Listening for the sound of five times nothing

February 27, 2017

It’s easily done, but Bankstone News is a bit confused by recent announcements concerning proposed increases to the small clams limit for personally injured clams.

First it seemed the limit would be going up to £5,000 across the board, which is simple enough even for Bankstone News to understand.

But now, in announcing a bumper package of fun packed legislation rejoicing under the title of the Prisons and Courts Bill 2016-17, the MoJ appears to be saying that the limit is going up to £5k for whiplash claims – but only up to £2k for other kinds of PI claims.

Hold on a second though, we thought. Isn’t whiplash an entirely fictitious thing? A thing, in other words, that doesn’t actually exist. How can you increase the small clams limit for something with no verifiable tenure in the realm of the real?

Perhaps, then, it is a real thing after all. In which case, it’s a real thing with which lawyers won’t be having much to do in the traditional way, and this could have some alarming implications for even decent ordinary motorists.

If it’s a real thing, it could happen to you, not just to evil sponging layabouts hellbent on putting up your insurance premium. And if it did happen to you, the implications would be roughly as follows (assuming Bankstone News has – and we recognise this is a pretty bold assumption – got hold of roughly the right end of the stick – or at least, let’s say, somewhere in the middle of the stick, closer to the right end than the wrong end, maybe):

  • You can’t afford a lawyer (unless you’re so stupidly rich you probably wouldn’t bother claiming anyway) (have you seen the tariff – it’s hardly worth it, honestly)
  • You could choose to clog up the courts (and learn a whole new language) by representing yourself in court
  • You could ask your Uncle MacKenzie or one of his ‘friends’ to offer a few helpful pointers and maybe come along to court with you (small charge may apply)
  • You could give up and go away (officially recommended option)
  • You could take out some kind of insurance policy now that will fund a proper lawyer (www.properlawyersRus.co.uk) if and when you decide you may have have been affected by New Real Whiplash

But how would you find out about new WhipBTE insurance? Don’t worry, you’ll soon be bombarded by calls about this and all manner of fancy new responses to the government’s brave attempts to help insurers soften the blow of Ogden, rising repair costs etc. by cutting a guaranteed £40 (ono) off your massively increased annual insurance policy.

As Rugby Onion Footballing so eloquently attests, it’s amazing the fun you can have just by changing the rules of a game every ten minutes.

Mercifully, the prospect of driverless cars for all (and a potential end to all this tomfoolery) looms not too far off in the future, prompting many to wonder: are we nearly there yet?

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February 27, 2017

There’s been a lot of hot air blown recently around the elitist corridors of so-called media lately about how accusations of mental unwellness should not be idly bandied. That sort of PC World nonsense is all very well for militant vegan yoga virtue-signalists in Islington or wherever, but in the real world, thankfully, real men can still stand proudly tall and call out a spade when they see one.

And that is clearly the spirit in which insurer body the Association of Brush Insurers (ABI) this week branded Government plans to reduce the Ogden Rate (see previous story) from 2.5% to minus 0.75% as crazy! In case that didn’t state insurers’ case sufficiently plainly, an ABI spokesperson clarified its position by accusing Lady Chancellor Lizzy Truss of ‘idiocy’.

Anyone capable of distinguishing between hawks and hacksaws can immediately see that forcing insurers to pay 0.75% more than some ‘life-changing’ accident victim deserves in compensation rather than 2.5% less is going to cost someone a packet.

The idea that grievously injured persons are actually going to lose money on investing their winnings (or paying someone to keep it safe for them until they need it) is plainly bonkers, the ABI maintains. Unless, of course, Liz knows something we don’t about the future performance of the national and global economy.

Consultants PCw have predicted that decent ordinary motor insurance customers are going to have to fork out at least an extra £75 a head for their annual policies to make good insurers’ out-of-pocketness on this one, raising average premiums to around the £1000 mark. Younger drivers might have to pay as much as £1000 extra, pWC suggests: which is like totally retarded.

