AA man decries dash cam degeneracy

May 31, 2017

Alcoholics Anonymous life president and chairperson in chief King Edmund of St Albans has spoken out about the unspeakably vile phenomenon of so-called dash cam voyeurism.

Except he hasn’t really. At least not in terms sufficiently blunt for Bankstone News to have the faintest idea what he’s going on about. Perhaps it’s because he’s simply too decent and scrupulous to spell it out, or because he worries there might be women, children or members of the clergy listening.

Hinting obscurely at acts of ‘voyeurism’ (technically, pervy looking), King Edmund resolutely declined – across a variety of news organs this week – to delineate with any clarity precisely what foulness might be involved in what he euphemistically refers to as ‘vehicular voyeurism’.

Despite being more than willing to accept that dash cams might have innocent, decent, even salutary applications in this modern day and age, King Edmund expressed concern about ‘a degree of voyeurism from some individuals.’

Whilst denying that he thinks dash cams and so-called ‘helmet’ cams should be banned (although, clearly, banning things is often a good idea), King Ed said he’s concerned that a small number of people are deliberately setting out to capture ‘clips’ with them.

Rather than calling at once for an outright and immediate ban on dash cams, King Edmund has suggested that we might perhaps do well to look at some other countries where they are not so spinelessly permissive and maybe do things just a little differently.

Look at Belgium, for example, (not in a pervy way, obviously). In Belgium you have to get written consent from anyone who features in dash cam footage that you share online (even if they’re fully clothed).

It’s the same in Portugal, only warmer. While in Italy you can film all you like, but ‘number plates must be blurred’, an effect you can sometimes achieve by driving extremely fast and/or (responsibly) drinking vast amounts of grappa after a hearty cinghiale, chianti and truffle snack pot.

In Luxembourg, they don’t fuss around. Dash cams are flat-out banned in Luxland. Drive around with one of those babies fitted there, and you could end up in Schrassig, where, Bankstone News has it on good authority, they’ll throw away the key if you so much as look at your gaoler funny.

In Germany and Austria, you can use a dash cam (but not – a surprisingly easy mistake to make – a dachshund) if you absolutely insist, but be ready to be frowned upon, since, as King Ed notes, their use is “highly discouraged” in the EU’s Teutonic Zone.

So maybe we should just ban them. Othersie, before we know it, we could end up in a situation where, King Edmund darkly alludes, ‘people exploit the benefits of dash cameras for their own purposes. If you like the voyeurism aspect.’

Without understanding exactly what ‘the voyeurism aspect’ entails, Bankstone News cannot definitively say whether we like it or not. But we’re pretty sure a man like King Edmund wouldn’t be taking such public (if perhaps a trifle ambiguous) exception if there weren’t something quite significantly distasteful and disreputable about it.

So, tentatively for now, we’re going to say we don’t like it and that it should be banned at once.

May 30, 2017

Speaking of banning things, as Bankstone News has been quite a lot this week, a good thing to ban might be motor scooters or mopeds as they are sometimes known these days, we understand, (because they used to have both motors and pedals, even though they mostly don’t now).

Or maybe they could still be allowed in remote picturesque villages and such like, where jolly district nurses can ride around on them. But in places like London, Birmingham and Manchester they should definitely be banned.

Hopefully that will happen soon. But until it does, for goodness sake don’t go out and buy one (especially if you live in London), because you’ll only have it robbed within a day or two of purchase.

More than 1,500 bikes are being nicked each month in London and put to use in the commission of a staggering 2,500 thefts (4,000 crimes) each month in the capital.

Met detectives reckon an estimated 500 little tow rags (aka toe rags) are buzzing around town on mopeds carrying out as many as 50,000 crimes a year.

Conveying the advantages of speed, surprise and rapid escape, mopeds are a god send to vicious petty criminals who help themselves to poorly secured bikes drive them off to do a few crimes then trash them on the nearest wasteland area.

Among the motorcycle facilitated criminal acts reported in recent months are motor-mugging, assault with a fire extinguisher, shop window smash and grab, supermarket sweep, going equipped with a hammer, and mounting the kerb with intent to drive along the pavement at high speed.

