David Lidington clarifies what counts as small

October 27, 2017

Just when you were probably thinking that politicians couldn’t possibly be any clearer, even if we’d let them, J-Sec Davey Lidz this week uber-clarified that the small clams limit will definitely be generously up-sized to £5k for RTA and £2k for PI, various.

What even the Lidster couldn’t yet clarify to the Just Ice Select Committee, however, was exactly when this might be happening. The one point on which he could literally not have been clearer was that he has whiplash well and truly in his sights.

Something, he said, would have to be done and he was the boy to do it. These are not cases, he argued, “where it ought normally to be necessary to have legal representation.”

This is surely right, especially in an era where affording ordinary people the luxury of legal representation is harder and harder to justify, whatever the circumstances.

High time, most right minded observers would surely agree, we start rolling back the obscene excesses of legal representation to which our pampered society has grown accustomed in recent years.

Rather than getting all legalistic about trifling PI claims, Lidz suggested, claimants should simply present the evidence of any supposed injury they’ve incurred and see if it qualifies for some kind of pay-out based on a predetermined tariff.

Naturally, that wasn’t good enough for some people. Oh, no! Some chap called Qamar Anwar, claiming to represent some shadowy group called Thirst4Lawyers, attempted to characterise Lidz’ comments a “blow for access to justice.”

“For most people, a claim worth £5,000 is not low value,” he suggested outlandishly, going on to insist that “96% of road traffic accident related PI claims are under £5,000, so the impact could be huge.”

In reality, the only significant impact will be on greedy lawyers who prey on accident-prone proles who, once they’ve understood the matter correctly, will be perfectly happy to surrender any right to legal representation (and some ill-deserved cash bonanza) for the good of those who actually pay the taxes to which unscrupulous lawyers have been only too happy to help themselves and their ‘clients’ for far too long.

In a gruesome illustration of the depths to which these legal types will nowadays sink in their grubby pursuit of a few measly pence, Anwar had the temerity to allege that “Unfortunately, the government’s allegiances seem to rest with the insurers, not innocent accident victims.”

That seems a pretty shabby charge to bring when PM Theresa May herself has clearly clarified to ordinary Brits that: “The government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours. When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you. When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty but to you.”

But presumably bombastic ‘people’s champion’ Mr Anwar wasn’t listening when she clarified that.

Out chasing ambulances that day, no doubt!

Former Bankstone director AJ Jones demonstrates the concepts of ‘small’ and ‘far away’ (click to view)

October 27, 2017

Regular readers will be well aware that our illustrious sponsors, leading professional claims handling providers Bankstone, take the dimmest of possible views of motor scooters being co-opted in the perpetration of crimes against person or property.

The recent spate of attacks in which solvents have been sprayed in victims’ faces (resulting in serious injury and/or permanent disfigurement) has focussed crimefighters’ minds as never before on the issue of scooter-enabled crime.

One of the fiercest frustrations facing those intent on combatting the moped mobsters has been namby-pamby soft-on-crime rules forbidding police from chasing criminals on motorcycles when the suspects aren’t wearing helmets.

But the cops now have a new weapon of their own that could turn the tide of motorised youth thuggery, a weapon based, ironically enough, on the same principles of pressurised propulsion put to such vicious and cynical use by the Harpic-in-a-Nerf-Gun crew.

Regional news source getSurrey recently reported that five suspects were arrested after quick-thinking cops sprayed them or their vehicles with a ‘special spray’ that’s indelible, invisible, and marks the suspect out for future arrest using a synthetic DNA cod.

Along with that synthetic DNA code, the spray – tested for the first time earlier this month in such exotic southerly locations as Elmbridge, Runnymeard and Spelthorne – also has magic UV bits that show up when you shine a special light on them.

This allows cops to go round directing a special UV light wand at people, bikes and cars to see if they have had special spray sprayed on them – and then they can start arresting people. The spray is expected to play a key role in the fight against lid-less fugitive scooter crims.