Being forced to apply a discount rate of 2.5% for several years when this looked distinctly optimistic has long been a source of embarrassment to insurers who had generously conceded that maybe 1.5% or even 1% might be more like it. But minus 0.75%? That just nuts, isn’t it. That’s just encouraging people to sustain life-changing injuries!

Disconcertingly, Liz Truss’ people have tacitly accepted today that she might be an idiot by agreeing to have another look at it. Maybe that minus 0.75% was actually meant to be plus 0.75%. Frankly, there’s a lot on at the moment, what with all this Brexit business and so on, and it’s hard keeping track of little details like that.

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February 27, 2017

Humourless Amercican insurance behemoth TravelersJ has launched a furious assault on tiny UK ‘insurtech start-up’ Brolly for borrowing its umbrella without permission.

Just as Islam forbids all non-divine representation of living creatures, TravelersJ claims an absolute monopoly on the depiction of umbrellas in an insurance branding context.

Regular readers may recall how, a few years back, UK insurance firm LAG (aka Legal & Genial) was forced to pretend that its familiar multicoloured branding device was in fact a beach umbrella or a parasol or something and therefore not in breach of TravelersJ’s umbrella monopoly.

Poor innocent Brolly obviously lacked the sophisticated legal advice that enabled LAG to sidestep the wrath of TravelersJ so cunningly – to the extent that its very name waved a metaphorical red rag in the general direction of the red umbrella corporation’s legal beagles. This clearly derivative logo only made things worse.

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Rather than await the inevitable unleashing of the aforementioned beagles, Brolly has been quick to hoist the white flag of surrender and has turned to its customers (and ‘the public’ to bulk out the numbers a bit) to design it a new logo for free.

If you have any ideas on how to graphically encapsulate the brand identity of a modestly scaled app-based insurance broker, Brolly would love to hear from you – only do bear in mind that it must not in any way resemble a brolly – or indeed a parasol or a house on a stick or anything like that, probably, just to be on the safe side.

How would you go about sharing your creative suggestions with the people at Brolly? Simple: they’re using the hashtag #noumbrellas on twitter, along with people sharing anecdotes about not having any umbrellas.

Several design ideas have already been submitted, including this one from SSP, which appears to have confused brollies with something else ending in ies. Ah well…

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In the meantime, visual references to umbrellas in an insurance context that TravelersJ may or may not wish to crack down on can be readily perused courtesy of the intellectual property lawyer’s best friend Google Images. There are so many of these that one might be forgiven for thinking insurance buyers’ main concern in life is that their house might somehow get wet. If you want to know if you’re in their sights, simply click here.

Alleged evil empire TravelersJ meanwhile have defended their heavy handed downshutting with the following statement, quoted in the press last week: ”We have one of the best and most recognisable brands in the world and take seriously our responsibility to protect its value.”

This contention sounds dubious, if not positively Trumpesque in its vacuously complacent self-congratulation. Are they seriously suggesting that the word Travellers (in italic caps, spelled wrong) with a red umbrella next to it is some masterstroke of brand identity?

What we say here at Bankstone News is probably best left unsaid given the litigious tendencies of certain humourless insurance firms who shall remain nameless.

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This umbrella ain’t big enough for the both of us.

February 24, 2017

Caught like a tiny trembling faun in the remorseless path of a terrifying weather bomb, leading outsourced professional claims handling provider Bankstone was braced for carnage as Storm Doris brought winds of over 25mph to parts of Yorkshire yesterday, blowing leaves hither and thither and forcing a plane landing at Leeds Brad Pitt Airport to wobble about quite a bit, before eventually touching down.

The day had started calmly enough. As dawn broke over Brighouse, Bankstone News caught up with an anxious Deacon Tithebarn, head honcho at Bankstone, as he struggled to affix protective lengths of timber to the front facade of The Bankstone Building. Speaking gingerly around an unruly row of rusty nails clenched firmly between his distinctively muscular tuba player’s lips, a hammer-wielding Tithebarn revealed that “It could get blowy”.

