Admiral has a moment

April 28, 2017

When was the last time you had a seminal moment? Don’t worry if you can’t remember, it’s really not important, and we’re only really asking to be polite – and because it helps to get readers’ attention if we begin these stories with a question.

Nautically inclined South Wales motor insurer Admiral had one just the other day. A seminal moment, that is, in case you’d forgotten that as well. Do please pay attention.

Admiral’s seminal moment came when Judge Humbert Balding dismissed a claim brought by so-called ambulance driver Chantelle Bollard who was attempting to make out that she’d sustained incapacitating peri-spinal muscular harm as a consequence of a routine rear-end shunt from an Admiral policyholder.

What unscrupulous grasping something-for-nothing Chantelle didn’t reckon on is that the Admiral customer in question was fitted with a so-called black box which revealed that they were travelling at a mere 1.25mph when they just nudged the rear end of her ambulance.

Upon being presented with this damning telematics evidence, Judge Balding knew better than to take the word of a human over that of a machine, and summarily threw out the scheming female’s trumped up claim.

“We are delighted with the outcome of this case,” said Admiral Clams Head Lorna Colonelelly. “The presence of telematics data and the court’s acceptance of such data proves to be a seminal moment for Admiral in being able to add a greater weight and verve to our defence of innocent policyholders.”

Weight and verve, Boys, weight and verve.

Old Lorna may just have hit on the insurance industry’s very own ‘Strong and stable’.

April 28, 2017

The last thing Bankstone News would want is for you to spend your days and nights worrying that, right now, at this very minute, even as you worry, some b*stard is busy nicking stuff out of your car.

But, car leashing company UK Carline warned this week, that’s probably exactly what’s happening.

It’s all because alarming new statistics suggest that anything you leave in your car (while you’re not in it yourself) can and probably will get stolen.

There were no fewer than 831,000 incidents of vehicle-related crime reported in the UK last year, according to the above named vehicle leaking company. Which is a lot.

So you should be worried. Very worried indeed, in fact. But, as Bankstone News’ Guest Guru of the week Alan Watts once wisely said: none of us can count on a happy future. Bad stuff will inevitably happen.

So it’s no good walking round in a fantasy world where no-one is ever going to half inch all your gear out of your car.

We should all be vigilant, UK Caroline insist, ‘extra vigilant’ in fact. And of course that might help. But, then, who really has time to sit up all night watching their car, just in case some villain decides to go after the stuff they’ve left in it.

The best strategy if you don’t want stuff taken from your car is not to leave anything in it. Especially, don’t leave the kind of things most coveted by car contents thieves (CCTs). According to OK Caroline these include car radios (31% theft popularity score), and Sat Navs (13%). Weirdly, shopping bags are also highly coveted (17% TPS), perhaps because most shops now charge 10p for them.

Ultimately, however, even if you take everything out of your car (including fiddly things like the stereo and speakers and stuff), it won’t necessarily stop you being targeted by CCTs.

OK Carpline note that 26% of motorists believe their stuff will be safe if its not on display. CCTs know this, so they’ll smash in your windows just to see what you’ve got in the glove box.

But, as Guest Guru Alan argues in The Wisdom of Insecurity, maybe we should all forget about the worrying and the vigilance and all that nonsense, because “if we cannot live happily now without an assurance of future happiness, we are certainly not adapted to living in a finite world where, despite the best laid plans, bad things happen, we suffer and death comes at the end.”

So, obviously, don’t leave your knock-off D&G sunnies on dash-top display (someone might think they’re real), don’t leave (for example) your prized collection of vintage gentlemen’s magazines on the passenger seat in a bright yellow Selfridges bag, etc etc.

But when it comes down to the end of the day, life’s too short to spend your whole time worrying about those pesky CCTs.


April 28, 2017

As keen followers of all forms of transport involving two or more wheels – and as sometime riders of bicycles ourselves – everyone in the Bankstone News office is fairly brimming over with excitement this week at the prospect of the Le Tour de Yorkshire getting underway this weekend (today even).

In honour of the occasion your correspondent has been sporting a snug-fitting yellow lycra jersey all week. And very splendid we look in it too. Though sterner critics of matters sartorial might, by this stage in the week, consider the effect slightly compromised by the plentiful accretions of coffee, beer, ketchup etc that have built up where our ample middle portion protrudes to receive spillages, greasy crumbs and the like.

Minor blemishes notwithstanding, our sporty new look has certainly been drawing admiring glances this week, and we’ll definitely be sticking it over the weekend. But, to be perfectly honest, it’ll probably have to go in the wash sometime around monday evening – especially if we end up having the bath we’ve been promising ourselves – and our colleagues – for some time now.

