All hail The Master, Protector of Bikes!

August 31, 2017

Older readers of Bankstone News will remember The Master as a beardy character portrayed in vintage episodes of popular time travelling drama Dr Who by Roger Caesar Marius Bernard de Delgado Torres Castillo Roberto (and more recently by non-beardy types like Derek ‘Del’ Jacobi, John ‘Slight Everyman’ Simm and <shudder> some woman.

But lately, it seems, he’s come back regenerated as a new registration scheme for motorcycles and scooters.

You’re right, it IS confusing!

Thankfully – as ever – Bankstone News is on hand to explain…

Apparently M-A-S-T-E-R was some kind of secret code all along, standing for Motorcycle And Scooter Tagged Equipment Registration, and now he’s playing a vital role in MAS crime fighting by making TE six times less likely to be stolen than MASs that haven’t been R’d and T’d.

Let’s look at the data.

So far this year, 66,423 new MASs were R’d in the UK. Of the 42,254 that were marked by the Master, just 78 have been reported stolen. Meanwhile 285 of the 24,169 MASs that were not protected by Master have been nicked. This means that all those who have yet to submit themselves to the Master’s protection are way more likely to get pinching and must abandon their perverse and futile resistance.

Steve “Ken” Ward, CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association (MIA), the organisation that was behind the Master’s relaunch as a registration system in 2013, reckons it’s all turned out nicely. The encouraging data cited above, he argues, make it abundantly clear that all manufacturers who aren’t yet working with the Master should reconsider their resistance forthwith.

But how does the Master do what he does?, you are probably wondering (you’re always wondering something, aren’t you). Well, he uses a sophisticated array of technology to mark (both visibly and invisibly) the MASs’ major component parts, providing a unique ‘fingerprint’.

This marking includes tamper-evident warning labels, microscopic datadots, ‘stealth UV’ etching, and a number of unique radio frequency identification transponders embedded in parts.

All of this links to a database shared with dealers and police, so they know if a bike has been nicked. Meanwhile a prominent self-destruct label warns thieves (and triggers alarms), putting wrong ‘uns off nicking it in the first place.

It’s genius, basically. And every bike should have it.

If you’d like to know more, you could always click here for some of what we like to refer to as further information.

August 25, 2017

If you thought straight bananas were the worst thing EU lawmakers have ever inflicted on decent bent-fruit-loving Brits, prepare to think again. Leading tabloid newspaper The Sun this week exclusively revealed that Bonkers Brussels Bureaucrats are plotting to destroy the UK motor insurance market by forcing us all to insure our ride-on lawnmowers!

It’s all the fault of something called the Motor Insurance Directive which directs that all EU citizens must insure anything they own that has wheels and a motor (and is big enough to sit on) through a motor insurance policy. That means lawnmowers, off-road quad bikes, golf buggies, mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs and so-called novelty moto-trolleys.

And it’s all because some Slovenian bloke called Stevie Vnuks got knocked off a ladder by a tractor bowling carelessly by, and found he had no-one to sue. That won’t do, thought, meddlesome Eurocranks who immediately began plotting to unleash the aforementioned dodgy directive. Daylight ruddy lunacy is what it is!

But, according to The Sun, it’s actually even worse that that. Not only does the requirement for compulsory motor insurance encompass all those things mentioned above, it also includes vehicles used in motor sports competitions. What?! That’s what you probably just sputtered, spraying the shagpile with partially-chewed spittle-flecked Frazzles fragments.

Imagine the premiums someone like Lewis “Ladeez” Hamilton would have to pay for F1TPFT – even with telematics or whatever. No, it’s clearly unworkable, and just goes to show that foreigners really are completely wrong about everything. Even though the new directive could generate billions in premiums, insurers are patriotically urging government to just say no to this crazy new law.

As things stand, Brexit (whenever we finally get through whatever multi-year transitional deal we end up with) will come too late to save us from this Eurolegislative madness. Our only hope now is that someone in Brussels will clarify that motor insurance is only required under MID (MAD more like!) for lawnmowers etc. when they’re on the public highway.

Best not hold your breath, Folks!

August 25, 2017

If you want to get on, get on a bike. That’s what hoary old reactionary Norman Debit always used to say. And if that bike’s got a motor, then so much the better.

That’s why leading professional insurance claims handling firm Bankstone is vigorously urging anyone who still has no idea what to do with their bank holiday weekend to spend it learning to motorcycle for free (n.b. no liability is accepted for any misadventure consequent upon so doing).

That’s right, this weekend the Motorcycle Industry Association’s ‘Get it On’ initiative is offering novice would-be bikers the chance to taste the thrills of two wheel travel – absolutely 100% gratis free! And it’s also open to oldsters who’ve simply forgotten how to ride a bike.