Even as we spoke, wuthering winds whipped seven shades of brownish foam from the roiling surface of the nearby Brighouse Canal ‘Basin’, threatening at one point to lift Tithebarn’s flat cap clean off his head. ‘What?’, Bankstone News asked, straining to interpret Deacon’s dentally deficient diction over the raging breeze. “Ah fed. Akoog et bwowy!” He mumbled emphatically. It was no good: we’d have to ask him later.

At this point Bankstone News took the probably prudent precaution of repairing to the local hostelry recently rebranded as Badgerz (where, in striking contrast to the howling zephyr outside, we anticipated no worse hazard than a nasty draught and some slightly past sell-by pork scratchings), leaving Deacon to the task of prying a few boards loose again, so that he and various members of staff could gain ingress to the building and therein commence their daily toil.

By mid-afternoon the worst of the weather has passed and a handful of brave Bankstonians ventured out to inspect the damage. This consisted mostly of some storm-tossed leaves, paper cups, crisp packets etc that had rendered the car park more than a little untidy, plus a certain amount of superficial damage occasioned by a couple of dozen bits of old plank having been roughly nailed to the building’s exterior.

It had been, they all concluded, a close run thing, but the Bankstone Building had withstood everything Doris had to throw at it. Waxing reflective as the storm subsided, Tithebarn took time out from managing the professional outsourced handling of claims to briefly compose the following commemorative verse marking the day that Doris blew in to make Brighouse one windy city!

The day that Doris came to town, the people were afrighted
They feared that by a loathsome blast Sweet Brighouse would be smited

The day that Doris came to town, conditions were quite blustery
I resolutely braved the storm with stern unruffled mastery

The day that Doris came to town, brought howling and moaning
I told my staff to ‘knock it off, get back to telephoning!’

The day that Doris came to town, it wasn’t very pretty
The wind blew lots of stuff about and make the place look messy

The day that Doris came to town, we never will forget
It’s fair to say, at least, that is: we’ve not forgotten yet.

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One of a number of local residents who took shelter yesterday in Brighouse Cathedral.

 

February 20, 2017

What are you doing on 27 June 2017?

Well, unless you’re some kind of an idiot or in prison or something, you’re gonna wanna be at Insurance Endurance, the UK’s most insurance-related endurance karting event sponsored by Bankstone News (official media partner)!

That’s right: further to the exciting news revealed in last week’s Bankstone News that it’s karting time again, we now have a date.

That date, as we’ve already hinted, is 27 June.  It’s a Tuesday, which, whatever anyone else may have told you, is actually the perfect day of the week on which to hold a motor karting endurothon type event.

So get your diary out, blow away the dust, find a pencil, sharpen it, then immediately discard it when you realise that dates like this are not meant to be written in anything so impermanent as graphite, get a pen, make it a red one, maybe a marker pen or something, although maybe not because it might show through on the other side of the page and you might need to write something else there if this turns out to be an unusually busy year for you, and write in big bold letters: Insurance Endurance, then write (karting thing) next to it, in case you forget what you meant by Insurance Endurance next time you look at your diary. Now put away your diary. That’s the highlight of your summer sorted! Although don’t forget to actually book your place(s) whenever Bankstone News gets round to telling you how to book your place(s).

In the meantime, to sharpen your appetite, here’s a taste of how it might feel to be juddering around the UK’s longest custom kart track in a kart, obviously, and nearly running down some bloke with a trolley while you’re about it.

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February 17, 2017

The colour of your car can say a lot about you! If your car is black people will think you’re really attractive. If it’s yellow you’re probably all bubbly and happy and that. But if you drive a red car, you should maybe think about going to anger management classes.

That’s according to a literally incredible new study carried out by motor vehicle retailer Junction 600. Old Henry Ford must have been onto something, because black really is ‘the new black’! A staggering one in five motorists find people who drive black cars irresistibly sexy. They can’t help it, they just do!

But women over 55, says Junction 600, find black a turn off. It’s a rich deep conservative blue that floats their bonnets. Just a hint for you older gentlemen out there!

But the one thing you really can’t afford to do, if you ever again hope to hook up with someone for friendship and maybe more, is to drive a brown car. Brown cars are Potassium Bromide on four wheels. You might as well roll up riding a smelly old donkey as arrive in something brown. Brown is a perfectly acceptable colour for things like tree trunks, excrement and chocolate cake – but never for a car.

