How are the mighty’s elevated statuses under review!

July 24, 2018

Let’s face it, the world is full of manipulative greedy and arrogant men who tell lies to enrich themselves. Normally, this doesn’t seem to be a problem. Greedy manipulative and arrogant men can typically operate with complete impunity.

But, every once in a while, some busybody comes along and makes a great big unnecessary fuss. Such was the unfortunate experience of recently comeuppanced former DAS UK top dog Paul Aspirin.

As regular readers will readily recall, Aspirin was the arrogant, greedy and manipulative man who conspired to defraud his German employers of vast sums of money by bunging work the way of a business in which he and his wife (latterly ex-wife) were secretly shareholders.

Earlier this month, Judge Marty Pellow (sitting in Southwark) sentenced Aspirin to seven years detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure and disqualified him from serving as a company director for 12 whole years, describing him as “a manipulative, arrogant and greedy man”.

Now, you might think being disqualified as a director for twelve years is a pretty harsh punishment. You might also think a seven-year HMP stint sounds a trifle inconvenient. You might even think the prospect of a ‘confiscation and compensation hearing’ later this year that could leave a person penniless would be a bit of a bummer.

But a sanction worse, far, far worse, than any of these potentially awaits the unfortunate (if manipulative, greedy and arrogant) Aspirin.

Not content with locking him away for a couple of years, denying him the right to helm a limited liability company, and stripping him bare of everything he owns, the world has one far crueller blow still in store for poor Paul Aspirin.

To wit: the loss of his prized and privileged status as member of the Chartered Insurance Institute (102).

That’s right, leading insurance industry news organ Insurance Ache this week revealed that word of Mr Aspirin’s antics has reached the collective ears of the CII hierarchy and made therein a less than entirely favourable impression.

Now the institute plans to open a formal process to review whether or not Aspirin’s shenanigans are in line with the CII’s discipline guidelines, which stipulate that members should “observe the principles of best practice”.

Should it be found that defrauding one’s employers whilst referring to them as “idiots” conflicts with the aforementioned Ps of Best P, it is not inconceivable that the institute might move to strip Mr Aspirin of his privileges as a member of the CII (e.g use of library, discounts on CII qualifications, savings on Thomas Cook package holidays etc.)

The CII was quick to stress that no sanctions would be applied until a thorough investigation has been carried out – and that Mr Aspirin would “have the opportunity to offer evidence or mitigation before a decision was reached” (although, of course, his imprisonment could yet limit his availability for appearing at any tribunals convened).

Let’s hope it never comes to that. Surely the CII could see its way clear to giving the poor man a break. Surely he’s suffered enough without having this final indignity inflicted upon him. After all, manipulative greedy and arrogant though he may be, his only real crime was getting caught. There but for the grace, etc…

We’ll never get anything done at this rate

July 24, 2018

“Promised you a miracle, belief is a beauty thing, promises promises, dooby dooby, blah blah blah.” So sang ‘galloping’ Jim Kerr on Sample Mounds’ 1982 hit Promised You A Miracle.

How apt those prescient words sound now as we contemplate the prospect of a government crushed into inactivity beneath the impossibly onerous task of delivering on the promises of Brexit.

It is perfectly understandable, under such circumstances, that AOB should have been sidelined, shelved or otherwise set aside until such time as someone comes up with an idea still more brilliant and likely to actually go somewhere than Mrs May’s acclaimed (if inevitably doomed) ’Check Us!’ deal, behind which fully 20% of the population has already come enthusiastically together.

By the time the country’s leaders get back from Tuscany or wherever they’re all heading for the summer now, something (a DExEU machina of some kind) may very well have turned up. A thus-far-resolutely-recalcitrant reality may perhaps have had a change of heart and reconfigured itself to vouchsafe us the pain-free Utopia +++ deal we’ve all set our hearts on.

If not, HMG will just have to spin it all out as long as possible until that dismal too-late klaxon sounds and it’s all over bar the blaming.

In the meantime, who could reasonably expect those in government to focus on everyday tasks like running the country – or, for example, enacting the urgently required personal injury claims crackdown for which insurers have been agitating all these years.

Kicking things down the road has become a habit for a government sadly in want of providential eventualities, the latest instance being the Justice Select Committee’s decision to push back the implementation of further PI reforms until 2020.

