Gird up for that kartin’ startin’ gridline

11/08/2021

Insurkarting time will soon be here again. The good, the great, the movers, the shakers, anyone, indeed, who’s anyone in the world of motor insurance and allied sectors is sure to be counting down the days now until 23 September when twenty odd teams of mad-keen motorkarters line up to go head to head round the world-renowned PIF Motorkartway.

Like so many other things during these last few plague-grim years, insurance karting has been away too long. Not since June 2019, back in the carefree days of the second decade of the twenty-first century, have motor insurance folk had a chance to enjoy the unalloyed joys of alternate bouts of haring round the UK’s longest outdoor cart track (more than 1381m in length) and networking it up with the cream of the cream of their peers.

Teams of eight or fewer drivers will enjoy a lavish butty on arrival, light refreshments and beverages throughout the day, and a delicious buffet lunch at lunchtime. Registration is at 8.30am, followed by an enthralling safety briefing. Then, following various practice and qualifying laps, the big race kicks off at 10.30am. 

Each team can switch drivers as often as it likes until the race finally comes to an end, many many hours later when someone eventually decides wave a black and white chequered flag. For those who hanker for racing of briefer duration, we’ve added an hour-long sprint race to the main event. 

So, you see, there’s something for literally everyone this year. What, even people for people who long to simulate the frantic every-millisecond-counts type pressure of a Formula 1 mid-race wheel change?, you might reasonably be wondering. 

Yes, even them! Because, for this year’s Pitstop Challenge, we’ve borrowed Sebastian Fettle’s Aston Martin Formula Uno racecar from the FIA’s technical impoundment zone, where it’s been held since Fettle appealed his Hungarian Grand Prix disqualification, and we’ll be using this real live genuwine racecar in place of whichever ropey old banger the IE karters would otherwise have been practising their pitstop prowess on.

So, what are you waiting for, get over to Ensurance Indurance site at once and see if there’s still a chance for you and your associates to snap up one of the last few team places. 

Portholes in road ahead

11/08/2021

Bankstone News seems to recall it was renowned Scots philosopher and economist Adam Smith who once famously observed that ‘it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God’. And speaking of passing things through implausibly restrictive apertures, there have lately been developments in the unfolding story of HMG’s whiplash porthole – see previous coverage.

You’ll no doubt recall that whip-hurt punters were finding it way too easy to claim significant sums of cash in compensation for quite-possibly-trumped-up cervical injuries, and that the government had decided to make it harder and less lucrative for them so to do. And that’s just what they’ve done.

Part One of the Curtailment of Legal Access (CLA) Act finally came into force on 31 May this year, putting a price on people’s pain with a fixed tariff of damages for various grades of whiplashedness, putting all claims worth £5k or less on a small ‘claims track’ passing (or possibly not passing) through the aforementioned porthole, and largely relieving insurers of the burdensome necessity of covering claimant lawyers’ costs.

Having effectively severed the link between claimants and claimant lawyers, the government has clearly set a premium on user-freindliness in designing its claims porthole, with the result that it really couldn’t be simpler for injured people to give up and go away. Not only must they pass through the porthole itself, they must also jump through a variety of associated hoops including a requirement to provide medical evidence of hurtness. 

Businesses like Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) insurers may be interested to know that Bankstone Limited Ltd is one of just 24 FCA-regulated firms with the required permissions (not to mention the dark-arts type skills) to pass claims safely through the porthole. So if you are associated with such a business, and you’d like some value-added professional assistance with your porthole passage needs, please don’t hesitate to contact the aforementioned Bankstone Limited Ltd. They’re really very good!

 

Time to up your LEI game?

11/08/2021

Just as the flogging of old rope is generally frowned on these days, sales of the vast majority of legal expenses insurance (LEI) policies currently on offer to unsuspecting members of the Great British public may soon be attracting similar opprobrium. 

Word has reached Bankstone News’ lovely lugholes of late that LEI could well be the next PPI. Now that the time limit on pursuing claims for miss-sold payment protection insurance policies has finally elapsed, legions of claims wranglers who might otherwise be standing idle could soon be going after purveyors of less-than-value-added LEI products – not least those products less than perfectly configured to perform strongly in a post-CLA universe.

In the context of the FCA’s ongoing war on add-ons, the kind of underwhelming LEI policies that brokers buy for pennies and flog on for pounds could soon find themselves spotlit in the most unflattering of lights. With the RTA-afflicted now effectively on their own in their injured hour of need, those without LEI may be sensing its want, while those with under-performing policies may be feeling aggrieved. 

So, if you feel you might be in any way associated with the purveyal of an LEI policy that is less than fully fit for purpose (FFP), now might be a good time to review your options. The FCA takes a dim view these days – not just of any perceived failure to treat customers fairly – but, in particular, of any down-letting of customers of the vulnerable variety. 