Which brings us up nicely against the main theme of this article. Here goes. Speaking of new looks… however comely one may already be, all of us could do with having our look updated or ‘freshened up’ a tad from time to time.

And that’s why you’ll soon be seeing a new look for Bankstone News.

Don’t be alarmed, though, you’ll still be getting the same hard hitting news reporting and insight-packed analysis you’ve come to expect from Bankstone News – just in a slightly tarted up new format.

So there’s something for you to look forward to.


April 27, 2017

Creative money-making initiatives within the motor insurance-repair-hire-legal complex are a bit like pus in a bag.

If you squeeze the bag in one place, it will all rush up the other end. Or ends. Depending on whether you’re squeezing at one of the lateral extremities or somewhere in the middle.

The point at which the greatest pressure is currently being applied is the point marked, somewhat inexactly, whiplash.

Egged on by an insurance lobby eagerly fantasising at the prospect of a world without personal injury claims, in which cut-throat competition with all comers would no longer look like wilfully self-inflicted injury, HMG had, until just recently, been applying a considerable amount of pressure around this particular area of our metaphorical pus bag.

So much so, that, according to new data from the Ministry of Juice, whiplash claims have fallen by 7.6% in the year-to-date.

Inevitably, however, unprecedented levels of pus pressure are now being reported in other regions of the bag.

Law firm D&C Beach Craft this week, for instance, reported that the number of credit hire claims including a disputed claim relating to vehicle damage and diminution of value has increased by almost 18% over the past 12 months, with the average cost of claims increasing by almost £1,000.

Where previously insurers were mostly just disputing the credit hire element of claims, the law firm reports, “we are also seeing other heads of losses disputed,” speculating not altogehter fancifully that “this could be because claims firms are trying to get claims to a higher value – especially for a credit hire claim that is near to £10,000 – as claims firms try and [sic] add other associated losses to try and [sic] get it into the fast-track.”

Which just goes to show, really, doesn’t it!

April 21, 2017

As subtly hinted in last week’s Bankstone News, there’s a hot new website in town and its name is Insurance Endurance.

Click here quite literally now to find out all about the UK’s biggest and best insurance-themed motorsports event of all time to date.

With numbers strictly limited, it’s never too early to book your team places for what promises to be a truly awesome day’s karting.

If you think you’ve seen anything like this before, think again! This is the big one, the daddy, the giant, enormous, genuinely quite huge thing of amateur motor sportage.

Whereas previous Insurance Endurances have contended themselves with beetling forlornly round a fairly standard circuit, this one involves a state of the art 1382m track and equally state of the art karts!!!

The six-hour endurance race will see teams of up to eight drivers tearing round the UK’s longest cart track at speeds of anything up to 60mph in Sodi GT5 karts with 390cc engines – that’s more than your bike, probably, and nearly as much as your car, almost.

You literally have to be there – so book today to avoid disappointment.

You can do so by clicking here. Registering a team costs just £1250 (that’s one – two – five – oh, or zero, if you prefer) and entitles you to enter a team of between 4 and 8 drivers – as well as hire of a kart (luckily) and all equipment (suits, helmets etc) and even breakfast, lunch and ad hoc drinks and snacks.

If you don’t want to enter a team but just like hanging around near hardcore karters with a common enthusiasm for things like insurance, bacon butties and burning rubber, you can purchase a non-driving all-you-can-eat race day ticket for just £50.

Either way, attendance is obligatory. Check out the site (it’s finished now and everything). Book now. See you there!


April 21, 2017

As committed as Bankstone News is to casting off from mainland Europe on whatever thrilling piratical adventures lie ahead abroad HMS Brexit, we were – along, no doubt, with every other decent honest motorist up and down the land – utterly sickened and dismayed to learn this week of one distinctly unwelcome side effect.

That £40 you’d mentally put aside for a few-expenses-spared family outing to your local Harvester. The one the government promised we’d be getting off our annual motor insurance premiums. Remember that? Well, don’t bother racking your brains too strenuously if you don’t. Because we won’t be getting it after all. Not any time soon, at least.

Why?, you demand to know in an alarmingly up-swooping high-pitched tone curiously reminiscent of that deployed by Jeremy Corbyn yesterday when demanding rhetorically to know why, if he were a tax evading, yacht owning, sleazy, multinational cartel of system-rigging supervillains, he’d be terrified at the prospect of an Old Labour victory in the forthcoming general election.

