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.

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