Being basically a pro-bike sort of publication, of course, Bankstone News would never seriously advocate a bike ban. But if bike owners could maybe just secure their steeds of steel with something more substantial than a steering lock, we could stop the moped maniacs running amock and force them back to preying on their own local communities as nature intended.

So if you live in London, get yourself a 12-foot, 50kg, 25mm steel chain and bloomin’ well use it, You Muppet!

May 26, 2017

Insurance firms to compete on UK’s longest outdoor kart circuit

Tuesday 27 June sees the return of popular insurance industry motor sports event Insurance Endurance. This year, for the first time, the six-hour endurance kart race takes place at the PFI Racetrack in Grantham, the UK’s largest outdoor karting circuit. As well as a great day out, the event will raise funds for The Insurance Charities.

Open to any companies or individuals working in or around the UK insurance market, the event will see teams of between four and eight drivers representing some of the industry’s leading players competing in Sodi GT5 karts, whose 390cc engines are comfortably capable of 60mph.

The 1,382 metre track features long straights, twisting turns, and even an elevated section where it crosses over itself. With the day kicking off with registration at 7.30am, followed by team briefings, practice and qualification, the race starts at 10.30am with the chequered flag at 4.30pm, followed by an awards presentation ceremony.

Alongside the main event, individual drivers will have a chance to compete in the Ignite F1 Challenge in which the driver recording the fastest lap time will see their name on the leaderboard and receive a special trophy at the awards ceremony, with all proceeds going to support The Insurance Charities.

With just a month to go, the last few team places and sponsorship opportunities are expected to go soon. Anyone wishing to enter a team can register online at https://www.insuranceendurance.co.uk/registration.

The cost per team is £1,250, which includes kart hire, racing suits, helmets as well as breakfast lunch and snacks. Those who just want to come along, spectate and do some networking can purchase individual day tickets for £50.

For further information visit https://www.insuranceendurance.co.uk

—ends—

Press contacts: Stephen Tacey: 07801 432 220 stephen@charterhousemarketing.co.uk

Sponsorship enquiries: Kathryn Bonner: 0113 243 4713 kathryn@bonnerandhindley.co.uk

May 21, 2017

It’s the news that every parent most dreads hearing. For anyone who hasn’t experienced it themselves, there’s simply no way to communicate the sickening shock of learning that a much loved child has passed their driving test.

They’ll be wanting their own car, to go out and drive around in it, and they might even need some insurance. Not that they can afford any of those things. Oh, no, that’ll be someone else’s problem won’t it!

Plus: there’s the worry of knowing they’re out there somewhere, at all hours of the day and night, risking life and limb on roads crowded with other youngsters every bit as clueless and unsafe as they are.

One way to put the fear of God in them is to get them on one of those telly-magic insurance policies, where there’s this black box somewhere in their car that can magically tell exactly how badly they’re driving.

Once they know their every move is being monitored, they’re much less likely to go tearing around like a complete maniac. It’s almost as effective as sitting there beside them yourself going ‘Slow down, indicate, brakes!’

Insure My Box, a firm that offers telly-magic insurance, has been pushing the safety benefits (alongside the money-saving benefits) of in-car spyware for some time now. But something’s got them spooked.

Now that awareness of black box spyware is so prevalent among teen drivers, some cynical parents have apparently been wilfully deceiving their children by telling them there’s a black box in their cars when in fact there isn’t.

On one level it’s a perfectly understandable attempt to nudge a youngster’s behaviour in the right direction. It’s a bit like when you tell a younger child that there’s a terrifying, flesh-ripping, blood-sucking werewolf type creature lurking under their bed, so they don’t keep getting up in the night and interrupting when you’re watching telly.

But Simon Tewell of Insure My Box insists lying is bad. Especially if you’re lying about something as important as telly-magic insurance. ‘It’s somewhat concerning,’ Simon says, ‘that some parents think they can give their children the safety benefits that come with installing a black box just with a white lie.’

Whether these same parents are also lying about whether the offspring’s vehicles are even actually insured, Insure My Box don’t say. But, basically, what they do say is that everybody should have a real black box, not an imaginary or fictitious one.

