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The Bankstone News team keep a sideways-slanting eye on current developments in the world of motor insurance. Boldly grasping the wrong end of any news stick going, Bankstone News keeps its loyal readers comprehensively misinformed and (just occasionally) mildly amused.

Bankstone News

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America learns what happens when Brit Docs go bad

October 11, 2019

Not all doctors are psychopaths, insists Bankstone News’s favourite song ‘n’ dance physician Dr Harry Prunes. This assertion, quoted in publicity materials for the maiden transatlantic outing for his acclaimed stage show Dial Medicine for Murder, might sound oddly defensive. But anyone who’s seem DM4M, will readily understand how audiences might leave with that suspicion.

Performed as a double-act docu-drama with Harry’s former med-school mucker Dr Andrew Johns, Dial Medicine for Murder tells the grimly fascinating parallel stories of Drs Harold Shipman and John Bodkin-Adams, collectively suspected of having murdered at least 600 people. It highlights striking similarities in Shipman and Adams’ approaches and psychopathologies.

This unusual entertainment has been metaphorically setting stages alight up and down the UK ever since it proved a sensation a few years back on Edinburgh’s famous Fridge festival. But this year saw Prunes and Johns’ big chance to ‘break the States’. It all came about when a hot-shot US theatrical ontropronoor caught the pair live on stage at London’s Greenwood Theatre and invited them to take DM4M stateside.

The upshot was shows at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Charlotte NC, on 19 September and the not-too-far-off-Broadway Norwood Club, NYC on the 23rd. Not since the Beatless, it is almost certainly true enough to say, has a British act made such an impression east of the Atlantic. Flirting, as it so sensationally does, with the popular North American fantasy that most Brits are mannerly psychopaths, the show seems certain to return to ex-colonial shores before long.

In the meantime, Bankstone News readers can catch the acclaimed DM4M closer to home at the Hilton Hotel, Glasgow on 13 October, or London’s RAC Club on the 24th. Or at least you could if both shows weren’t already sold out. You see, tickets to see the intercontinental sensation that is Harrandrew are like gold dust these days. But, if you keep your eyes peeled on the DM4M website you might just get early wind of a forthcoming foray and somehow nip in ahead of the hordes.

Click on the pic to view tour trailer



Industry News

Latest Article


FCA declares war on loyal customer abuse

October 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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