How telling that – rather than insist we should just get on with it, as any true patriot would surely require – some traitors have actively welcomed the delay. One such unwelcome voice was that of a pressure group called Axes to Justice (A2J), whose ringleader Andrew Trembly said his co-conspirators actually “welcomed the delay”!

Such unreconstructed Mañana-ism is sadly typical of a country whose natives an acclaimed 2012 report entitled Brittania Unchained (co-authored by the likes of Dominic Raab, Pretty Patel and Mad Lizzy Truss) justly accused of being “among the worst idlers in the world”.

“We welcome the government’s decision to delay implementation of the reforms until 2020 (five years after they were first announced)” weaselled the unspeakable Trembly, “to ensure that the proposed online solution for claimants is fit for purpose.”

What utter procrastinatory piffle! We’re never going to find out whether it’s fit for purpose if we don’t give it a try! It’s like Universal Credit: doomsayers were quick to predict all kinds of problems with that. But now (admittedly after one or two minor bumps in the road) it’s all on the verge of bedding down nicely.

“Injured people cannot be looked after on an ‘it’ll be alright on the night basis,” A J Trembly claims. Oh, yes, they can (although, sadly, without the now retired Denis Norden, whose laboured gloss is the nation’s loss)!

Further delays serve no purpose. We should implement now. Ask questions later. Maybe after Brexit, when we won’t have garlic-breathed foreigners peering nosily over our shoulders.

If it turns out the reforms are not working properly we can always just crank things up a bit until the spigot of personal injury opportunism is turned fully counter clockwise.

Man v Machine: Butch takes on a BMW i8

July 19, 2018

Niiiiiiauowwwwwww!

Niiiiiiauowwwwwww!

Niiiiiiauowwwwwww!

I’m standing behind a safety barrier, puffing on a fag, alongside a bendy stretch of sun-baked tyre-fringed tarmac.

There’s a well-fed bloke in overalls bobbing up and down beside me, yelling over the din of a couple of dozen speeding go-karts, as we used to call them back in the day.

“What?!!” I yell back.

He’s off again with his jabbering. I still can’t make much sense of it, but he appears to be talking about something he’s eaten.

I blow smoke, curl my lip, and raise my palms, denoting helpless incomprehension.

He tries yet again, spittle-spattering me as he does so.

This is going to sound odd, but I think he’s claiming to have eaten a BMW.

I know for a fact this bloke has an appetite. But eating a car? I can’t see that, in fairness.

He tugs at my elbow, indicating we should give the kart race some space and find somewhere quieter to talk. With a sinking heart I nod assent and follow him off towards the catering facilities. It always seems to end up there with him.

Who exactly is this bloke, you’re probably wondering by now. And who perchance might I be, for that matter.

The bobbing yelling bloke is Dickon Tysoe, who, when not racing karts, works for leading professional outsourced claims handling outfit Bankstone. The ruggedly saturnine individual shambling reluctantly in his wake, Lidl carrier bag in hand, towards the butty buffet (i.e. me) is none other than Bankstone News’ erstwhile motoring correspondent, Marty Butch.

Yes, that’s right, the very same Marty Butch once supposed incinerated in a failed attempt to build the battery-powered OAP-transport-solution of the future.

Long story short: reports of my demise were just a tad exaggerated. Which happened to suit my purposes at the time – for personal reasons into which we need not delve. Let’s just say, I’ve been away.

We’re far enough from the screaming karts now that I can hear what Tysoe’s gibbering on about. Or at least I can in between him taking giant slathering bites out of his bacon butty and hurriedly catching his breath now and then.

It turns out he hasn’t eaten a BMW. He’s got hold of the key to a BMW i8 that belongs to some associate of his from Bath. The car’s parked ‘just over there’ next to Tysoe’s own trusty lime green Bongo Friendy. And here’s the key!

The thing which he claims is a key looks more like some kind of old-skool Star Trek personal communicator or phaser or whatever. But, sure enough, Tysoe leads me out back to the car park, wiping excess ketchup on his overalls as he goes, re-directs my attention from some bird in clingy lycra to the sleek and gleaming i8, presses a button on the Star Trek thing and gull-wing doors swing up.

Inviting me to clamber in behind the wheel. Tysoe gets down on his ketchupy knees beside me, tucked in under the gull wings (or butterfly wings, as he insists they should be called) and starts briefing me on this, my latest and most challenging ever assignment as Bankstone News’ motoring correspondent.