Riffing on the theme of realisation, Simon says: ‘It’s important parents realise that the extended benefits of this technology, such as reduced speeding and lower accident rates, are realised only with the installation of an actual black box.’

That’s actual black boxes, not ones that are not actual (or even black boxes, come to that), just nasty little, penny pinching, so-called white lies.

Got that?

May 19, 2017

OK, so you think you can drive a bit. You know where things like the clutch and the handbrake are – and even what those flicky-up-and-downy things either side of the steering wheel do – but can you really… DRIVE?

Put up or shut up

There’s really only ONE WAY TO FIND OUT. You need to pit your skills against some the motor insurance community’s finest kartsters at forthcoming motor-sports must-attend event of the season Insurance Endurance.

Humiliate your colleagues and peers

If it turns out you actually CAN drive a bit (and if you can maybe shed a few of those unsightly pounds – or should we say kilos in your case – between now and 27 June), you could emerge as the undisputed Marcus Ericsson of the corporate karting world.

But you’ll never know unless you visit the ensurance indurance website immediately and register your team.

And, let’s face it, why wouldn’t want to do that?

Why you would

With karts that, if they went any faster, would go faster than any kart has any business ever going, round and round a track that’s a match for quite literally any circuit in the world (of comparable length and breadth), it’s the mother (and father) (and slightly weird uncle) of all corporate days out, ever!

Profile raising opportunity

Include a couple of featherweight teenage ringers in your team, and you could even win the bloomin’ thing – and see YOUR COMPANY NAME up there in lights (not actual lights, obviously, but very bright metaphorical ones).

So, seriously, book now before all those (tarmac scraping bucket) seats get filled!

May 19, 2017

When it comes to computers and stuff, UK businesses have been quite literally asleep. But now they need to wake up, argues Jimmy ‘Nuts’ Dalton of top insurer body ABI.

Jim was quick to respond to news that lots of people’s data had been taken hostage by cyber pirates the other day, rushing out a hard-hitting wake up call to the UK’s snooze-prone business community.

“These latest cyber attacks on 150 countries across the globe,” he declared, “are a wake-call for every type of business.” But did he literally mean every type of business, you may wonder.

Bankstone News can only assume he did, because in addition to the above quoted comment about ‘every type of business’, Jim also insisted that “all firms, whatever their size, are in the sights of cyber criminals.”

Now you might think that having to fork out 300 so-called ‘bot coins’ to get your data back (or whoever’s data it is you have lying around on your system) is hardly the end of the world. If so, you must think again!

The recent ‘wanna-curry’ rancidware attacks could be just the ‘amuse-bouche’ preceding a full-on ten-course banquet of cyber mayhem that could put you right out of business.

That’s right: if you have a business and something cybery happens to it, Jim warns, it could “cause significant disruption and even potentially put the existence of the business at risk.”

So all this cyber business is seriously bad news for all of us. Unless we are insurers, in which case it presents us with an opportunity to sell you an exciting new product known as cyber insurance.

Cyber insurance is great because when the wanna-curry attacks occurred, cyber insurers were probably busy paying claims and working around a clock to get customers with valid claims back on a track.

So, basically, if you have a business, you need to a) wake up, b) buy some cyber insurance, and c) make sure you’ve implemented lots of cyber security measures so you’ll never need to try claiming on it.

You have been warned.

May 18, 2017

The world is a notoriously uncertain place. But that’s actually a good thing. Especially if you’re hoping to sell people insurance.

Selling insurance requires a delicate balance between having enough uncertainty so people feel the need to protect themselves against the unexpected, but not so much that they wonder whether there’s any point buying insurance because – who knows – the insurer might not (or might not even be around to) pay you if and when it all goes tit* up.

But now that delicate balance is under threat – from both sides. On the one hand, there is the ever-present danger that a mysterious virus will precipitate an all-engulfing zombie apocalypse that destroys all humanity within weeks. At the other end of the scale, a global alliance of rogue scientists, big data, and artificially intelligent robotic or semi-robotic beings (so-called ‘roborgs’) are conspiring to rid the world of uncertainty.