To spray effectively, officers must get within 5 metres of their intended target. Otherwise they might end up spraying thin air or themselves or other officers, which could lead to the wrong people getting arrested. If that sounds challenging, Spray Day One proved otherwise.

During a single day of spraying, Surrey cops managed to mark no fewer than 17 people and 23 vehicles, subsequent checking of which led to the arrest of five individuals, one of whom was found to have 125 grams of cocaine and a couple of joints in his car.

Calming fears that cops might go a bit crazy with the new spray (which stays on a person’s skin for several months and in their lungs for potentially rather longer), Slurry Police spokesman Inspector Alan Sproston insisted that officers will only let loose when they have a ‘valid reason’.

Sproston told getSorry that the spray allows officers to “target transient offenders who use vehicles to carry out crimes,” adding that it sends a clear message that “people using scooters to commit crimes will be marked and consequently identified from the DNA UV spray.”

Anything that nudges scooters away from grim images of hammer-wielding thugs and back towards chic Italian teens buzzing round La Città Eterna (or even Phil Daniels hanging Brighton around in a parka) sounds just fine as far as Bankstone News is concerned.

Nice one, Sprosty, we say here. Spray on Surrey Police Dudes!

Sproston: no place to hide from my spray

 

October 26, 2017

Put out, no doubt, that the government hasn’t offered them a special deal like Nissan or the DUP, shifty Japanese car makers Toyota have been attempting to stir up unjustified worries over Britain’s future trading relationship with the EU and all the other countries with which we’ll shortly be without an in-force trade deal.

Latching on to (quite possibly unreliable) figures from ‘automotive business intelligence’ provider J2O Dynamics, doom-mongers are suggesting that a 10% year-on-year drop in new car registrations in the UK during September presages some kind of apocalypse for British motor manufacturing.

To the uninitiated ear, this might sound quite bad; but closer inspection soon reveals these figures have not been adjusted for optimism and hence are not to be taken too seriously!

For all the fuss about ‘uncertainty’ that’s currently being bandied about, it’s clear to any rational observer that once lions starts roaring and tigers are put in tanks, the future looks dazzlingly bright for the British automotive sector.

But that, of course, does not deter would-be recipients of state-backed special favours from rattling their cages. Speaking at the Tokyo motor show, Toyota’s European Chairman Didier Leroy (a foreigner, note) dropped dark hints that a ‘fog’ of uncertainty was clouding Toyota’s plans for future UK operations.

“Today we export 80pc to 85pc of production to continental Europe,” he told reporters, “so if we move to something like an import tax, trade tax or any kind of additional penalty, it will create a big negative impact in terms of competitiveness.”

This, of course, is balderdash. Toyota made it abundantly clear once and for all that it backs Britain 100% when it invested a whacking almost £250m in its Burnaston site earlier this year. Does that sound like a company that’s going to be put off by a little fog or taxes or tariffs or penalties or whatever?!

Of course it doesn’t.

So let’s hear no more of your nonsense Monsieur Leroy!

October 25, 2017

If you’re anything like Bankstone News, you probably can’t so much as look at a collision ecosystems without wanting to reinvent it.

Thought so! That means we’re both – for better or for worse – on exactly the same page as former AXA boss Andy Homer whose passion for collision ecosystem reinvention recently prompted him to invest in an exciting start up business called Tractable which offers insurers ‘touchless’ claims handling capabilities via AI-powered photo recognition.

The idea couldn’t be simpler. Users first need to have an accident. They can then clamber out of their damaged vehicle and snap off a couple of pics of their battered bangers, then simply upload these to Treatable’s Artificial Insemination powered system, which magically translates these blurry images into a comprehensive costed evaluation of the extent and nature of any damaged incurred.

Early adoptive insurer Agean is already using the first wave of Tractible’s ‘toothlesss’ claims handling system, but a second wave launched this week can now apparently ‘provide a full estimate repair cost using photos in minutes.’