All you have to do is get yourself to Warwickshire (and if you’re already there, then so much (in this specific and strictly limited sense) the better! ‘Get On’ will be offering 45-minute taster sessions in the grounds of the British Motor Mausoleum between 9am and 5.30pm from Saturday 26th through Monday 28th August.

You must be over 14 (don’t take that personally, you’re only as old as you feel) and you must be eager to get your ‘first taste of riding in a safe and structured environment, where expectations about wearing protective clothing are set and people understand the value of finding high quality training.’

If that’s you, then get yourself along to the BMM and then belatedly discover that you needed to pre-book a session by phoning 02476 408040, or via the website  – unless they’re not too busy in which case you might be alright. And if your under 16 don’t forget to bring a minder.

Happy tasting first-timers!

For further details, click here.

August 24, 2017

The Daily Mail’s war on insurance is getting out of hand. Hard on the heels of all the fuss they’ve been kicking up about insurers being nicer to new customers than so-called “loyal” ones, they’ve now gone off on one about so-called “stealth charges”.

In particular they’re up in arms about the perfectly respectable practice of charging customers fees of up to £75 for renewing their annual policies.

Whilst accepting that some insurers simply absorb the not inconsiderable costs of renewal into an inflated premium, the Mail still reckons £75 is a bit steep for pressing the button marked renew. If only it were really that simple!

In reality, of course, renewing a policy requires endless to-ing and fro-ing betwixt numerous panels of insurance experts and dedicated clerks chasing back and forth along the labyrinthine corridors of Britain’s great insurance houses.

Plus: charging people to renew gives them some friendly encouragement to switch to another provider – and thereby avoid the loyalty taxes the Mail is supposedly so against. You can’t have it both ways, DM!

But it’s not just renewal fees, the far right paper is moaning about. They also seem to think being charged sixty odd quid for informing your insurer about altered personal circumstances potentially relevant to your insurance policy is a bit of a liberty.

Well, it isn’t (see paragraph four above). It actually requires the insurer to make what’s technically known a Mitten Adjustment and it’s a complete bl**dy faff! If policyholders only knew what a bother it is to have them as customers, they might show a little more humility and gratitude!

Oh, and then there’s cooling off fees. The Mail gets it’s union jack knickers in a fearful old twist over insurers’ charging people who decide to change their mind during the two week COP £45 for all their wasted time and effort.

In what bizarre version of morality is it OK to say ‘Oh, yes Mr Insurer, I want to insure my car with you’ and then turn round and say ‘Oh, sorry I changed my mind!’ COP teasers like these deserve far more than a £45 penalty.

They should be made to do their cooling off in a boxy thing like Steve McWeen in that old film – except without that kind of American cricket ball thing he has to while away the time.

If journalists think being an insurer is such a racket maybe they should try it themselves. Those lightweights wouldn’t last ten minutes!

In the meantime, it’s high time we provided policyholders with greater transparency by including all fees and charges in a single premium bill (delivered at the end of the year, with an estimate upfront) so they wouldn’t get confused by all these individually itemised bits and pieces.

Legislation please!

August 23, 2017

The days when insurance fraud passed easily undetected are long gone.

Insurers long ago replaced the armies of plodding scribes who wrote endlessly to claimants asking ‘did you really lose all those things you said you lost, and have you got any receipts please?’ with highly sophisticated fraudbots that can spot a dodgy claim a mile off.

The other BIG problem facing would-be fraudsters is the Metropolitan Line’s dreaded iFED police squad (known simply to friends and foes alike as the Feds). This crack team can sniff out suspicious claims activity like Derringham’s Pill Moth sensing the spores of a fructating Javanese Jinmule.

A case in point was the recent apprehension of Watford based superfraudster Joel Mtebe (alias Joel M’tebe, Joel Umtebe, Joel M Tebe) who was caught out after submitting thirteen suspiciously similar home insurance claims to insurer Arse A over a thirteen month period from Feb 2014 to March 2015.

Having forked out over £12k (in compensation for various designer handbags and laptops etc. left on trains and in taxis) to Mr Mtebe and his various aliases at the same Watford address, Arse A’s fraudbots grew suspicious and decided to refer a number of claims (8) to the Feds.

The Feds took Mr M downtown and applied some investigatorial pressure. The sap soon cracked and poured out that he knew what he done was wrong but times were hard and he had a partner and son to support. This confession prompted Arse A to submit a further seven potentially suspicious claims for the Feds’ consideration.

When Mtebe attempted for flee the country, the Feds were waiting. They pounced at Heathrow and took the fraudster in for further questioning. The misrepresentative miscreant had little choice but to admit his involvement in the additional seven claims he’d made. He can now expect to spend the rest of his life in jail or doing community service or something.