Unscrupulous new entrants into the insurance arena, the FT reports this week, are playing right into the hands of the aforementioned axis of informational wickedness by incorporating elements of big data and AI (artificial insemination) into their ‘disruptive’ business models.

The oddly coloured financial paper reports that tech-savoury insurance start-ups “see an old-fashioned industry, bloated on fat profits made in the past and complacent about the scale of change required,” and want to “disrupt the industry and grab a slice of the market.

According to Nick Puffin of The Risk Analytics, insurance industry specialists could be “replaced by machines as algorithms become more powerful.” That would obviously be bad. But, wait, it could be even worse: “In the long run machines could undermine the industry by giving customers better tools to decide whether insurance is even necessary.”

Whether insurance is necessary? If that doesn’t sound like heresy, Bankstone News is at a complete loss to imagine what would.

But, just think about it… Warren Buffet, the hoary old Sage of Omigod, who’s right about more or less everything (and extremely rich as a result), is predicting that robocars will drive motor insurance to extinction. Life insurance underwriters will soon be replaced by intelligent selfie analysis software, and Admiral can already tell whether you’re safe to insure by checking your facebook profile for swears and exclamation marks!!!

Even leading UK (German) insurer Uvavu has admitted to dabbling in the dark arts of AI. “We absolutely use robots,” Uvavu’s Andrew Brum admitted to the FT’s reporters. “In our administration teams, there are lots of repetitive tasks which until now were done by humans.” But now it seems AI robots are coming over here and taking our jobs!

What does this all mean for traditional ‘people business’ insurers?

It means firstly that we must urgently introduce more uncertainty into the world to counter the all-knowingness being generated by big data and AI, and secondly that we must ensure that robots do not entirely supplant and replace humans any time in the near future.

Because, as everyone knows, robots don’t buy insurance!

May 12, 2017

It’s a little known fact that Bankstone CEO Dixon Tizer once featured in an episode of the original series of cult sci-fi TV series Star Trek.

A much younger Tizer, a prodigiously precocious tuba virtuoso, had taken up a wind scholarship at the California Academy of Brass.

As fate would have it, Dixon was one of a half dozen CAB students selected to feature in an episode entitled Horns of Zorn, which called for a band of blue-skinned, orange-haired alien children.

Tizer spent two days on set and was filmed for two scenes, Recital and Fracas, both of which, sadly, were deleted from the final cut on the recommendation of the show’s lawyers.

Dixon’s all-too brief stint in Hollywood did, however, result in a long-standing friendship with actor William Shatnuts, who’d repeatedly joshed him on set about the absurdly elaborate and unwieldy ‘Zornian fusion mouthharp’ with which the youngster wrestled so comically between takes.

To this very day, whenever Shatnuts happens to be anyway near Addingham (as, for example, he was when he recently featured in a short-lived run of Ooh, Missus, It Shouldn’t Happen to a Professional Claims Handler at the Ilkley Everyman) he likes to drop in on the Tizer household, share a Dry Martini or two, take a sauna, and reminisce about how young Dixon struggled with that fusion mouthharp.

More than just the simple pleasure of top bants with a former Hollywood superstar, Tizer’s long association with Shatnuts recently resulted in the Bankstone CEO coming into possession of a unique item of original Star Trek furniture.

Imagine the warm sensations Dixon felt when the B. J. Hooker star not only presented him with the original Star Trek chair featured below, but had it reupholstered in the official Bankstone colours before handing it over.

“I’ll never sit on anything else so long as I live’” vowed a clearly moved Tizer, before submitting himself to another extended session of mouthharp-related ribbing at the hands of the irrepressible old ham.

May 12, 2017

As regular readers will readily recall, HMG invited folks a whiles back to have their say on the MoJ’s since-abandoned plans to outlaw trifling personal injury claims to save decent ordinary motorists some money on their sky-high insurance premiums.

One of the parties responding to this invitation was MadCo, the body charged with accrediting and keeping an eye on medical report manufacturers.

It’s been widely reported this week that MadCo’s lately found it necessary to fire out warning letters to medical report makers on pretty much a daily basis and to suspend 235 users of its porthole (through which medical reporters now have to pass their output) in a single year.

