Bankstone sponsor Insurance Endurance

January 8, 2019

Summer seems like a long time ago now, but back in June, we, alongside 16 other teams faced off in a 6-hour endurance karting race known as Insurance Endurance.

By channelling their inner Lewis Hamilton and enduring several hours of hard racing, the Bankstone team came out on top and were crowned winners of the 2018 event.

The race took place at Kart PFI Racetrack near Grantham, with the tack being the biggest outdoor karting circuit in the UK.

The event was another great success once again with the Bankstone battling it out alongside 2017 champions LAMP Champs throughout the day.

Whilst the afternoon provided an opportunity to display each company’s racing edge, it also played an important role in raising funds for The Insurance Charities.

This charity helps support insurance employees and their friends and family across the UK and Ireland.

We look forward to next year’s event where we hope to retain our crown as champions.

Check out some of our highlights from the day below.


End of the road for shopping around?

December 20, 2018

Unsure whether or not it should take a dim view of insurance providers charging loyal customers more than disloyal ones, regulator the Fanatical Crackdown Authority (FCA) decided to ask the audience.

Exploitation

An exhaustive survey of sentiment among purchasers of insurance products has now revealed that roughly half such persons consider the practice (jewel pricing, as it is known, for some obscure reason) ‘exploitative’.

Indeed, almost four out of five insurance buying persons (so not just the ones who think jewel pricing is exploitative) believe the practice should be outlawed.

But a ban might not please everyone. Slightly worryingly, 38% of survey respondents said they actually ‘enjoy’ shopping around for their insurance – while fewer than one in five said they couldn’t be arsed comparing prices.

Sneaking admiration

But it’s a devious and cynical world we live in these days, Readers. Around 40% of respondents said that, whilst it might be ‘sneaky’ ripping off loyal customers, they view it with a certain grudging respect.

Maybe ‘ripping off’ is the wrong way of looking at it. Ian Huge, CEO of survey-mongers Consumer Intelligence, believes that – far from being the villains of the piece – insurers deserve our sympathy.

Vicious circle

Jewel pricing, he suggests, is “not a deliberate and calculated attempt to rip off loyal customers.” It’s more of a technical thing – what you might call “a by-product of having introductory rates in a market with high customer turnover.”

Insurers, Mr Huge argues, are stuck on a sort of a “merry-go-round”. They’d love to get off, he says. But if they started charging everyone the same price, they’d lose business to insurers who had yet to dismount from the merry-go-round.


Uvavu the disruptor

December 20, 2018

Disruption is all the rage these days. Trump does it. Putin does it. We’re even dipping a hesitant toe in it ourselves here in Blighty, with this Brexit thingy we’re supposed to be doing at some point.

Not to be left out, big yellow insurance firm Uvavu is planning to disrupt the insurance market. Its chosen methodology is the offering of ‘subscription-style’ insurance products.

Uvavu claims its disruptive new insurance product UvavuPlus anticipates the forthcoming crack-down on so-called duel pricing (see separate story) with some kind of promise not to put the price up when you renew your subscription.

It also banishes other soon-to-be-stamped out shenanigans like charging people shedloads to cancel or amend their policy. Miraculously, UvavuPlus is also reportedly immune from Insane Punishment Tax (IPT). It can even jumble up your home and motor insurance in one convenient parcel.

But if you, like Bankstone News, were thinking something like ‘Golly, that sounds great. I think I’ll pop along and ask my friendly insurance broker about hooking me up with some UvavuPlus!’, I’m afraid there’s bad news.

You see, UvavuPlus is what’s known as a ‘direct’ product (the kind pioneered by legendary disruptor of yore Pete Wood). That means it’s great for people who don’t like buying annual insurance policies or being ripped off in any of the ways noted above. Rather less so for insurance brokers, who for some reason have always seemed to quite like being involved in the buying and selling of such annual insurance policies.