Apparently, this thing’s worth somewhere north of £100k, so it’s really important I take care of it for once – especially as Tysoe hasn’t exactly levelled with its owner about the fact we’re borrowing it for a test drive.

It certainly looks the part. From a distance the i8 looks every inch the supercar – aside from some rather modest tyre widths and some less-than-classic blue detailing. But when we fire the engine up, it makes less of a feral growl, more of a Twingo-cum-milk-floaty type effect.

There’s an electric motor up front, Tysoe explains, and a proper (if rather tiny) engine somewhere ‘amidships’. But I don’t need to worry about any of this, he tells me firmly. It’s got an automatic gearbox, and all I need to do is accelerate (gently), brake (gently) and steer (carefully).

“Can it go with the doors up?” I wonder aloud, dabbing gently at the accelerator just to see. The i8 lurches forward a foot or two, sending Tysoe sprawling over on his side.

“Stop fussing around!” he admonishes, righting himself. OK, maybe he didn’t actually say fussing, but you get the gist, and this is, after all, a family news eZine.

“It doesn’t sound much like a supercar,” I observe, dourly.

“You wait, he chuckles. “It does from the inside, once you get going.”

I’ve no idea what he’s talking about, but I’ve had enough of hanging around. So I take my foot off the brake pedal, reapply it to the gas, and trundle briskly off towards the exit. Tysoe’s jogging along beside me, just succeeding in wrestling down the driver’s-side door before toppling over as I pick up speed.

I’ve no idea where I’m going, but, seeing as I picked up a couple of minor knocks off parked cars on my way, out I reckon the local Halfords for some spray paint might be my best bet. Don’t want to be going back with i8 looking too ‘run in’.

I reach over to the passenger seat to fish another John Smith’s out of my bag, flick up the tab with the grubby nail of my left middle finger, and take a good long swig. Only problem: the cupholder’s too small to hold the can. Bl**dy ridiculous! Do Germans only drink 18.7cl bottles of Liebfraumilch or something? I neck it and chuck the can down in the footwell.

It’s a long straight road out of the kart place, with hedges, trees and fields to either side. Which should have made it easy keeping the thing on the road if I hadn’t been a tad distracted by lighting a fag whilst thumb-typing Halfogdss into Vicinity on my phone. Before I know it, I’m across a grass verge and half way into some kind of ditch-hedge combo.

With a bit of wheel-spinning, engine racing, belly-scraping, back-and-forthing, I manage to reverse her back onto the road – but I don’t entirely like the sounds I’m hearing from the engine (half retching and sputtering, half buzzing and whirring), so I pull her back on to the grass verge and nip round the back to have a look.

When I finally get the boot lid up (no amount of tugging and thumping and levering would budge it – turns out you need the key thingy) there’s no sign of the promised engine, just a funny little carpeted cubby hole that’s stuffed full – for some reason – of ‘residents parking only’ signs. I can see now why the owner’s keeping his crutches and his squash gear on the dwarf-size back seats (though how you play squash on crutches, I’m damned if I know).

Behind the cubby hole there’s a boxed-in bit where I’m guessing the engine must be. A faint burning-oil smell seems to confirm my suspicion. By the time I’ve lifted one panel off and removed half the screws securing another behind I’m thoroughly bored. So I stub my fag out on the carpetty-stuff and head back up front to slide in behind the wheel.

Having lit up another fag, adjusted the spelling of my Vicinity search, and got some directions for Halfords, I can now give steering my full attention. I burn off smartly on up Snagglethorpe Lane, testing the brakes a couple of times as I go, and laying down some tasty smears of rubber in the process.

I reach a crossroads, point her left, as instructed, and nip out just in front of some terrified looking old biddy puttering along in a Micra. Tysoe’s right about the engine sounding better from the inside, especially when you give it some welly. But I can’t see why you’d want a motor that sounds good on the inside. Surely it’s passers-by (especially lady passers-by) you want to impress with the roar of your motor? Even from the inside, the effect is somewhat offset by a residual milk-float vibe. That’s and the sound of all those screws rolling around in the back and the sloshing dregs of my John Smith’s rolling round in the footwell.

I light up another fag and decide to put some tunes on the radio. I nearly leave the road again trying to work out what all these buttons with unhelpful names like MEDIA, MENU and NAV mean. After a bit, I abandon arsing about with knobs and buttons and settle for a spot of Spandau on what I think the jingle’s telling me is The Alan Bottom Show on Gravelly FM.