Clearly this is very exciting. Although in fairness Bankstone News feels obliged to mention in parenthesis that Brighouse-based claims specialists Bankstone are already using their own bespoke PrangSnap system to do something rather similar.

Having said which, Traceable’s system has apparently now seen more than 300 million images of damage (equivalent to watching the climatic car-chase scenes of The Blues Brothers 25 times in a row), which the firm says (again not unlike the aforementioned cinematic experience) equates to “combining the experience of thousands of experts into one intelligence.”

All of which certainly sounds impressive.

Unless, of course, you’re one of the growing number of Brits who’ve had enough of experts.

October 23, 2017

In what has been a dispiriting week for those keen to put faith in the competence and good sense of British drivers, comes the alarming revelation that UK motorists are frankly unfit to be let loose on other countries’ roads.

In the previous five years alone – an important new research programme undertaken by nodding dog insurance provider Churchill has revealed – Brits have risked their own and others’ lives by driving on completely the wrong side of foreigners’ roadways (or, if you prefer, on the right side but in the wrong direction).

A fair proportion of this controversial driving, it seems, has been taking place in Spain, a popular holiday destination located in South West EU, where Brits have apparently been involved in a catalogue of near mrs and accidents.

According to Churchill, thirteen percent of drivers admitted they had nearly had an accident whilst driving in Spain, whilst a further eight percent said they had taken it to the next level by actually being ‘involved in a collision’.

In the absence of documentary evidence to the contrary, let us, for our present purposes, assume that these are real collisions, not the RTA equivalent of the appalling stomach complaints that have lately been ruining so many Brits’ breaks abroad.

On which basis, it seems clear that it would be good if UK motorists weren’t quite so clueless when it comes to negotiating the highways and byways of overseas nations.

According to leading online news source iNews, the Churchill study uncovered “high levels of misunderstand [sic] and ignorance around the requirements and laws around driving in Spain that could lead to fines and prosecution.”

Terrifyingly, only 39 per cent of Brits are “aware of the legal requirement to carry a high-vis jacket and headlamp beam deflectors, and only 38 per cent new [sic] they must have a set of spare lightbulbs and the tools to fit them.”

There is widespread ignorance also over stuff like warming triangles, wearing galoshes, and using speed camera detractors.

Steve Beret, head of car insurance at Churchill warns: “So many motorists have veered onto the wrong side of the road in Spain. It is very worrying, and it’s lucky there haven’t been even more accidents.”

But the real sting in Churchill’s research tail is that a third of Brits driving overseas wrongly assume their UK motor insurance policies will automatically cover them should they (as they almost inevitably will) have a accident (or otherwise feel the need to make a claim) whilst in Spain or somewhere else foreign.

One top tip for those planning on driving in a different country is to bear in mind that in many parts of abroad, the locals tend to drive on the right side of the road (as opposed to the left side).

Taking the trouble to respect such local traditions, however quaint and illogical they may seem, will help ensure you have a carefree and enjoyable time when visiting foreign lands.

October 23, 2017

Imagine, if you can, the bittersweet smell of caramelised orange zest, and you will have, in the nostrils of your fancy, if you will, an appropriate aroma with which to accompany the following story.

It tells, you may as well know now, of how specialist young driver insurance provider Marmalade brought in specialist software provider Ignite to provide the telematics platform for its new New Driver – Family Car policy.

This exciting new product is aimed at provisional licence holders and recently qualified young drivers who do their driving in vehicles belonging to parents. Fiendishly brilliant black box technology tracks their every move and is available to view, both by young driver and parent.

This enables the youngsters to access significantly lower premiums, whilst a dedicated smart phone app enables their benignly curious parents to see exactly what their darlings have been up to in their cars. As you would expect, this includes full journey tracking and stuff like acceleration, deceleration and cornering.