And, let’s face it, persons recently injured in a motor RTA might not unreasonably be deemed at least a tad vulnerable, simply by dint of that circumstance, on which basis, their brokers might want to reflect on their duty to minimise that vulnerability, rather than find themselves accused – perhaps not altogether unjustly – of having exacerbated it through their failure to provide appropriate LEI.

If you’re anything less than 110% confident of the quality of the LEI policies you’re selling, you really should get in touch with those extremely helpful and knowledgable people at Bankstone – and they’ll be able to sort you out with a FREE assessment and/or the chance to switch to something that’s  fully FFP.

Interesting times – 2020 in review

23/12/2020

What a year it’s been! Who could have guessed, as we staggered blearily into January 2020, that a nasty little virus possibly bred of bats by way of pangolins would turn our whole world upside down. 

City centres emptied. People wore masks. Entire aisles of tinned food and loo roll mysteriously vanished from our supermarket shelves. Working from home was the interim normal. We all forgot what cash had been. Planes vanished from our skies. Tachometers had little to do. Birds sang. People clapped, sang, and banged tin cans. Deer, boar and goats roamed our roads at random. Stuff like that, basically.

Meanwhile, the world of insurance braced, like everyone else, for the impact of inexactly defined Brexit opportunities. There was much talk of blue passports and green cards. There was a deal of fuss over whether businesses should be compensated by their insurers for having been interrupted by the pandemic – as all too many of them this year most certainly were.

The chronic uncertainty that’s so much a feature of twenty-first-century life was massively amplified on multiple fronts by BrexCovid Syndrome, while Donald J. Trump’s de facto abolition of the broad grouping of conventions, norms and expectations previously united under the banner of reality, somehow seeped over here, and one person’s truth became ever less distinguishable from another person’s fiction.

Humans joined soups, shoddy paint jobs, and sunburned skin in acquiring the ability to bubble (verb, intransitive). Furlough was another word that everyone starting using a lot. But furloughing wasn’t for everyone. Many, sadly, simply lost their jobs. Insurance people duly girded their loins against the inevitable tide of excess risk associated with such times: more theft, more fraud, more dubious claims – all trends that tend to fuel claims inflation, and with it the prospect of premium hikes – a not altogether unwelcome one, admittedly, for a motor insurance market in which rates have fallen markedly this year.

It’s been a year of expectations raised then dashed again, and again. Here at Bankstone News, if not yet fully stoical, we’re mostly resigned in a weary sort of way to keeping in check our natural exuberance and patiently holding out for better times to come. Which surely they will. On which happy note, may we simply say: have as Merry a Christmas as you possibly can, and the happiest New Year achievable under the circumstances. Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay home if you can.

Relief at last for all those plagued by pain-in-the-neck whiplash claimants

23/12/2020

One of the undoubted highlights of next year (2020) is certain to be the long awaited culmination of HMG’s plans to prove once and for all that there’s no such thing as whiplash by removing any possible financial incentive for private citizens and their aiders and abetters in the so-called legal community to carry on pretending that there is.

Five years after reforms were first proposed, and a year on from the original implementation date, the Civil Liability Act will finally (almost certainly) come into force in April 2020. Its effect will be to slash the cash that those claiming whiplash can claim by as much as 90%. 

Naturally, there will be whingers. Only the other day, for instance, the Motor Accident Solicitors Society described the sensibly derisory tariffs adopted in the legislation as ‘fundamentally flawed, arbitrary and wholly unjust, contrived without any objectivity, logic or scrutiny.’ But what would you expect a bunch of lawyers to say!

In reality, of course, the tariffs are positively generous. Even supposing whiplash were a real thing and not a sham put up by malingering freeloaders, there’s a general recognition in UK society today that far too much fuss gets made about pain. We Brits didn’t get to be the masters of the world we are today (or was it yesterday?) by moaning on about a bit of neck gip – far less expecting a handout on the back of it.

Shaving a tad off the compensation potentially on offer for injuries lasting up to three months to slim it down from £2,250 to an altogether more proportionate £225 tempers prudence with charitable leniency. Nudging the potential award for injuries lasting up to six months down by just 85% to a perfectly adequate £450 looks equally sound. Such adjustments are surely both timely and equitable.

The numbers of those trying it on with trumped up neck-ache bellyaching are already plummeting as cervical injury bleaters recognise the ultimate futility of their pretence. Implementing the CLA should finally put these Moaning Minnies out of business – along with what’s left of all those legions of shameless solicitors who’ve wilfully egged them along into claiming so-called compensation.