I light up another fag. It’s getting a bit foggy in here now, so I jab at some more buttons and finally get the front windows down. Up to a point… They seem to have got stuck 4/5ths of the way.

I bash at the annoyingly protruding glass with my elbow a couple of times whilst repeatedly pressing the down button as hard as I can. Nothing. Casting about for something heavy with which to give the recalcitrant glass some further encouragement, I locate a leather ring-binder thing with a lot of guff about BMW i8s in it. I’ve barely begun whacking away with this, when the bindings snap open and several hundred newly loose-leaf pages of Bavarian-English incomprehensibility flutter off crazily across the Lincolnshire landscape.

Irritably, I toss the binder after them. No gangster leaning for me today.

I light up another fag and decide to have a proper go at putting this so-called hybrid supercar through its paces. I jab at a few buttons on the dash, more or less at random.

SYNC? No idea. Let’s have a bit of that though. I’m all about the syncing, me. I try a button marked eDRIVE, wondering warily whether this might have the same electrifying effect as the one I rigged up for Tysoe’s VW Up all those years ago. Thankfully not, it just produces a vague sinking feeling. So I jab if off again.

I adjust a rocker between COMFORT and ECO PRO all the way over to COMFORT. I can’t abide anything with eco in it. There’s a button with a camera icon on it – which I won’t be going anywhere near. I’ve learned my lesson when it comes to doing stuff on camera. There’s another one depicting a giant letter P blowing wind into the sails of a small yacht. I press it, just to see, but nothing appears to change. I shrug and light another fag.

What about this gearstick thingy. I give it a tentative wiggle and all I get is jerkiness, resistance and some grating sounds. Side to side wiggling seems equally pointless. Although.. wait, what the hell’s going on?! The dashboard display has suddenly turned red! This is clearly not a good sign. And the engine’s doing something very odd.

Frantically, I press the COMFORT option multiple times. The dials are still bright red. The car seems to be picking up speed entirely of its own volition. I try START/STOP, but that seems to be disabled. Genuinely panicking now, I’m thumping away at any button I can find. Suddenly the doors swing up and hot bucolic summer air buffets me from both sides, tearing the fag clean out of my slack-jawed mouth.

There’s straw or dried grass or something blowing in too now, and – with barely a second to spare – I look up to see that there’s a slow-moving farm vehicle and trailer ahead of me (the source, clearly of the aforementioned of dried-grassy stuff).

I whip the wheel over to the right to get past this sluggardly chaff-mobile.

Then — horror — I clock that there’s a tractor oncoming in the lane I’m mostly in now. There’s nothing else for it – I slam down the accelerator and go for the gap.

Both agri-vehicles veer verge-ward. I breath in, and just about make it through. Laughing manically, I tear on up the road, every sense abuzz with adrenaline in overdrive and the sobbing relief that always comes with cheating my latest brush with grisly and untimely death.

The loss of the doors (gull-wing, butterfly-wing, buffalo-wing… whatever they were) barely seems to matter. I’m alive, goddammit. I’m alive!

I very nearly forfeit that distinction a few yards further up the road though, when I misjudge my speed going into a sharp corner and end up ploughing through a five-bar gate, bouncing and sliding across twenty yards of pasture land – and very nearly into a crowd of prancing bullocks (prancing, you understand, in alarm at the suddenness and unconventionality of my arrival).

I consider trying to get what’s left of the i8 back on the road, but one of the rear wheels is bent right underneath the badly dented chassis and there’s smoke coming out of the buckled rear end in significant quantities now.

Lighting up another fag and cracking open another John Smith’s, I plonk myself down on one of the less mashed up bits of the bonnet and start dialling Tysoe’s number to give him the good news of my miraculous survival.

One or two of the (now regrouped) bullocks are giving me a distinctly funny look. One’s even pawing the ground with his hoof.

“Hello?” comes Tysoe’s voice (karts buzzing in the background still).

“WTF do you want?” I demand aggressively.

“You called me,” says Tysoe sounding a little hurt and confused.

“No, not you,” I tell him. “I was talking to a bullock”.

Before

Self-driving or self driving?

June 18, 2018

Careless talk costs lives. That was the stark warning this week as insurers sought to button down loose language around cars which – to a greater or lesser extent – can do things all by themselves.