“Drivers of red, yellow and pink cars consider themselves happiest,” Junction 600 reveals (although they might just be in denial and outwardly overcompensating for morbidly implacable feelings of bitterness, disappointment and despair), whereas drivers of beige, grey and (obviously) brown cars are just plain sad and have basically embraced it.

One surprise from the Junction 600 survey was that drivers of pink cars get proportionately more speeding tickets than drivers of any other coloured cars, closely followed by green car drivers. The surprise, clearly, is that there are enough people driving pink cars to generate statistically meaningful data. Bankstone News thought it was just those seat-belt-spurning glamour birds in the Steeler’s Wheel ads.

Of course it’s mostly women that are bothered about what colour their car is, with 52% of females telling Junction 600 that not just size and shape but “colour mattered” when purchasing a car. Most men are far too sensible to worry about a little thing like colour. They’re perfectly happy driving around in a beige, tan, or flat-out brown car, provided the fuel economy figures are impressive. In terms of attractiveness, after all, let’s be honest, the colour of a man’s car is often the least of his problems.

Pathetic really.

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February 16, 2017

Is there literally no end to the greed of so-called lawyers! In an article in a publication with the exotic title Litigation Fuchsias, Deb Evans, CEO of the Association of Personal Injustice Liars (APIL) likens leeches on the public purse to “unfortunate victims of accidents” and claims that “taking money off injured people” will not reduce motor insurance premiums.

Regular readers of Bankstone News will be well aware of the brave campaign UK insurers have been waging to deliver huge reductions in motor insurance premiums to decent hard-working injury-free motorists (see previous story £50 Off Your Motor Cover). All insurers ask in return is that HMG bans supposedly injured people from colluding with lawyers to claim money ‘off’ insurance companies.

But now Evans and her kind are falsely claiming that insurers are rolling in money already and don’t need to ban personal injury claims in order to charge less for motor insurance. For every valid reason insurers put forward for putting up premiums all the time, Evans has some pathetic excuse for a counter argument.

And yet she has the nerve to brand insurers’ arguments “excuses”! Her piece in Legal Fuchsias claims that the Association of Brush Insurers (ABI) supplies its members with “a list of excuses akin to ‘the dog ate my homework’ to pass the buck for rising insurance premiums to everybody but insurers.”

Come off it, So-Called Debby, we say here at Bankstone News! Rising repair costs is not an excuse! It’s a real thing, because repairing things is getting more expensive and so on, and all Ms Evans can say to counter this indisputable fact is that the real scandal is “repair costs being over-inflated between insurers”. Bankstone News has one word for nonsensical claims like that: Fake News!

What about whiplash? Does that sound like an “excuse”. When the ABI’s own figures clearly show that the cost of claims has gone up by 2.3% year on year, Ms Evans calls this number (predictably) “overinflated” and tries to make out that whiplash claims costs are being overinflated because it suits the ABI’s “agenda”. Pah! The only ones with an agenda here are APIL!

Turning to the forthcoming adjustment to the discount rate, which she describes (inevitably) as overinflated, So-called Ms Evans claims that “For years insurers have benefited from money that rightly belongs to the most seriously injured”. Sensationalist nonsense! If long-term injured people find themselves short of a couple of quid, it will only because they haven’t invested their insurance windfalls wisely in a balanced portfolio of secure high-yield financial products.

But Ms Evans saves her worst slur for last, coming out with the sickening claim that banning personal injury claims won’t even result in lower premiums. “Far-reaching reforms implemented in 2013 through LASPO, wiped millions off the cost of claims,” she says, “but have had no long-term impact on the cost of premiums.” The key word here is long-term. Because, guess what, so-called Debs, nothing lasts for ever – that’s just the way it is, like it or lump it, suck it up etc.

Closing with a chilling vow “to make injured people as powerful as the insurers they are up against when pursuing a claim”, Evans says that insurers should abandon what she describes as a “vitriolic attitude” towards injured persons and should somehow save money by being more efficient or something! Get real, Lady, we say here at Bankstone News. You’re just saying that because you want injured people to carry on bothering insurance firms for compensation.

