novel That’s Warsaw, Man (the follow-up to Cometh the Owl and final part of the hugely popular Clinton Chronicles) as a valued source of expert guidance and instruction.

In between gigging around the country with Dull Medicine for Murdoch and running leading medical legal reporting outfit Premiere Medicine Group, Dr Broonz is planning to go on tour with ELO, who’ll be taking their acclaimed rock opera Mick Hard Dough to Blackpool for an extended series of shows in May next year.

Bankstone staff plan to pile aboard the firm’s trusty semi-trans-pennine charabanc and head over en masse to catch the show. Or at least they were until news of Strictly Gorka’s dental rearrangement broke this morning and the thought of going ‘over the other side’ suddenly lost some of its appeal.

Honestly, what is this country coming to!

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21/11/2016

Day Free of Broker Apprentice 2016 opens with Team Valor quite literally sore with defeat, after Team Elite’s early retirement quite literally catapulted them to victory in last week’s brutal treasure hunt round.

But another day brings another challenge and there’s everything to play for as our six eager contestants go head to head once again as they struggle to devise a board or card game that will quite literally ‘embody insurance and risk’.

Before they can set about this daunting challenge, however, taskmaster Mike Rayne of Elvy Broker Insurance throws the cat quite literally among the pigeons by moving Katie over from Team Valor to Team Elite, with Frankie reassigned oppositewisewards. This is hard on Frankie, you might think, as the Team Elite name was her idea!

Ensconced in their respective meeting rooms over at Incisive Media’s Frog House HQ the two teams (Elite now comprising friendly giant Craig, glamorous Katie and the-other-one Jonathan, and Valor featuring suits-you Dean and international-man-of-mystery Shamone plus formerly Elite Frankie) get to work on dreaming up board or card games that will ‘promote the merits of the insurance sector’ to 10 and 11 year olds.

Valor quickly settle on a game that involves rolling dice and moving counters round squares on a board, a bit like Monopoly or snakes and ladders or something. Outlining his proposed game mechanics Jonathan explains: ‘You roll the dice and whoever’s got the highest has insurance and whoever doesn’t doesn’t have insurance. You haven’t got insurance therefore your house has burned down and you have to wait here while repairs are done or you find the money or whatever” Craig, as usual, is making notes.

Elite meanwhile come up with the innovative thought that their game – a card game as it turns out – should involve something which the passing hipster from Episode 2 pops up unexpectedly to describe as ‘an element of fun’. Essentially, Dean appears to have invented something like an insurance themed version of popular family guessing game Cranium.

They, like their rivals, now get to call on the expert design skills of expert design expert Nansi Nansi (somewhat fancy) who brings to the party not only her expert design skills but also the neat idea that the games should have names. Having knocked up a board and some cards, she very sensibly leaves the teams to do their own cutting out and laminating while she heads off the apply her expertise elsewhere.

With professional looking board games now complete, the teams head off to road test them at Violence Primary School in Dagenham, where, due to recent education cuts, pupils are now educated by owls. Introducing the teams and their games to a class of 10 and 11 years olds, Elvy’s Eros Jones explains that the pupils will be split into two groups and made to play each game for 20 minutes (young eyes glance up apprehensively at the clock on the classroom wall), regrouping at the end of the session to provide feedback on which game they liked the most.

Elite’s board game appears to have acquired a Despicable Me theme (let’s hope they’ve got this properly licensed from Universal Pictures) and involves players rolling dice to move around 40 consecutive squares arranged across a board divided arbitrarily into purple, yellow, green and blue quadrants, with the game name What’s the Risk? featured prominently in the middle. When players land on particular squares they must pick up and read cards outlining the insurance implications of the particular misadventures their arrival triggers. These primarily involve Gru (TM) or his Minions (TM) either stealing or damaging your property.

For example: “Gru has stolen your car keys. The peril is theft. The risk is leaving your keys lying around and Gru has taken them. This is an insurance in a building contents or motor policy.” The kids are clearly loving these mini card-based lectures and the chance to listen to a lot of insurance related words like ‘policy’, ‘Hazard’, ‘risk’ and ‘peril’ – all of which will probably come to mean something to them when they’re a bit older.

The kids are clearing having a whale of a time rolling dice and reading out the incomprehensible words on the cards. “Gru has stolen your bike!” How they laugh. “Oh, Gru!” says ten year old Tumise, “I thought you said brew!” Then: “Minions have smashed your windowscreen.” “That’s exactly what insurance is for,” Craig cuts in helpfully: “it helps you out in everything that you can do, day to day!”