Even as its New Driver – Family Car policy is being rolled out through the firm’s network of 300 broker partners, Marmalade MD Kingpin Mover took a moment to reflect on how: “We chose Ignite because we needed a partner with the knowledge and experience to help keep us at the forefront of telematics innovation.”

Meanwhile, Ignite MD T-Boy Mac provided further insight by providing the following quote: “Marmalade has been visionary in providing drivers with a scheme that provides freedom to learn safe driving, without being hindered by high insurance costs.”

To read a more orthodox version of this story in a proper journal of record, click here.

October 23, 2017

Having recently been charged with its regulation, the Financial Conduit Authority (FCA) has been trying to find out a bit about insurance and what people think about it and so on.

The findings of the regulator’s Financial Lives Survey 2017 make for absolutely fascinating reading. For instance, did you know that 18% of the adult population ‘hold’ no general general insurance policies whatsoever? IKR, what is wrong with these people.

Also: fewer than 60% of 18-24 year olds (and a pitiful 55% among young males) ‘hold’ any flavour of general insurance product, suggesting that the proportion with (compulsory) motor insurance is even lower. Perhaps as low as 50%?

This presumably means either that they don’t own motor vehicles or (more probably) that they’re a) being fronted by their parents or b) not bothering with (pricey) motor insurance.

But perhaps the most startling finding to emerge from the FCA’s research is that most people living in the UK are deeply ignorant, incurious, or both. Almost one in three adult Brits, for example, have literally no idea what ‘no claims protection’ means.

It is ignorance and incomprehension like this that has led the FCA to classify around half the population as ‘vulnerable’ meaning that they can’t be trusted to use insurance wisely or safely and probably won’t have the cover they need when things go wrong.

Not the least significant way in which Brits are clueless when it comes to insurance is that many don’t know the difference between a broker and an insurer or indeed why they can’t be trusted to help themselves without the help of the former category of insurance provider.

In a classic instance of wanting to know the price of everything but the value of nothing, one in four UK insurance customers told the FCA that they would always opt for the cheapest product. Another one in four said they’d be open to considering quality as well as quantity, but had no idea how to do so.

Reflecting on how ‘vulnerable’ Brits can be protected from their own ignorance, FCA chief exec Andy ‘Bails’ Bailey, said he was planning to use all this fascinating information “to increase our knowledge and understanding of the issues affecting consumers and how to best protect them.”

That’s a lovely thought, but surely we get all the help we need from that Opera bloke and the meerkats and such like.

October 23, 2017

Regular readers will doubtless recollect some of the many memorable occasions on which Bankstone News has previously alluded to the Bane of Vnuk.

Such readers may also recall that, due to some bloke called Vnuk getting knocked off a ladder by a farm vehicle, the EU facist superstate (in one of its most loathsome incarnations as the so-called ECJ) has decreed that all vehicles everywhere (even those not on public highways) must be insured, in case they damage someone or something.

If this latest instance of Euro-nonsense is allowed to stand, it could spell the end of motorsports of all kinds in the UK (and other EU countries presumably). Which would be an absolute vnuking catastrophe.

Thankfully, a champion has arisen to defy this threat, That champion is the Motor Cycle Industries Association (MCIA) a body of which Bankstone is proud to count itself a ‘member’. For it were they, the MCIA, who bluntly warned this week that:

“All motor and motorcycle sport vehicles and drivers/riders in the UK are now required to be covered by unlimited third-party motor insurance during competition.”

Clearly this cannot, should not and indeed must not happen. Just imagine the premiums! So the MCIA is lobbying with all its might for changes to the Motor Insurance Directive that would prevent this crazy legislation putting paid to motorsports of every conceivable kind and shape within the UK for the foreseeable future.

Insurers across Europe are virtually unanimous in declining to offer any such coverage. In Finland, one of the few countries ‘bold and imaginative’ enough to try it, premiums for younger competitive motorcyclists quickly rose to €29,000 per annum, significantly cooling demand.