Terrible. Just terrible.

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February 15, 2017

When General Mike Flynn lied to Mike Pence, the FBI, and anyone else who asked about the little chats he’d been having with the Russians, it really wasn’t a problem.

But when the lying FAKE NEWS mainstream media fakely revealed that Flynn had lied, that was terrible.

FAKE NEWS mainstream media treated Mile Flynn very badly, Folks, by forcing Donald Trump to fire him.

Which just goes to show how true it is that the Eleventh Commandment trumps all the others. How Trump must long for the days when nobody questioned his orders.

What’s that got to do with motor insurance and claims and all the usual stuff about which Bankstone News rants and raves each week? Barely anything really, but it does go to show that it’s not so much the things you do as the things you’re seen to do that really cause problems in this life.

Right now, for example, motor insurers are in a bit of a panic at the prospect of customers receiving a reminder of what they paid last time each time they’re deciding whether to renew or not.

It’s all the fault of the meddling FCA, you see, you’ve arbitrarily decided that it might be nice for customers to go into renewals on a fully informed basis.

It is, to say the least, a little inconvenient that, at precisely the time when motor insurers need to ‘rebuild trust’ with their customers, along comes an intrusive regulator insisting that from 1 April this year insurers’ renewal documents must include:

· A reminder of what they paid last year
· Some words encouraging them to check their cover and ‘shop around’
· For loyal customers (4 years and over), some words saying something like: ‘No, really, you should see if you can get a better deal with one of our competitors.’

Making an imaginative leap into the footwear of a key target market, Ian Huge of research firm Consuming Intelligence reckons this sinister new requirement could ‘shatter customer trust’ in motor insurance firms, making it way too easy for customers to decide they don’t want to pay more every year and conclude they should leave in search of loss leading quotes from other providers.

This isn’t a great time to be undermining trust in motor insurance firms, Huge contends, because – for all manner of reasons entirely beyond their control – said motor insurance firms are going to have to whack up their prices quite a bit over the next year or two (notwithstanding any windfalls from the abolition of PI claims).

Not only are motor insurance premiums at their highest levels ever, having risen by five times the rate of inflation during 2016, but stuff like IPT hikes, rising repair costs, and increasingly impatient shareholders have severely limited the scope for keeping premiums down. Then there’s other stuff like the MoJ cutting the rate at which insurance payouts are adjusted to allow for future investment returns (remember them?)

So, quite frankly, the last thing insurers need is your customers having last year’s premium shoved ‘in their face’ just when you’re trying to squeeze some more money out of them. Before the FCA stuck it’s meddling nose in, most people have generally had little or no idea what they pay for motor insurance. Now they’re going to be on the phone whining on about ‘why is my premium going up’ etc. etc. It’s all very unfair, and the insurance industry is going have a job on, Huge reckons, trying to get its message over so it is not painted as the villain.”

Whatever happened to customer loyalty, Bankstone News would like to know.

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February 13, 2017

A lot of people have been asking Bankstone News lately ‘What about some more karting – we really like karting and we were wondering when there might be some more of it.’

Well, the good news is that there will indeed be more karting. The even better than that news is that karting fans won’t have to wait long before they can have their fill of karting – and more!

That’s right, Insurance Endurance is back! The UK’s most popular insurance-only endurance karting event returns by poplar demand this summer – but this time with a twist!

The twist is… (you’re going to like this)… it won’t be in Milton Keynes! Anyone who has an acute phobia of new towns built on grids like Lego City (and, let’s face it, who doesn’t) is sure to thrill to the news that Insurance Endurance (official media sponsor Bankstone News) this year moves to PFI Karting, the UK’s longest karting track, conveniently located in deepest darkest Lincolnhamptonshire.

