Gird up for that kartin’ startin’ gridline

11/08/2021

Insurkarting time will soon be here again. The good, the great, the movers, the shakers, anyone, indeed, who’s anyone in the world of motor insurance and allied sectors is sure to be counting down the days now until 23 September when twenty odd teams of mad-keen motorkarters line up to go head to head round the world-renowned PIF Motorkartway.

Like so many other things during these last few plague-grim years, insurance karting has been away too long. Not since June 2019, back in the carefree days of the second decade of the twenty-first century, have motor insurance folk had a chance to enjoy the unalloyed joys of alternate bouts of haring round the UK’s longest outdoor cart track (more than 1381m in length) and networking it up with the cream of the cream of their peers.

Teams of eight or fewer drivers will enjoy a lavish butty on arrival, light refreshments and beverages throughout the day, and a delicious buffet lunch at lunchtime. Registration is at 8.30am, followed by an enthralling safety briefing. Then, following various practice and qualifying laps, the big race kicks off at 10.30am. 

Each team can switch drivers as often as it likes until the race finally comes to an end, many many hours later when someone eventually decides wave a black and white chequered flag. For those who hanker for racing of briefer duration, we’ve added an hour-long sprint race to the main event. 

So, you see, there’s something for literally everyone this year. What, even people for people who long to simulate the frantic every-millisecond-counts type pressure of a Formula 1 mid-race wheel change?, you might reasonably be wondering. 

Yes, even them! Because, for this year’s Pitstop Challenge, we’ve borrowed Sebastian Fettle’s Aston Martin Formula Uno racecar from the FIA’s technical impoundment zone, where it’s been held since Fettle appealed his Hungarian Grand Prix disqualification, and we’ll be using this real live genuwine racecar in place of whichever ropey old banger the IE karters would otherwise have been practising their pitstop prowess on.

So, what are you waiting for, get over to Ensurance Indurance site at once and see if there’s still a chance for you and your associates to snap up one of the last few team places. 

23/12/2020

There’s certainly been plenty to endure in 2020. But one notable absence on the endurance front, sadly, has been everyone’s favourite kart-related insurance networking event Insurance Endurance. 

But fear not! All being well on the Covid front – and how could it not be now that Boris Johnson is reported to be actively considering taking personal charge of the crisis – unless he steps down in January – which could also work – Insurance Endurance will be back on 17 June next year.

What an absolute unalloyed joy it will be when insurance men and women from across the land come together, masked or unmasked as the case may be, to pit their karting skills one against the other in a mercilessly interminable bout of screaming round the super-sinuous 1382m PFI kart-track in glamorous Grantham, Lincs in high-performance autokarts.

But you’d better hurry if you want to be sure of securing your participation in this exclusively luxury prestige event. Places are strictly limited and they’re sure to be selling like the proverbial hot cakes or the non-proverbial bacon rolls with lashings of ketchup and/or brown sauce, which most people frankly prefer.

Entry is open to any organisation or individual from across the insurance industry (or related ancillary sector) who fancies a bit of premium networking and/or the chance to submit their driving skills to the ultimate challenge that is the Public Finance Initiative kart track with it’s hair-raising bends (no fewer than 10 of them, all told) and remorselessly undeviating straights.

Click here to reserve your team places before that opportunity alludes you.

20/12/2018

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.

05/03/2016

You always get a better class of speaker at the Insurance Ache Broker Summit. The very word summit, of course, implies something than which it is possible to get no higher. And so it was with this year’s BS (generously sponsored by Actoress, Ages, Axer, Cover’ya, MUM, NIGE and Bompo Falopious).

A rare public appearance by reclusive semi-legendary former cabinet maker Dave Plunkett, one of the leading lights in the now notorious Blair Rich Project had delegates quite literally on the edges of their seats.

We should all take more risks, DP told a rapped audience. “Instead of being averse to risk,” he continued sotto voce, leaving a long dramatic pause, then barking out (like the Sheffield backstreet hard man he once was): “We’ve got to manage it!” Cue: thrilled gasps quickly followed by rapturous applause.

Now truly hitting his stride, rhetorically speaking, as the cheers died down, Plunkett pressed on remorselessly, rousing his audience to still more elevated peaks of enthusiasm, reassuring them that risk is nothing to be scared of.

In fact, he suggested daringly, taking on risk – and helping others to face up to it – could even create business opportunities for brokers! By now, the crowd was well and truly caught up in a frenzy of risk-tackling ardour.