MadCo’s submission to the Juice Select Committee also revealed the not-for-profit body’s grave concerns over an anticipated explosion in litigants in personae (LiPs) should the MoJ smite down with furious vengeance upon whiplash claimants and their good-for-nothing kind.

MadCo says its porthole was not designed for litigant-in-persons and would have to be substantially overhauled to accommodate such individuals. It also worried that LiPs might inappropriately encourage or entice makers of medical reports to sex up their reports to secure a better pay out. Imagine such a thing!

It’d been a slow week in the medical reporting game when this gorilla in a suit two sizes too small strolled into my office.

“I got this pain, see,” he told me, running his meaty paw with exaggerated delicacy down the side of his swarthy cheek. “Yeah, this pain in my neck, Doc,” he clarified,  belatedly adjusting the position of his hand towards the back of his head.

“Uh huh,” I confirmed noncommittally.”

“Some clown in a Studebaker stopped dead, right in front of me,” he went on, “and now I got nothing but pain, Doc. Night and day. Real bad pain.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, Mr…?”

“Scazzottata, Johnny Scazzottata,” the big man growled, sotto voce, like his name was some kind of warning.

“OK, Johnny,” I said, “let’s take a look and see what we got here.”

As I took a step towards him, Scazzottata’s fists came up in a flash, one behind the other. Just as fast, I took that step right back.

“Just write the scrip,” he told me, “and make it a good one. Or it might not be just that guy in the Studebaker that’s stopping dead in front of me. If you get my meaning.”

I did what he asked.

“Pleasure doing business, Mr S,” I ventured wryly, almost as soon as the door closed firmly behind him.

After that, I needed a change of pace. Boy, did I get one.

She had my full attention the second she swayed in through the door. She wore a snug-fitting black skirt and jacket combination, with a black silk blouse beneath, black stockings, black stiletto heels, and long black hair piled up sort of casual but elegant to frame that unforgettable face. If I said she was all woman, I’d be selling her way short.

“I, ah… I got this pain,” she confided breathily, resting her perfectly manicured right hand lightly above the top of her sternum.

“Uh huh,” I confirmed, as noncommittally as I could under the circumstances.”

“It sort of starts in my neck,” she whispered huskily, as her fingers trailed lazily down past the open second button of her blouse, “and goes all the way…”

She paused, flicked open the gently yielding third button and, fixing me with smouldering dark eyes, said simply “here.”

“Uh huh,” I said again, dry-mouthed, for lack of better inspiration.

“I was thinking maybe you could… take a look,” she suggested. Needlessly. Looking was all I could do.

“But,” she continued, not altogether persuasively, “I’m a little shy. You see,” (another of those killing pauses) “I have nothing underneath this blouse.”

She had something under that blouse, alright. I’d say maybe a couple of things.

I leant on the intercom. “No calls, Miss Jones.”

 

“Easy Tiger. Paperwork first!”

May 11, 2017

How many times must insurance comparison sites tell people: you have to shop around. It’s not optional. If you don’t do it, you’ll get hammered. And rightly so.

Because, in any civilized society, shopping around is what people do.

Your football team never wins anything? Shop around!
Your boyfriend watches footy all the time? Shop around!
Your lady just won’t treat you right? Do we really need to spell it out?

So, yeah, basically loyalty is for losers.

That’s why it’s only right and proper that, according to new research from Commuter Intelligence, idiots who stay with the same insurance provider are paying way over the odds compared with those who jump ship each time renewal comes around.

The longer a punter stays with their insurer, Computer Intelligence found, the more they’ll be paying for their insurance.

Switch after one year and you’ll save around sixty quid. Leave it a year and you’ll save a bit more. Leave it nine years (yeah, that’s right, Sucker, why not try it) and you’ll save a princely £116.71 (on average).

Wierdly, the same firm’s research suggest that people are basically lazy little so and so’s and can’t be bothered to change all their providers every year.

Some sad space-wasters reckon they should be rewarded for their loyalty and pay less not more for sticking around.

Never gonna happen.

Get with the programme.

Fools.

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