We’re not entirely sure what PFI stands for, but we think it might be Pretty [rude word] Intense. And that’s exactly what this year’s IE will be: a gruelling marathon of zooming round a wiggly track (with a bridge and everything!) in supercharged low-slung sit-on-mower type thingys, interspersed, hopefully, with flurries of F1 tyre changing – the one aspect of the competition in which Team Bankstone (who typically weigh in at well in excess of the one-tonne total of which this year’s French Six Nations pack so vainly brag) have any realistic chance of podiuming.

When exactly will it be? Probably June-ish, but we’ll be able to tell you more once we’ve worked out which major insurance industry/sporting events we can schedule it against.

The competition will be open to teams of eight drivers or fewer. The more drivers you have, the less enduring you’ll have to do, obviously. There’ll be opportunities for sponsorship, bacon butts and beverages, and a charity fundraising aspect to the proceedings.

Stay tuned to Bankstone News for further information as soon as we have it!

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February 13, 2017

Bankstone News is a big fan of laws. When it comes to making sure things get done right (or that they don’t get done wrong), you just can’t beat a law.

Such is our fondness for laws, in fact, that you’ll often catch Bankstone News poring avidly over the latest editions of dusty old law periodicals such as Legal Highs, The Law Man, Creative Legislator or whatever.

Thus it was that we recently came upon a fascinating report in something called Legal Gazebo about how a bunch of uppity MPs have dared to impugn the good faith of the people’s brave insurers.

Now, as you’ll probably have gathered by now, if there’s one thing Bankstone News likes even better than it likes laws, then that thing is almost certainly insurance. So you can imagine how confused and upset we felt when the article in question appeared to suggest that insurers are what the great orange ape across the sea would call ‘bad dudes’.

Legal Gazebo reports that, on the 7th day of the current month, the House of Commoners Juice Committee had what’s know as a session. Apparently various insurance types had been invited along to have a bit of chat about personal injury claims and proposed reforms thereunto.

The first bad sign was that only four of the eleven juice committee members bothered to turn up for the beginning of the session. Then some loudmouthed MP type called Bobbin Eel started on at the ABI’s Jimmy ‘Duellin’ Dalton. He said that calls for PI reform were based on ‘no hard evidence”. Are you seriously suggesting, Eel demanded rudely, that ‘we should be changing the law on the basis of suspicions?’

Worse yet, he had the nerve to question whether ‘this is going to feed through into lower car insurance premiums.’ Which seems a bit ridiculous, when that £50 a year off (see previous editions of Bankstone News) is a boner fido banker – so much so the ABI might as well have carved it on a giant tombstone like that Ed Millipede did.

Then some foreign sounding MP called Alberto Costa got in on the act, banging on to Jimmy D about whether or not he believed ‘in the duty of care that is owed in a society between one citizen and another?’ Poor old Jim probably hadn’t the faintest idea what he was talking about, but obviously felt it would be rude to say no, so he kind of nodded a bit.

Not content with that sneaky little ambush, Costa then accused Dalton and his ABI mates of calling whiplash claims an ‘epidemic’. Then without even giving JD a proper chance to justify this classification, Costa asked him whether it was or was not the case that whiplash claims have actually come down quite a bit lately.

Maybe they had, Jimbo was forced to concede. Before undertaking to check the numbers later and get back to Mr Costa. Why do we have to make new laws, lazy Costa wanted to know. Why don’t we just enforce the ones we have? Yeah, said some other MP called David Handsome, and how many ABI members have actually committed themselves to reducing premiums?

Apparently Jim had nothing to say about that. But why should he, when insurers have already made it abundantly clear that the whole point of changing the law on PI is so that decent ornery motorists can have £50 a year off their motor insurance!

Then, to cap it all, some bloke called Alex Chalk wandered in and asked completely at random ‘how exactly a worker on minimum wage might fight a £4,000 claim against his employer.’ Quite rightly, Jim refused to be drawn into fruitless and irrelevant speculation such as this. Clearly that’s a matter for minimum wage workers to address as they see fit.

What an unpleasant and mean spirited bunch these MPs are!

And what an unpleasant and mean spirited publication Legal Gazebo is to take such delight in the discomfiture of a decent, hard working true friend to everyday motorists everywhere as ABI Jimmy Dalton.

Not fair!

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