Johnny B Dull of Arse A said his firm “has a zero tolerance towards fraud in order to better serve the vast majority of our customers who are honest. People tempted to commit fraud against us should be aware that we will pursue them and will cooperate with the police to ensure they are brought to justice.”

Even if they do it fewer than 15 times.


August 16, 2017

Any organisation that sets out to defend all that is good about biking certainly has its work cut out.

If Bankstone News were even to begin cataloguing the many and multifarious good things about biking, we’d be here all day – instead of for our preferred option of a couple of derisory hours prior to popping down the Badgers for a well deserved early (mostly) liquid lunch.

But that (see para 1, sentence 1 above) is the self-imposed mission espoused by leading bikers’ lobbiers the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG).

And when they’re not busy doing that, they also like to be the representative voice of motorcyclists in local and national government.

If you think that sounds like pretty much the epitome of noble callings, you’re not alone. So eager to support MAG was leading professional outsourced motor claims handling outfit Bankstone (we may have mentioned them before), that they’ve signed up as corpulent members of MAG.

As part of its corpulent membership package, Bankstone now receives a bi-monthly magazine produced by MAG named, presumably in homage to the famous meme-generating post-apocalyptic dystopian novel by Caramac McCarthy (now a major motion picture), The Road.

Imagine Bankstone chief exec Dillon Tigra’s surprise and delight upon perusing the latest edition of this publication to find there a charming article in which his own company was profiled in positively glowing terms. Which was nice.

Maybe you’d like to support MAG too.

It’s up to you, obviously.

August 16, 2017

‘Jazzy’ Jeff Prestridge of the Daily Mail (see last week’s edition) has been up to his old insurer-bashing tricks again. Seriously, what is his problem?

The latest bee in his bonnet, insurance-wise, is the ludicrously misconceived idea that insurers are somehow ripping people off by charging them vast amounts of money for the privilege of paying by instalments.

In particular he’s going after yellow insurer Uvavu whose chief exec Mark Wilson the disheveled Partridge accuses of being ‘dapper’.

Last time out, Jazzy JP was mostly berating Uvavu and Co for lacking loyalty towards long-suffering policyholders. This time he’s on about them penalising customers too cash-strapped to pay up front in full.

Much as the well presented Wilson would like to project a “cuddly consumer-focused image,” JP says, he secretly nurses “anti-consumer” sympathies and has no compunction over working his animus out on unsuspecting Uvavu customers.

Confronted by suggestions that making less well off customers pay more for not pre-funding a full 12-months’ cover, Wilson and his Uvavu colleagues, Jeff claims, called the moaners bluff by increasing the premiums paid by upfront payers – to make it fairer!

If he’d levelled premiums downwards, Jeff says, we would have been singing his praises, but, oh no, they’ve gone for collective punishment because “we believe this is fairer to customers and provides greater choice and flexibility for customers in how they pay their premiums to us,” as their press office puts it.

Uvavu reckon up-fronters were getting a discount (now cancelled in the name of fairness), while Jazzy Jeff reckons the month-by-monthers were paying a surcharge for spreading. Who’s right? Far be it from Bankstone News to take sides when, so clearly, there are what Donald Trump would call “many sides”.

Elsewhere in the Mail, the knives are out for insurers’ premium instalment offers on a broader front. According to one report insurers are ‘ripping off’ Brits by charging them £500 million a year for spreading the pain, with individual customers paying up to £300 extra if they can’t afford to fork out upfront.

Insurers, the Mail claims, are treating instalment payments ‘as if they were a loan’ and charging over-the-top interest accordingly. This ignores the fact that in many cases they ARE a loan, via a premium finance company, to ensure that the less affluent’s inability to pay upfront doesn’t interfere with insurers’ predilection for sitting on other people’s money for long periods of time (a habit learned back in the days when interest rates were higher and you could actually make money that way).

The Mail neglects to specify whether other insurers will be following Uvavu’s lead by increasing up-fronters premiums to match those paid by the instalmenteers, thereby adding another £500 million to their collective profits.

Should they opt to do so, it would hopefully teach uppity consumers not to kick up such a fuss in future.

August 15, 2017

An alarming new survey has found that young people today are none too keen on paying loads of money for their motor insurance.

Shocking new research commissioned by VultureCodsPro, a website that is trying to save money, has revealed that three out of four young people reckon motor insurance is a “rip off”.

Thirteen percent of young people said they thought car insurance premiums are evil (but necessary), while just over one in ten agreed that premiums are “reasonable” presumably because, like, my parents are paying?