Insurers are notoriously fussy about words. So much so that many of them employ painstakingly punctilious specialists who live and breath the arcane art of ‘wording’.

Their output (known as ‘wordings’) forms the basis of all those crucial bits of insurance policies that no-one bothers reading.

What these ‘worders’ don’t know about words – and the peculiar and unfamiliar meanings they tend to take on in the mysterious world of insurance – is, frankly, not worth knowing.

When insurance worders look at ordinary people trying to use words, they’re apt to tut and frown and shake their heads despairingly. Marketing people are the worst. Those maniacs twist and turn words as if meaning meant nothing and selling, conversely, meant everything.

What’s bugging wordingistas mostly at the moment is the crazily inappropriate language being bandied about by the makers of more or less self-steering vehicles.

Auto-pilot. Auto-mated. Auto-nomous. These are the kinds of phrases currently in use by the likes of BMW, Nissen and Twizla to describe their so-called semi-self-driving vehicle offerings.

But insurer ‘body’ the ABI has had enough. If you tell someone, they argue, that their car is going to drive itself and then it doesn’t at some point (and they’re not driving it either), that’s a sure-fire recipe for RTA.

Thatcham Research – the people who throw cars around and smash them up to see what happens – reckon car makers need to stop sticking misleading labels like ‘Autopilot’ or ‘ProPilot’ or ‘Relax, I got this!’ on their semi-automated motors.

No good can ever come of introducing things when people aren’t ready for them – and, for precisely that reason, Thatcham say they’re concerned about motorists being offered tech they don’t know what to make of.

Ambiguous automotive nomenclature quite literally opens the door to a perilous grey area in which drivers may think its OK to be polishing their nails – or trouser-tucking the tip of their Trump-length ties – when in fact they’re supposed to be steering.

We need to be perfectly clear about this, says Thatcham’s Matt Aviary: assisted means you’re driving, automated means your not. There’s no excuse, he says, for confusing terminology like Twizla’s Autopilot, which not only isn’t all that ‘auto’ – it also only works in cars, not aeroplanes.

So next time you’re purchasing a car which you suspect may be planning to play some role in determining the speed and direction of your vehicle, be sure to ask the salesman exactly how the thing works and – in particular – when it may or may not be OK to start doing the crossword or, by way of secondary exemplage, fishing unwanted greenery from that manky-looking club sandwich over on the passenger seat.

 

No place for young liars to hide

June 18, 2018

Young people today are lovely, aren’t they. Caring, sharing, open, honest, so in touch with their emotions. Butter would be fully safe from meltage in their mouths, wouldn’t it. Well, actually, No. No it freaking wouldn’t! That butter would be toast!

Fresh analysis from risk solutions specialists LexusNexus Risk Solutions has found that 17-20 year olds are a bunch of no-good, cheating, manipulative b*st*rds.

‘Is their commitment to straightforward-and-above-boardness slightly inferior to that of other age groups?’ you may be wondering. No. No it is not.

Young drivers are nearly TWICE (that’s TWO times) as likely as any other age group to play fast and loose with the factual veracité when it comes to filling out their details on a motor insurance application form.

Their favourite trick (and those poor fools don’t think we can see what they’re up to!) is switching their position on a quote form back and forth from main driver to named driver to see which one would cost them less.

Little do they realise, that simple act of online fraud could see them put behind bars for up to 100,000 years and get their precious motors seized and flogged off to help fund the recently announced Brexit Bonus NHS Bonanza.

LexusNexus has snooped on quote info passed around by more than 80% of the UK motor market to see how applicants massage the facts in a pathetic attempt to shave a few pennies off their motor insurance premiums.

Now LexusNexus is offering insurance providers some kind of fancy widget that will enable them to come down hard on would-be fronters (the technical term for those who pretend to be named rather than main drivers and/or those who collude in their doing so) and so-called ghost brokers who add named drivers on to policies without the knowledge or permission of the main drivers who’ve taken them out.

By having a good rummage through applicants’ details, and checking, for example, whether main and named drivers have the same surname, LexusNexus can warn insurance providers of potentially fraudulent applicants – and thus ensure young people pay full whack for their insurance – or pay the price for perfidy with a lengthy prison stay.

Bankstone News goes GDPR

June 17, 2018

If there’s one thing Bankstone News takes seriously (which surely can’t be too extravagant an exaggeration), that thing, Dear Reader, is your right to privacy.