Thus far, stalwart Brit lawmakers have resisted implementing Vnuk. But might their resolution falter? It’s not inconceivable. Because, if they don’t, the government could get sued for damages resulting from non-implementation.

Shockingly, even Brexit may not save us from Vnuk. Not only are we stuck in the EU until March 2019, but we could well still be in the single market or abiding by its rules or something for another two years after that, as we ‘transition’.

Even after that, we might still have to harmonise with EU insurance law as part of some form of ‘mutual recognition’ required to continue doing insurance business with our continental “cousins”.

That’s it then. We’re b*ggered, you’re probably thinking, in your habitually uncouth way. Well, maybe, just maybe, not!

The Evil European Commission belatedly cottoned on to the fact that its ludicrous Vnuk legislation would have “unintended consequences” and launched a consultation entitled REFIT.

MCIA was one of a number of organisations who responded, explaining how the law as proposed would whack a dirty great spanner in the wheels of motorsport (you can see all the responses here).

Will those tyrannical Eurocrats finally listen to sense? Or will it be bendy bananas all over again?

Watch this space!

October 13, 2017

It’s not that we’ve lost it or anything. We just wondered whether you’re still languishing among the rapidly dwindling ranks of those unfortunate mortals who’ve yet to lay eyes upon this marvel of 21st Century corporate communications.

Because if you are – believe us, Folks – you could not be more bigly missing out.

Since news first broke of the online availability of this ‘masterpiece’ synthesis of word and image, description and depiction, fact and fiction, literally thousands have flocked to the hallowed URL whereat this marvel may be beheld. If you haven’t seen it yet, you really ask yourself what on earth you have been doing.

It’s basically really great, and it tells you pretty much everything you could ever want to know about professional outsourced claims handling provider Bankstone. More, if anything. And it has pictures of cars. And the colours are really nice. Trust us, you’re literally going to love it. In a platonic, or maybe a romantic, way. Nothing pervy or anything.

So stop dillying around reading these empty and insignificant words and get yourself along to insert web address and take a look for yourself. You can turn the pages just by moving your mouse (the one attached to your computer) and then you actually see those pages sort of flippy-flopping over.

It’s totally dope. Check it out, Homeboy!*

*Or Girlfriend, obviously.

If you’re a girl.

Or a lady.

Oh, OK then: a ‘woman’.

October 13, 2017

Arrron Banks is a bad boy. Specifically, he is the leading figure in the infamous Bad Boys of Brexit (BBB) gang who recently harnessed a nation’s ill-focused frustrations to engineer Britain’s unexpected departure from the European Onion.

He’s also, of course, the Herbert-Lom-like eminence grise behind Bristol-based Eldon Insurance (which in turn is behind marsupial-themed insurance brand Go Skipping), which is due to float on the London Stick Exchange in the new year.

Shares are expected to sell like hot cokes, following the revelation that Binks is using weapons-grade artificial intelligence to profile potential customers, and thus slash his firm’s personal injury claims frequency (PICF).

A 50% drop in PICF, Bonks claims, has been achieved thanks to the input of the same data boffins who swung both a Leave vote in last year’s EU referendum and the election of Donald ‘Jay’ Tramp, with financial backing from Bunks and other wealthy international businesspersons.

These remarkable coups were, at least in part, achieved thanks to the input of data mining, data analysis and psy-ops firm Cambridge Analerotica, who employ the dark arts of data enhancement and audience segmentation to enable in-depth psychographic analysis of key target audiences.

In the cases of Brexit and Tromp, these techniques enabled ‘behavioral microtargeting’ to generate a sophisticated and ‘actionable’ view of individuals and groups whose behaviours and beliefs the Leave and Trunk campaigns were able to manipulate and direct, primarily via social media.

Where Go Skip is concerned, the objective may be less sinister or dramatic (more a question of spotting potential future claimers and weeding them out), but anyone who doubted Brexit and Trump could ever come to pass might want to keep an eye on Eldon and its future fortunes, and maybe even grab themselves a share of the data-power pie.

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