But, if anything, the kids playing Valor’s Cranium like card game are having even more fun! The cards relate to different problems the players might encounter in the lives. Players take turns to mime or describe the their problems to the other players who have to guess what on earth they are on about as quickly as possible so someone else can have a go. Bankstone News is none too sure about this, but the name of the game might be “What could go wrong?”

A card comes up saying something like “It’s your birthday”. That might sound like good news in the abstract, but of course there’s a lot that can go wrong when it’s your birthday. Shamone (looking late-night sleazy-glamorous in black suit, black shirt and black bow tie) prompts: “So what can go wrong with Birthday?” “I really need to go to the toilet,” one boys ventures, “or I had too much food.” “You’ve got stomach ache,” a classmate diagnoses.

We see another card describing things that can go wrong at the THEATRE. Options listed on the reverse of the card include. 1. No popcorn 2. Tall people sitting in front of you 3. Injury on stage 4. [Paper cut, possibly] 5. [can’t read this one at all – fingers in the way – but looks like it might be some other kind of cut – or maybe it’s about being heckled and lectured from the stage by some jumped up minority person]. Whatever. The kids are clearly having fun miming, describing, throwing stools to the floor and shouting out their guesses.

Once each group has had a go at each game, the kids speak to camera passing their verdict. More or less everyone seems to think the Elite’s board game suffered from a deficit of fun/interactivity and a surplus of insurance, while Valor’s card game won fans because it was fun and “you had to act or describe what you’re doing.”

So it’s Cranium 1 : What’s-the-difference-between-a-risk-and-a-peril 0. Or as Eros Jones sums it up: both games were nigh on perfect but, sadly, somebody had to win. When he stands up in front of the class to sum up the exercise he begins: “The games lasted 20 minutes. What I saw was some great work,” the kids’ faces light up briefly before Eros continues, turning from the children to the contestants, “by you guys!” Disappointed of anticipated praise and encouragement, young smiles fade, young shoulders slump. Good thing Eros doesn’t work with children.

The winner, since there had to be one, is Team Valor. It could have been either, really. Or it could have been if Elite had only been quicker to learn key lesson from this week’s challenge: insurance knowledge is all well and good, but if you want to get ahead in the broking game, having fun should always come first.

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Click to watch Episode 3 in full

19/11/2016

Some truly astonishing findings emerged this week from a major study carried out by respected research institution www.myvulturecodsprong.co.uk which looked into whether young people are any good at driving.

It turns out they really aren’t. In fact, when it comes right down to it, they’re actually pretty diabolical. Which could be one reason why their motor insurance premiums are so high compared with those of drivers who aren’t young people.

One in ten young drivers will have lost their license within two years of getting it in the first place, according to Vulture Cods’s definitive new research. Why? Because they drive like flipping maniacs is why!

Within a year of passing their tests, a third of them will have at least 3 points on their license – and since it only takes six to get suspended in your first two years that’s half-way to a ban!

They’re up to all sorts, these youngsters. Using handheld tech while driving accounted for a third of bans – and speeding for a fifth, with running lights, driving a defective vehicle, and downright dangerous driving all in hot pursuit.

Vulture Cods spokesbloke George Charles has some sobering advice for younger drivers: “First-time drivers are often seen as reckless racers that have little regard for road rules. With results like this, it’s easy to see why. Risking your life for a laugh or wasting money by having your license revoked or your car written off isn’t funny or hard. It’s pretty ridiculous.”

And it is ridiculous, really, isn’t it.

When you think about it.

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14/11/2016

Wouldn’t it be fascinating, thought self-serve car sales supersite wazzle.co.uk, to find out which UK county has the highest concentration of swanky motors. Working with the unprecedented quantities of data now being harvested from the vast numbers of punters attempting to offload their pre-loved rides via wazzle.co.uk, that question can finally be answered.

Cambridgeshire, reported motor trade bible Bodyslop Magazine this week, is the “classy car capital of the UK.” For the sake of disambiguation, Bankstone News should point out that this doesn’t necessarily mean the Fenlands are awash with E-Types, Ghiblis, Dinos, DB5s and 911s. It means that Cambridgeshire cars are typically a bob or two pricier than other counties’ cars – the ones on sale, at least.

The average price of cars on sale in Cambridgeshire, allegedly is £36,358: twice as much as in neighbouring counties like Norfolk, Suffolk, and Lincolnshire. Wazzle founder Sébastien Duffle said he got the idea for this fascinating statistical study when someone in London uploaded their Lamborghini Gallardo for sale.