That’s why we were so delighted when those unelected meddling bureau-numpties in Brussels insisted the UK enact legislation that fully reflects Bankstone News’ own long-established absolute commitment to keeping your private information exactly that (i.e. private, see above).

The EU’s General Data Prevention Regulation (GPRD) – now enshrined in UK law via the Date Protection Act 2018 – means that persons wishing to bother people with tedious self-promotional emails can no longer use those handy lists of insurance types that that organisers of the BIBA conference used to overshare each year.

From now on, anyone you’re intending to e-bother must have given their express permission for you to do so. And, even if you’re not bothering them right now, you’re not allowed to keep their details on file on the off-chance you might want to bother them later.

Aside from giving rise to a pestilent mailstorm of increasingly desperate opt-in requests in the run up to the DPA’s 23 May launch date (we spared you one of those – for reasons that will soon become apparent), the GRDP has proved unpopular because, no sooner had business people learned that data is power and big date is big power, than some garlic-breathed busybody was telling them they weren’t allowed to have any. Not unless they were Faceboot, Googol, Wikileeks or Cambridge Analerotica or somebody.

Happily, Bankstone News has never had much time for data. The less we know about anyone – or anything for that matter – the happier we are.

Now, obviously, we need to know your email. Otherwise we couldn’t fulfil our primary mission of sending you (from time to time) the invaluable source of irrefutable knowledge, wit and wisdom on all things motor-insurance-related that is Bankstone Newt. But that’s about as far as our interest in your private information goes.

We don’t care when your insurance renews, where you live, what you earn, what car you drive, why you are never again allowed within 10 miles of Oldham, or even when your birthday is (although we’ll listen politely if you feel the need to tell us – and then immediately delete any record thereof in case you’re expecting a present or something).

No, your email is all we care about. And even then, we only want your email if it’s going to be a beautiful consensual thing and you actively want us to know your email.

That’s why we’ve swept the Bankstone News mailing list squeaky shining clean of all email addresses whose owners haven’t knowingly signed up to read this nonsense (or at least receive it in their inboxes).

In the process, we identified and expunged hundreds, if not thousands, of addresses on our system that belonged to temporary, fictitious or abandoned accounts, to people who had never once clicked on one of our stories (they’ll never know what they were missing now!) and people who, frankly, we don’t even like or who otherwise don’t deserve to have our precious info-pearls cast before them.

So there you have it: new improved GPRD-compliant Bankstone News. We trust you’ll approve of our exemplary commitment to keeping private things private and not so much as dabbling in data abuse.

If, however, you’re still not feeling sufficiently ‘private’ and/or you’ve become bitter and jaded and no longer wish to know the truth about all things motor-insurance-related, simply click the unsubscribe thingy and you’ll never hear from us again.

Not only that, but we guarantee we’ll erase every trace of your ever having existed.

Now, you can’t say fairer than that, can you!

Coach-load of conmen caught out

April 13, 2018

It’s long been proverbial wisdom on the correct side of the Pennines that you should ‘Never trust a Wigan Man, He’ll lie and cheat you if he can.’ And it’s not just Yorkshire folk who look at Wiganers with a wary eye.

Persistent allegations of endemic mendacity have dogged the town since long before notorious fibbers like George ‘Misleading Lyrics’ Formby, James ‘Hotline to Heaven’ Anderton, and Dave ‘Lying B*stard’ Doggleby brought the place into contemporary disrepute.

Dispelling that unwelcome reputation won’t be any easier after a coach load of Wigan lads on a stag outing filed almost 20 risibly fraudulent whiplash claims following a day out at Chester races.

The growing cost of attending stag events (even when they don’t involve occupying an entire floor of a Latvian super-brothel for four or five days straight) has been a worry for many sociably inclined young Brits for a number of years.

It’s only natural, then, that where an opportunity arises to offset those costs (via the simple expedient of helping oneself to several generous handfuls from the vast cash-piles with which insurers’ coffers overflow), staggers are apt to latch on to it with nothing short of febrile avidity.

Coach-party whiplash claims are increasingly a thing these days – with even randomly assembled bus passengers sometimes now getting in on the act. But in this case, clear collusion between 17 passengers resulted in an attempted fraud so spectacularly hamfisted that, for insurers L=Ve, heading it off was as easy as taking candy back from a baby.