Because, we reply in a tone so emphatically neutral that there’s literally nothing to be said about it, HMG has decided that getting the Prisons, Courts and Whiplash Bill through parliament in the very limited pre-election time now available is one almost impossible task it can do without, especially with all its best almost-impossible-task people likely to be tied up with Brexit for some time to come.

Responding to a question in the House of Commoners yesterday, a government spokesperson confirmed somewhat technically that “bills that were introduced to this house quite late in the current parliamentary session and which received carry-over motions so that they could be debated in what would have been the third session of the current parliament will fall, including the Prisons and Courts Bill.”

So there it is. All our treasured dreams of claiming a whopping £40 off our annual motor insurance premium go up in smoke, simply because the government can’t be bothered to rush through the raising of the small claims limit to £5,000.00 and thereby end the sea of troubles that is whiplash (and all other lowish value PI claims). Shame! Shame on you, HMG.

Hopefully, once voters have come together to make Theresa May bigger, stronger, more powerful than her traitorous unpatriotic democracy-defying enemies could ever have imagined, the Prisco Bill will be reborn and decent honest claims-free motorists can finally reap the massive savings we’ve been promised.

Some pessimists, however, are even suggesting the Bill may be left to languish where it lies, on the basis that its whiplash-taming aspects are so riddled with flaws and fraught with the potential for unintended consequences that HMG would rather forget all about it.

Let’s just hope they’re wrong – or we may never see that longed for forty quid.

April 21, 2017

If you were going to pose as an insurance broker, how would you go about it?

Would you, perhaps, emphasise the ‘people business’ aspect of the role by standing smiling, in a smart but not too swanky suit, with your hand extended in a friendly but professional greeting?

Maybe you would pose behind a busy but tidy desk poring diligently over the small print of competitive insurer quotes for your (quite possibly imaginary) client’s business from (quite possibly imaginary) insurers?

Or would you perhaps, like the sadly missed Andrew Paddick of yore, strut up and down a stage waving a baton, clad perhaps a tad ill-fittingly in a military costume intended to suggest inspiring Spartan wartime leader Monty Montgommery of Alamut?

If you really are in actual fact a broker, it’s entirely up to you how you choose to pose as one (although on balance we’d advise against option three – perhaps you could alternate one and two). But if you’re not in fact a broker, then posing as one could land you in a heap of trouble.

That’s what happened to curiously named Bradford resident Antique Khan (and yes we are sure about that name, for once), 36, who’s just been sentenced at the Old Bailey to pay back £235,000 (or face two years in the slammer) after he was found to be selling fraudulent insurance policies to over 50 local motorists.

Unless they were paying £5k a pop, Antique must, presumably, have conned quite a few more than 50 would-be policyholders (or ghost policyholders as they are technically known in case such as this).

Ironically, they could have saved themselves the pain of high-cost uninsurance by delving a little more deeply into past track record of their friendly local “broker” (who previously served a year in gaol, after he was slapped with a similar sentence for a distinctly similar offence by the exact same court).

On the basis that Mr Khan has probably splurged that £235,000 already on fast living, loose cars and luxury women, he’ll probably be going with the gaol-time option again on this occasion.

But if you’re a Bradford local (Big shoutz to all the Brad Pack Massive!) and you see Old Antique back on the street in a year or two’s time, striking those brokerly poses – do everyone a favour – tell him to give it rest!

April 20, 2017

By the time you read this, the Conservative party may have rushed out the manifesto it’s been secretly preparing for the past month and therein revealed that it does indeed, after all, have a fully developed, stress-tested and troubleshot plan for Brexit.

Be that as it may, one thing the current administration never quite got round to having was a fully developed, stress tested and troubleshot plan for discouraging frivolous personal injury claims from so-called whiplash victims and the like.

Perhaps that’s why they’ve now kicked the whole business into les herbes longues (see separate story). One of the many things wrong with the Prisons, Courts and Soft Tissues Bill, as was pointed out earlier this week, is that it wasn’t especially fair to cyclists.

Specifically, the new legislation would effectively have ensured that only the very wealthiest of cyclists would have had the kind of budget that would allow them the luxury of pursuing personal injury claims for physical damage wrought upon their persons by other road users.

Being firmly on the side of all things motorised (and especially those with wheels), Bankstone News is not normally inclined to spare too many thoughts for ‘pushbikers’ (except perhaps, out of patriotism, when they’re pedalling up hill and down dale around God’s own count(r)y Yorkshiremanshire).

But today we’re making an exception. Today we’re saying: spare a thought for injured cyclists whose injuries aren’t quite worth £5k in human bodywork repair costs, but might still be giving them a bit of jip.

