April 4, 2014

Where did it all go so horribly wrong? Insurers and government used to get along just swingingly.

Indeed, it seems like only yesterday insurers went to government and said “If you can stop all these people claiming, we can slash this ‘sky-high cost of car insurance’ that everyone keeps complaining about.

“Sounds like a plan,” said government cheerfully, launching itself energetically into its clampdown on claim-making.

Time passed, but, oddly, car insurance still seemed kind of pricey. “About those cheaper premiums…?” Government kept asking. Insurance made vague noises about Rome not being built in a day, and things working through the system, but government couldn’t help feeling just a bit let down.

When government was looking for steady long-term investors to take up the shares in a Post Office priced to sell, insurers seemed to fit the bill. “Don’t make us look bad by selling up quickly,” joked government just a tiny bit nervously. “As if we would!” said insurers reassuringly.

Within days of the flotation, in-and-out insurers and the funds they manage were sitting on profits of approaching £1bn.

Now government really wasn’t happy. “We’ll show you!” it thought and came back with a budget that wiped billions off insurers’ value by casting off the yoke of annuity from the shoulders of the populace.

“Happy now?” enquired insurance bitterly. “A little happier,” said government offhandedly before wandering off to have a word with mad-dog regulator FCA.

That cheeky pup then let slip to the papers that it planned to “review 30 million life insurance policies sold between the 1970s and early 2000s.” Cue further wipeage of billions from insurers’ value.

“This really is too bad!”, said insurance in a proper strop now.

“Of course, you are quite right,” conceded government equably. “Naughty Wheatley! Bad Dog!”, said government theatrically, inwardly still chuckling at the well-deserved comeuppance of perfidious insurers.

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