As soon as a claim involving multiple Wiganites came in, alarm bells must have been ringing at LxV HQ. The story was that the jarring impact of a low-speed side-on collision with a tiny little car had caused extreme cervical trauma to multiple occupants of the luxury stag coach on the way over to Chester races, where only the consumption of almost superhuman quantities of alcohol enabled the assembled Young Wiganians to soldier on through a day of pain and then through further carousing back in Wigan.

Over the following days, the various stag persons arrived in dribs and drabs at their local GP’s surgeries complaining of a wide array of supposedly neck-injury related complaints, remembering in many cases to evince symptoms of pain and restricted movement only when attending a subsequent appointment with a physiotherapist.

Their stories varied and shifted repeatedly. Upon it being pointed out, for instance, that a glancing impact with a tiny little car will rarely induce cervical devastation, several claimants quickly said it must have been the driver slamming on the brakes, an aspect of the incident not previously remarked upon. But the claimants’ trump card appeared to be a profusion of supporting statements from friends and families (again, remember, these are Wigan people we’re talking about, into whose mouths an untruth comes as easily as a wad of sputum into that of a trundling ‘Lactics’ midfielder).

Tragically, this lavishly compiled supporting material backfired badly when various since-separated former partners revealed at trial that their testimony was but a tissue of contrivance. Faced with this and multiple other compelling proofs of ill-concealed fakery, Judge Greg, presiding, had no hesitation in finding all 17 to be fundamentally dishonest (we could have told him that), thereby saving L:V around £400,000, and thus helping reduce premiums for decent ordinary etc…

“Fraud doesn’t pay,” commented L%V claims director Millicent Martin, adding wryly that “these conmen should have waited til they got to the racecourse before they tried to gamble on a long shot!”

If that doesn’t raise a titter, there are surely no more titters to be raised!

Ford Fiasco

April 13, 2018

No one could ever accuse Bankstone News of being the kind of online news organ that’s prone to undergarment-torsion. In fact we’re usually more laid-back than a dreadlocked central-casting Caribbean islander.

Hakuna Matata, as they say down on the Swahili coast (or in that film with the warthog, the weasel-thing and the gone-bad flea-bitten lion): that’s our motto most days. And normally we’d be the first to counsel horizontally-inclined equanimity to anyone who’ll listen.

But sometimes even we’d admit that the only rational response to a certain situation in life is to panic, to panic hard, and to keep on panicking until something quite radically changes.

Just such as situation, as it turns out, would obtain if you were to find yourself in Halifax in a Ford Fiesta. Why, what’s so terrible about being in Halifax in a Ford Fiesta?, you’re probably wondering.

What’s terrible is that if you were in Halifax in a Ford Fiesta you would be dicing, quite literally, with the imminent risk of encountering a motor accident scenario.

According to important new research conducted by or on behalf of law firm Your Legal Fiend, Ford Fiestas are not only the cars most likely to fall victim to a motor accident, they are also the cars most likely to cause one.

Which is to say: more likely than Ford Focuses, Ford Kaaas, or Ford anything elses. More likely, even, than the notorious Mercedes Benz ‘Sprinter’ Van. Which is saying something. In fact, Your Lethal Friend claims that almost one in five UK motor accidents involves a Ford Fiesta.

And where are you most likely to have an accident? That’s right: in Halifax, closely followed by Liverpewel, Coventry and St Albarns.

So if you are in Halifax, or one of those other places, in a Ford Fiesta, we’d strongly suggest you pull over immediately and jump out – although, before you bail, please do check your wing mirror for buses, lorries, or Mercedes Benz Sprinters fast approaching from behind.

On the other hand, Your Legal Fiend also reckon that drivers in their 30s are most likely to have motor accidents (with 30 the peak age for causing them and 32 for falling victim to them). Which makes you wonder why it’s teens and early twenties types who pay the highest premiums.

So maybe My Learned Friend is talking b*llocks. In which case, you can once again chill, relax, and generally luxuriate in the happy assurance that comes with knowing that every little thing is going to be alright.

Hakunis Mutandis, my Fiesta-driving Brothers and Sisters!

Dozy cops mess up at the pumps

April 11, 2018

Misfuelling. That’s a funny old word isn’t it!