And it’s not just us that think those battered bicyclists could use a break. A bunch of high-profile names have joined British Cycling in making a submission to the Select Committee’s inquiry, arguing that the proposed changes are a bit on the punitive side for unmotorised road users.

Among them are Bonnets Insurance, Carole Gnash, Felchers Solicitors, Monster Law Solicitors, NewLav Solicitors, Roadpiece, Slather and Gordon Solicitors and, for some reason, The British Horse Society.

Not that any of this matters now, what with the whole mess being very much on the plaque de cuisson arrière, but we’d written this story already when news of the Bill’s derailment broke, and we’re b*ggered if we’re going to write a replacement now.

Let’s just hope HMG remembers to think bike next time they’re plotting to abolish PI claims.

April 13, 2017

Excitement continues to mount around the much anticipated Insurance Endurance 2017 event coming up in just a few months’ time.

Hot off the electronic inter-press is a brand new website exclusively dedicated to the event, portions of which (presumably to add a touch of class) appeared at the time of going to press to have been composed in Latin.

Click on the link above for your chance to witness the unique and rarely glimpsed spectacle of an insurance-themed motorsports website in the very process of creation.

By doing so you will learn, for example that the event takes place on Tuesday 27 June at the Private Finance Initiative racetrack in the scenic heart of Linkenshire U.K. and that teams of up to eight drivers will be competing in a six-hour endurance bout of driving round and round a twisty-turny track with a real bridge and stuff.

Not only that – but there will be some radical innovations this year, about which we think you are going to be really rather excited. For example: the inclusion of professionally filming of all teams competing, with drones and everything, and a Formula One simulator!

With major sponsors including Ignite Insurance Systems and NCI Insurance already on board  (and still space for your name here), this year’s event looks set to partake of a suspicious whiff of professional excellenceness.

Essentially, you will need to be there or pass the remainder of your sorry squandered existence bitterly regretting that you weren’t.

April 13, 2017

Friday has been cancelled. That was the shocking news that greeted Bankstone News staff as they reported to their newsdesks bright and early this meteorologically unremarkable April lunchtime.

Apparently it’s something to do with an ancient pagan fertility festival involving rabbits, buns and chocolate eggs. But basically – in case you haven’t already heard – this week quite literally has no Friday in it – or at least not the kind of Friday where you have to turn up at work.

Which sounds fine in theory (we’ll be free, for example, with a unaccustomedly clear conscience, to spend the entire day down the Badgers, or reclining in recuperative recumbency upon the scruffy sward of Dilmans Piece), but it also means we have but a few short hours in which to get an issue of Bankstone News done, dusted, and posted somewhere electronically.

Quite, you’re probably thinking, so why don’t you stop baffling on about nothing in particular and get on with this first story! Alright, then. We will.

Without wishing to spoil your extended weekend, Bankstone News feels itself bound to exclusively reveal that car insurance (a commodity already viewed as an unaffordable luxury by many more cost-conscious Brits) is about to get a whole lot costlier.

Steve Feltcher, data head at leading insurance comparison thing, reckons average motor premiums could break through the magic £1,000 barrier by sometime next year. What, why, how?, you are probably stammering at this point. Well, it seems that’s just the kind of thing that’s apt to happen as “the industry adapts to additional pressures, such as the drastic Ogden rate cut and the hike in IPT to 12% from June this year.”

If you doubt such a thing could come to pass, then contemplate this. The widely respected Confused Towels What’s On index, freshly unveiled to an expectant world, suggests, with some authority, that ‘UK motorists paid an average of £781 for comprehensive motor cover in the first quarter of 2017 – £110 more than the £671 they paid in the same quarter of 2016’ (assuming, that is, presumably, that they bought or renewed an annual policy during Q1 2017).

All of which underlines the urgent need to HMG to get on with banning whiplash and other PI claims, establish an Ogden rate that’s comfortably in the (positive) double digit zone, abolish IPT and provide some tangible incentives for organisations willing to offer motor insurance to hard pressed UK citizens on a competitively commercial basis.

In the meantime, if you don’t relish the prospect of shelling out more for your motor insurance, you could always try moving to Scotland (apologies, obviously, if you already have) (or if you’ve been there all along) (or whatever). The Confused Towels Index also shows that average premiums dropped by nearly 9% in Galashiels, if you fancy setting up home in sunny Selkirkshire.

The air quality’s splendid up there, there’s extensive forestry provision and plenty to see and do (including the internationally renowned Torwoodlee Broch Festival of the Naked Human Form). Plus: you could spend your weekends reaving.

Just a suggestion.

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