Whiplash: faking it is literally this easy following a motor accident

Next summer sees the welcome return of the UK’s premier insurkarting event

23/12/2020

There’s certainly been plenty to endure in 2020. But one notable absence on the endurance front, sadly, has been everyone’s favourite kart-related insurance networking event Insurance Endurance. 

But fear not! All being well on the Covid front – and how could it not be now that Boris Johnson is reported to be actively considering taking personal charge of the crisis – unless he steps down in January – which could also work – Insurance Endurance will be back on 17 June next year.

What an absolute unalloyed joy it will be when insurance men and women from across the land come together, masked or unmasked as the case may be, to pit their karting skills one against the other in a mercilessly interminable bout of screaming round the super-sinuous 1382m PFI kart-track in glamorous Grantham, Lincs in high-performance autokarts.

But you’d better hurry if you want to be sure of securing your participation in this exclusively luxury prestige event. Places are strictly limited and they’re sure to be selling like the proverbial hot cakes or the non-proverbial bacon rolls with lashings of ketchup and/or brown sauce, which most people frankly prefer.

Entry is open to any organisation or individual from across the insurance industry (or related ancillary sector) who fancies a bit of premium networking and/or the chance to submit their driving skills to the ultimate challenge that is the Public Finance Initiative kart track with it’s hair-raising bends (no fewer than 10 of them, all told) and remorselessly undeviating straights.

Click here to reserve your team places before that opportunity alludes you.

Do not obstruct the Porthole, please

08/01/2020

There’s a common misapprehension among the twittering classes that ordinary working folk are as obsessed as they are with something called ‘access to justice.’ Sorry if this comes as a shock to bleeding-heart metropolitan liberals, but accessing justice is just about the last thing on the minds of decent ordinary Brits.

How dispiriting then to hear Daryl Gordon, self-styled president of Ambulance Pursuit Iniquity Lawyers (APIL) moaning on about how activation of the so-called Porthole (a key part of HMG’s War on Whiplash) should be delayed – because ‘it raises real issues in terms of access to justice.’

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, the ‘Porthole’ is a special kind of digital thingamajig into which people can put whiplash claims and, if they’re lucky, get some money out the other end. 

Time and again the British people have made it clear that it’s cheap car insurance they’re interested in – not this nebulous ‘access to justice’ that self-serving lawyers are so worked up about. But greedy legal types like Gordon just aren’t getting the message.

“If the reforms are going ahead,” he says (note that treacherous kicking-and-screaming ‘if’), “it has to be in a proper and considered manner’. Presumably the ‘proper and considered’ thing to do would be to stroke our chins indefinitely while every jumped-up nobody with a soft-tissue injury gets to fill their boots at the expense of decent ordinary motorists.

Taking system-playing lawyers out of the equation and forcing would-be whiplash weaponisers to post any claims they want to make though the Porthole will cut costs, deter casual chancers, and frighten off the faint-hearted.

Gordon questions patronisingly whether ‘lay people’ will be able to operate the Porthole’s ‘complex software’ and insists they’ll need advice. That’ll be advice his members would get paid to provide, presumably! If dozy punters don’t know how to work the Porthole – so much the better. That’s cheaper premiums for the rest of us!

So put a sock in it, you Whingeing Windbag! That’s what we say here at Bankstone News. No-one’s going to miss your unaffordable legal-advice-for-all socialist utopia. So sling your nasty hook and, frankly, do one Dearie! 

Black Box Friday

07/01/2020

Every Friday in the UK 90 people are killed or injured in road accidents taking place between 4pm and 6pm. That’s twice the paltry 45 people killed or injured between 4pm and 6pm on Mondays. Friday night drive time is the deadliest time of the week. And Friday mornings aren’t much better. The moral of the story maybe being: five-day weeks do not suit drivers.

But, wait, you’re probably thinking, did you just make up those stats? How dare you! Bankstone News is a bona fide upstanding news organ. Would we just make things up?! We know about the Friday evening peak death period because some highly reputable PR types have scooped up a slew of black box data accessible to some outfit called IBS Telematics Solutions and done some extrapolation. 

Plus they’ve nicked that figure about about 4-6 RTAs from the Department for Transportmentation. According to IBS’ BB data, the very most dangerous time is precisely 4pm on Fridays. So it’s those nipping off early you should shun above all others. Unless, of course, it’s not commuters after all but yummy mummies frazzled from a week of solo-childcare and/or a weekly lunch date with the girls.

Far be it from Bankstone News, however, to indulge any protracted bout of casual sexism. Ours simply to rework someone else’s press release, to stretch it out to three or four paragraphs and then to sign off with some apparently pithy but ultimately meaningless summation like: it only goes to show, really, doesn’t it!

You’re not from round here, are you

23/12/2019

It’s time we talked about the Equality Act.