Spelled variously with a double or a single l, it didn’t even exist until sometime in the late 1970s, when, due to the growing popularity of consumer diesels, the number of idiots doing it grew large enough to warrant a special name for this particular form of stupidity.

In the same way that saying ‘I misspoke’ is a nice way of admitting that you lied, misfuelling (MF’ing for short) is a euphemism for an enacted inability to distinguish between petrol and diesel.

Policemen are the worst (and lady police officers also, obviously). It was recently revealed that every day, somewhere in the UK, at least one police officer is cheerfully wrong-juicing a shiny white vehicle gaudily plastered with decals both yellow and blue.

“Dozy” is how notional newspaper the Daily Mirror characterises the rozzers’ careless carrying-on. Absolutely bleedin’ scandalous might be a better description, if you ask Bankstone News (although, for obvious reasons, we’d never recommend doing that).

Three hundred plus MF’ing police persons per annum equates to well over £50k of taxpayers’ hard-earned money down the plug hole. That’s cash that could have gone on chasing acid scooter thugs, attending minor domestic incidents, or filling out forms back at the station.

And, of course, those 300 MF mess-ups are only the ones they’re admitting to (and that only thanks to a Femdom Of Infotainment request lodged by King Edmund of Alcoholics Anonymous, to which 40 out of 45 UK police forces deigned to respond).

West Mids police were the most inept when it came to at-pump proficiency, with a staggering 66 incidents per annum. The Met, with just 49, incidents, somehow spent four times as much as the Midlanders on fixing the damage done. Perhaps they have fancier vehicles, or maybe someone down south has got a rather ‘special’ deal on sorting out the Met’s misfuelled motors.

Police spokespersons have argued that their colleagues are in an out of different vehicles all the time and often simply don’t have time to pay attention to their current vehicle’s petroleum product preference.

Jonno Cunnle of the Taxpayers’ Alliance gives short shrift to such excuses, insisting that “millions of people manage this task by taking a modicum of care. Police officers should extend the same courtesy to their vehicles.” That might sound clumsily pompous to you or I, but Jonno actually has a point: everyone – cops included – should show cars some common courtesy.

So serious is the Po-Po’s wrong-juicing epidemic that some forces have resorted to labelling or typex-ing fuel tank covers and stoppers with legends such as PETROL, DIESEL or WASHER FLUID GOES IN THE OTHER END.

Will this help? No idea. We don’t predict the news; we just report it.

Or make it up, if it’s been a quiet week.

Trust me, I’m an insurer!

March 18, 2018

Who said ‘My word is my bond’? No, it wasn’t Roger Moore. Well, alright, maybe he did call his autobiography that, but who else said it. Or, you know, whose catch-phrase is it?

That’s right (we know because we’ve just looked it up), it was London Stock Exchange. Except London Stock Exchange apparently said ‘Dictum me impactum’ because she’s probably really posh or something.

Basically, what it means is something like: if I tell you I’m going to do something, then you can be pretty darned sure I’ll do it, come hell, high water, or adverse environmental conditions of any other kind, for that matter.

Like London Stock Exchange, insurers have their own posh motto about how you can count on them to do what they say they’re going to do. Or at least the poshest ones who live in boxes in Lloyd of London’s do.

The insurance motto is ‘Uber immer fides’ which translates roughly as ‘Always super faithful’ and, as with that dictum thing above, this basically means you can count on us – our word is as good as a handshake which, in turn, is as good as a contract signed in blood and secured on our mothers’ lives.

The only problem is, not everyone’s convinced they really can count on their insurers. In fact, a lot of people are pretty sure they can’t.

Shocking new research unveiled by a shadowy body known only as The Syndicate (but allegedly something to do with another almost equally shadowy entity known as the ‘Protection’ Review) has found that insurers are the least trusted companies in Great UK today.

Bizarrely, people trust bankers, shops, airlines (even Ryanair), Google and websites like Go Compare the Supermeerkat more than they trust insurers.

Roughly 48% of those questioned by The Syndicate said they didn’t trust their insurers to pay a claim, while 53% said they’d rather keep their money under their mattresses than entrust it to an insurer on the off chance they might someday get some back.

The good news, is that The Syndicate is mostly only interested in life insurers and others firms involved in the so-called protection racket.

It’s entirely possible that if they’d asked people about their motor insurers, they would have got a very different response – one of total and implicit trust, in all likelihood.

But I’ll bet we had you worried for a moment there, didn’t we!

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