But rather than just sit around and whinge, today’s resourceful youngsters have hit upon a number of ingenious “loopholes”, reveals VultureCodsPro.

These include adding their parents to their policies (23%), selecting a stupidly high excess (20%), and cunningly “installing a black box” (15%), ruses that can apparently save them around £200 per annum.

Or (one could perhaps be forgiven for suspecting) simply not bothering with overpriced (“compulsory”) insurance (a possibility not picked up in the VultureCods survey for possibly rather obvious reasons).

The same savvy youngsters who routinely fleece online betting sites for their free introductory wager offers have also twigged that it is important to show zero loyalty to your insurance provider.

Nine out of ten youngsters insisted that they wouldn’t dream of staying with the same insurer for longer than 12 months.

George Charles, spokesbeing for VultureCodsPro, explains that you need motor insurance if you intend “driving on the road” for at least part of the time you spend behind the wheel. But he warns “It’s expensive to begin driving, with lessons, tests, and then buying the car, insurance, tax, MOT and fuel.” So maybe it’s best not to go down that road.

But if you insist on driving, George, counsels, it’s “definitely worth exploring” quite literally “any way you can save costs.”

Bankstone News feels sure he meant to say any LEGAL way.

He probably just forgot.

Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

Whether he deserves it or not.

August 14, 2017

Many’s the time sexual violence has come to the rescue of writers struggling for inspiration when knocking out an angry letter to the press. If you’re ever stuck for a memorable metaphor, the standard advice for novice writers runs, “you can always rely on rape.”

It must have been with this sage old adage in mind that Dutch Tony of bikers action front We Ride London this week compared calls for bike manufacturers to do more to combat vehicle theft as “like making rape the fault of women who wear short skirts or drink too much”.

Why should bike manufacturers waste time and money making their products less attractive targets for thieves, Dutch demands to know from a shed somewhere in East London, when taxpayers pay the police good money to chase down the criminals who are swiping London scooters by the dozen every day.

If manufacturers made bikes harder to steal, he argues, the extra costs would be passed on to consumers in higher purchase prices. Instead, the industry meeds to push back and put the responsibility for preventing theft firmly where it belongs, with Britain’s overpaid and under-utilised police forces.

From a manufacturers’ point of view, of course, there’s the added disincentive (a point Dutch strangely neglects to mention) that for every bike nicked there’s a decent prospect of a new one being purchased.

“The industry needs to join forces,” Dutch urges, “to lobby the government to ensure the police are given a clear mandate, and supporting powers, to pursue scooter thieves and ensure there are consequences for being a criminal.”

The concept of consequentialising crime is a timely suggestion, Bankstone News would humbly submit, and an innovation that could usefully be extended to other areas of criminality.

But, rather than just sitting on the sidelines writing letters to the press, We Ride London are committed to taking direct action to encourage the Metropolitan Police in their thus-far half-hearted attempts to do something about the capital’s scooter theft crimewave and the solvent-based violence that increasingly accompanies it.

On 30 August the group is organising a ‘ride out’ that will see bikers ‘ride out’ in motorised protest at bike theft, official inaction in the face of it, and, presumably, the unreasonableness of expecting bike manufacturers to make bikes harder to steal.

August 9, 2017

Earlier this year we broke the news that Bankstone would be participating in Yellow Yorkshire, a colour-themed regional charity fundraising effort in aid of as-seen-on-TV helicopter ambulance service YAA. See full details here.

Well, a couple of weeks ago (on July 7), they only went and did exactly that. More memorable readers may recall that we promised back in April to bring you exclusive after-the-event images of Bankstone managing director Ditzy Typo knocking out a bravura solo interpretation of the ever-popular, if slightly depressing, Yellow by top beat combo Combplay on his sousaphone while dressed as a banana.

Sadly, during the course of a gala fundraising evening that saw the UK’s best loved professional outsourced motor insurance claims handling provider raise more than £199.99 for the life saving air ambulance service, some unidentified music lover took it upon themselves to hide Mr Typo’s instrument.

Notwithstanding this disappointment, the event was adjudged a huge success (by Mr T, shortly after he’d been cut out of a somewhat snug banana suit, which had proved significantly harder to get off than it had been to put on).

“This event has been a huge success,” a slightly flushed and flustered Typo adjudged. “I couldn’t be prouder of my team who’ve given freely of their time and money to support this exceptionally worthwhile cause. I know you all greatly appreciated the opportunity I recently allowed you to see the YAA at work [an allusion to a staff outing to the charity’s operation at Nosetowel Priory near Wakefield], but just don’t expect anymore staff jollies like that for a while.”

“Now get back to work,” he added emphatically.

Click on this image to do your own bit for YAA

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