Odds are you’ve never really given much thought to the (so-called) Equality Act. That’s probably because you’re a decent upstanding normal citizen who’s perfectly equal already. Never for one second would someone like you go begging to the Nanny State to make you any equaler.

Sadly, there are some still resident in this increasingly great country of ours who are hell bent on doing exactly that. A prime example of this phenomenon recently came to Bankstone News’ attention after lefty rag the Telegraph pointed out that ‘big brand’ motor insurers are charging people who were (ahem) ‘born abroad’ up to £850 more for their motor insurance.

Those of us not born yesterday know perfectly well that, nine times out of ten, ‘people born abroad’ is just a polite way of saying ‘foreigners’. And what exactly is wrong with making Johnny Foreigner pay a bit more for his motor insurance – especially if it keeps prices down for the rest of us?!

But, inevitably, trouble-making lawyers have wasted no time trying to make out that ‘PBA weighting’ is some kind of crime. John Halfords of Blindman’s Solicitors claims that slapping price-comparing overseasers with a modest premium uplift amounts to a breach of equality laws.

The aforementioned Equality Act supposedly makes it unlawful to ‘discriminate’ against someone – even a foreigner – because of their nationality or national origins, which are (get this!) ‘among the legally-defined protected characteristics of race.’

This is PC gone mad. This is Sheila’s Wheels all over again. If underwriters can’t discriminate – then what on earth’s the point of having them! Can it really be right, in this day and age, to hedge insurers in with soul-destroying thickets of unproductive, frankly antidemocratic, legal quibbling?

Sorry, but if PBAs don’t want to pay what they’re quoted, they can go drive somewhere else.

FCA declares war on loyal customer abuse

10/10/2019

Ripping off policyholders who neglect to change insurer every year is a bit like smoking crack cocaine. That’s the view of Ian Huge, CEO of data analytics company Consumer Intelligence. And you’d assume he knows what he’s talking about.

The problem with crack cocaine, it seems, is that, once you’ve developed a taste for the crystalline off-white powder, it’s hard to kick the habit. Huge reckons quoting low to switchers while fleecing loyal customers has a lot in common with use of the infamous rock candy.

Or maybe so-called ‘dual pricing’ is more like taking performance-enhancing drugs. Athletes know they shouldn’t really dabble, but they look around, see everyone else doing it, and conclude – not unreasonably – that they’ll never compete and win if they’re the first to go clean.

It’s been going on for years, of course. Price comparison sites like Compario the Monkey Super Meerkat have been urging punters to shop around more or less since time began. But we can’t blame them entirely for our tendency to focus on price. That’s natural enough in a world where money doesn’t grow on trees.

It has recently come to the notice of regulatory ‘body’ the FCA that the interests of motor and household policyholders are perhaps not being best served by the industry as it is currently constituted. Penalising loyalty, the FCA has now suspects, might be a bad thing.

Naturally enough, the regulator’s plans to grasp and neutralise the dual pricing nettle again tend to focus on price. Cold turkey type solutions like outlawing dual pricing altogether or banning automatic policy renewals have startled and alarmed insurance folk.

But if insurance providers now urge caution on the regulator’s part, it’s not just because they’re pathetic sweaty addicts, quaking at the proposed denial of their latest fix. It’s partly, at least, because they’re starry-eyed idealists dreaming of a world where insurance isn’t all about price.

An unnamed broker, quoted in industry journal Insurance Rage this week, warned against anything that might ‘encourage people to shop around based only on price without taking account of value and service’. Presumably the fear is that the FCA’s well-meaning attempts to stop less fickle policyholders paying more might simply exacerbate our obsessive preoccupation with paying as little as possible.

‘Just moving for the sake of saving a few pounds without looking at the other elements of the offer,’ the anonymous broker warned starkly, ‘may be counterproductive.’ And, let’s face it, counterproduction is the last thing the insurance sector needs right now.

Insurers too are gravely concerned that the denial of their drug of choice might have unintended consequences. Banning automatic renewal might prompt customers to save themselves from loyalty abuse, but according to one insurer spokesperson, it could also result in the loss the ‘vital and often legal protection’ their policies provide, should they fail to replace lapsing cover.

Similarly, taking action against dual pricing could accidentally ‘stifle competition and innovation’ which would surely be akin to jettisoning a particularly precious baby along with some not especially dirty, and actually still quite warm, bathwater. Also, another insurer has queried, what chance would there be for new entrants in a market where they couldn’t dangle cut-price premiums in front of future fleecees.

It’s a fair point, Bankstone News feels sure you’ll agree, and one the regulator will hopefully bear in mind when it decides it’s all too complicated and leaves a grateful industry in peace.

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