With the best will in the world, Uvavu man Phil Boils admits reluctantly, it’s going to be awfully hard to find a way of involving his friends in the broking community in the sale of UvavuPlus. Obviously, they’re happy to give it a go and everything. But, the thing is, what with it being a bit complicated and, you know, having to work with software houses and everything, it’s hard to see how middlemen, or brokers as we prefer to call them, wouldn’t just get in the way.

And, let’s be honest, finding some way of cutting brokers in on the deal is one challenge UvavuPlus can probably do without. Seeing as Uvavu are planning to sell it to new and old customers at the same price (whilst still, presumably, competing with products more inclined to the old loss-leading-in-year-one approach) and seeing also as they won’t be making money every time this intentionally flexible policy gets updated or unsubscribed from, it’s hard to see how they’ll make any money at all.

Or maybe they’re aiming for market share.

In any case, as far as Bankstone News is concerned, you can simply never have too much disruption.

Because, let’s face it, things have been the same way basically for ever. Nobody likes the old way. Old ways are bad ways! We want a new and better way. And, if it turns out there are problems with the new way, then at least the old ways have been well and truly cleared away and there’s plenty of room for more new ways, one of which is bound, eventually, to be better than the old one. It can hardly be worse, really, can it!

Things… can only get better, as that weird little grinning chap with the sweaty ears used to say.


Nanny State meddlers on the rampage

December 20, 2018

The insurance industry’s hopes of earning so much as the meagrest of crusts from all its diligent endeavours receded still further this week as grim tidings broke that do-gooders’ whinge-forum The Competitors and Meerkats Authority (CMA) is egging on regulatory body the Final Countdown Authority (FCA) to ‘consider pricing intervention’ to prevent a variety of supposed injustices meted out to ‘poor long-suffering’ customers by ‘evil, scheming’ insurance firms.

You’re right, of course, Dear Reader: it’s snowflakey salty-teared political correctness gone mad in spades to the nth degree. Companies have the right to treat their customers any goddam way they choose. Customers have the right to take their business elsewhere. That’s as far as consumer rights have any right going. Anyone who tries to tell you different is no better than a rotten stinking communist.

It’s all the EU’s fault, if you ask Bankstone News. If it wasn’t for unelected Brussels bureaucrats (bureau-rats, we call them!), people like so-called Citizens Advice would soon be driven back into the fetid depths of whatever filthy liberal cave-world they crawled out off. It was their so-called Super Complaint about insurance providers (quite rightly) penalising customers too stupid to switch (see separate story) that got the CMA – and hence the FCA – involved in the first place. Now the whole thing’s gotten completely out of hand.

Doubtless you’ll recall, the horrible hand-wringing fuss Citizens Advice made recently about twelve million supposedly vulnerable non-switching policyholders getting stung by ‘shady’ practices like YoY price cranking, over-rolling and egress-fleecing. Basically, it’s a whole lot of fuss about nothing.

And of course, no sooner had Citizens Advice kicked off and set the ball rolling than, in a scene reminiscent of that famously ludigenerative incident on the playing fields of Rugby College back in days of yore, the CMA picked up that ball and began running, with both it and alacrity. CMA chief exec Andrex Cushelley claims to have “uncovered a range of problems which leave people feeling ripped off, let down and frustrated.”

Awww, it’s enough to make a faint-heart bleed!

Andrex thinks people shouldn’t have to be “constantly on guard” or spend hours “searching for a good deal”.

So, what, they should have some super-competitive zero-profit-margin bargain handed to them on a gilded platter every year? Insurers are supposed to get behind some busybodied crusade aimed at stopping them ‘exploiting’ their own customers? Never going to happen. And never should it, for that matter!

If the FCA has any sense at all, it will take a stand against such pernicious and corrosive nonsense.

Much more of this anti-competitive intervention from on high and we’ll be driven back to the bad old days of mutual societies and communal risk pooling.

Ugh.




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