Amazingly, however, Seb says, London isn’t the place with the priciest cars for sale. Not even close. That place is Ely, Cambridgeshire, former last resort of 11th century rebel Hereward the Rake who defied the might of William the Bastard, England’s premier Norman ruler, and went on to ransack Peterborough Cathedral, armed only with a garden tool.

More surprisingly still, close on Cambridgeshire’s heels comes godforsaken Gloucester, twinned with Mordor, home of Fred West, random street thuggery, 1970s town planning, and the 2015 award for worst place to live in the UK (a title to which it beat Rochdale, Blackpool, Newport and Burnley).

Those who know the place may be less surprised. They’ll know that Gloster Man will happily live in any old hovel, so long as there’s a spanking new hot hatch / “classy” exec saloon (depending on marital status) on the drive outside.

Where in the UK are there fewest “classy cars” according to the Wazzle data? It’s The Val-leys, unsurprisingly, where cars are so cheap no one even bothers trying to buy or sell them anymore. But that should quickly change once this whole Brexit business comes to fruition and there’s no more EU red tape to hold back South Wales’ once proud industrial communities.

Then we’ll see some automotive classiness returning. No mistake.

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14/11/2016

There are so many incidental things to love about the new season of Brokeback Apprentice (see last week’s issue for details). There’s Mike L. Orrance’s enigmatic tight-lipped semi-smirk. There’s the stilted brochurese of the intro voiceover, in which we learn that London is a financial centre “of global repute.” And there’s the repeated use, at the top and tail of each show, of line-up footage of the six candidates in which Katie hastily withdraws her finger from her nose.

Barely have the contestants recovered from the ordeal of choosing team names (Elite and Valor) when they are plunged into a new and even more challenging task. This involves each team accepting a clipboard to which is attached an A4 sheet detailing no fewer than seven “riddles or clues” relating to “a host of significant locations” around the City of London. Basically they have to “solve’ the riddles or clues and use their mobiles to snap pics proving they’ve actually been to the significant locations in question.

With five points for each correct answer and ten points for being the first to get back to Elvy Broker HQ, the challenge has been cunningly set up to teach our apprentices the important lesson that going out and finding solutions for people is all well and good – but the key thing in broking is recognising when enough’s enough and knocking off at a decent hour.

As we witness the two teams haplessly wandering EC3, Bankstone News reflects with puzzlement on the fact that all six candidates seem to be wearing the same outfits on Day Two that they wore on Day One. Perhaps their baggage has yet to arrive at the tastelessly opulent show-home mansion they presumably share for the duration of filming.

Team Elite are first out of the blocks with what the voiceover tuttingly describes as “little planning”. Team Valor actually do some planning and consequently end up getting six clues solved to Elite’s five.

The tasks turn out to involve :

  • Identifying Insurance City’s famous-est bell (the Looting Bell at Lloyds Bank, as everyone knows – everyone, that is, except this clueless bunch who need some prompting from a passing hipster)
  • Finding the spot where Thomas Finer’s excessively hot buns sparked the Great Fire of London in 666 AD
  • Finding the offices of “CII The Chartered Insurance Institute” – a phrase the voiceover repeats in full at least three times (suggesting that CII The Chartered Insurance Institute might be trying to muscle in on Elvy Broker’s sponsorship role), finding out who was president in 1981 (Ronald Reagan, surely?), and getting a quick lecture on what CII The Chartered Insurance Institute does from someone who looks like Robert Downey Junior in an Elvis Costello bio-pic and claims not altogether convincingly that “I work here”
  • Finding the flagship City outlet of fashion house BIBA and being photographed holding a precious copy of the famous “Beaver Manifesto” signed by stand-up comedian Steve Wipe
  • Finding the offices of the Association of Brutish Insurers ABI and counting the tyre marks
  • Spotting Big Bird looming over London  – the correct answer to which, perplexingly, seems to be “herring towel” (talk about riddles within riddles!)
  • Finding Samuel L Jackson’s City home

Anyway… team Elite very sensibly decide enough’s enough after five and head back for a well deserved cup of tea. Team Valor correctly identify that they’re never going to make it to Sam Jackson’s and back inside the alotted 2.5 hrs and, with six clues answered, they too head back to base. But, in a scene directly pilfered from the climax of one of those tedious old Top Gear ‘races’ between Clarkson, Ham and Mayo, we see them arriving in a glass-sided lift, only to discover, to general dismay, that Elite have pipped them to the post.

Five times five, plus ten is 35. Six times five, just thirty. The early bathers scoop the spoils and first blood goes to Team Elite.

Bankstone News can hardly wait for Episode 3 of the series they’re already calling BAP 16.

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