Taking what was clearly intended as a deal-clinching imaginative leap to stand, metaphorically, shoulder to shoulder within the massed ranks of brokers, Plunkett declared of risk:

“We’ve got to encourage people to be able to analyse it, to be sensible about it, and then to be able to reinforce taking the necessary steps to make that possible.”

But now, it quickly became clear, he’d gone too far. Where seconds before the cheering mass of brokers would have followed Plunkett to the ends of the earth, they suddenly fell silent. Ominously silent.

The Plunk’s normally flawless feel for audience sentiment had abruptly and inexplicably deserted him. He’d lost the room and he knew it. But where had it all gone wrong?

Was it that all that technical talk about encouraging, analysing and reinforcing that confused and baffled his simple-minded broker audience? Was it that his garbled syntax and rambling incoherence had carelessly broken the spell so painstakingly created with all those beguiling promises of turning risk into money?

Who knows, certainly not Bankstone News. But broken the spell most certainly was. He gamely struggled to continue. What about Europe, that’s always a crowd pleaser.

Don’t get me wrong, “I’m a Eurosceptic,” he declared, branding Brussels bureaucracy “extremely frustrating.” Polite silence, just about. But, he continued ill-advisedly, “it would be insane to withdraw from the European Union.” Angry mutterings. The first few seats are vacated.

What about that Donald Trump?, he proposed, against a rising tide of cold indifference and disaffection. It was “ironic”, he ventured, that Trump looks set to lead the Republicans while Jeremy Corby leads the Labour party. It was plain at this point in the proceedings that no-one either knew or cared what on earth he was on about.

Er… Cyber security’s really bad, isn’t it, he suggested, as the hall cleared quietly, but with increasingly urgency. “Economic disruption, espionage – in terms of stealing intellectual property – disruption of activity… the risk of actually being able to take down absolutely essential public as well private services is… simply the threat of tomorrow.”

The Plunkster soldiered on bravely, but by now, if he only knew it, he was talking to no-one but himself and a handful of visibly mortified Insurance Ache people silently wondering among themselves, with gestures and glances, at what point they should step in and say something.

Which just goes to show: you should never use big fancy words when talking to a room full of insurance people. Or, if you must, at least try to use some that actually make some kind of sense when you string them all together sequentially.

NO_FEAR

16/08/2013

It has long been understood that there is virtually no end to the amount of abuse consumers will put up with from their banks before switching. The same, unfortunately, does not apply to insurance. Bankstone News blames the scourge of the annually renewable policy.

That and comparison sites, obviously. For it is they who have done more than anyone to create a culture in which anyone who doesn’t change insurer every year is looked upon as some kind of numpty.

And – according to  a press release put out by ‘call centre technology provider’ Aspic this week – if the constant search for lower premiums isn’t enough to convince consumers to dump their incumbent insurance providers, the merest hint of the tiniest failing on the customer service front is sure to do the trick!

Aspic’s latest Consumer Satisfaction Benchmarking Report indicates that consumers are more likely to change their insurer than any other service provider. Bizarrely, this non-revelation has received widespread coverage in the insurance press this week.

The fact that consumers are also (marginally) more likely to switch their insurance provider than any other provider after “one bad experience” is – if anything – even less of a revelation.

Given that consumers were probably going to switch insurer anyway before too long, the fact that only 33% said they would dump a “one bad experience’ insurer could be seen as comparing pretty favourably with the 30% who said they’d drop their credit card provider or the 27% who said they’d change internet service provider, faced with equivalent provocation.

Marginally more interesting was Aspic’s finding that, when asked which of a range of service providers gave them the best service, only 3% cited their insurance provider – compared, worryingly, with banks (equal top position along with mobile phone providers) on 13%.

Should insurance firms be worried at this unflattering comparison with bankers? Probably. But, luckily, Aspic’s press release offers some invaluable advice for insurance providers keen to boost their customer service satisfaction levels.

Aside from buying or renewing a policy, Aspic notes, “the main reason that people need to interact with [insurance providers] is to claim, which is often a period of stress and worry. Emotions are heightened, and customer service should be handled carefully.”

So there you go. Simple really!

bin

16/08/2013

Further evidence of the general dishonesty and untrustworthiness of the Great British public emerged this week as market research firm Consumer Intelligence revealed that one in twelve motorists is a self-confessed liar and a cheat when it comes to filling in their motor insurance application form.

It’s a wonder insurers can bring themselves to deal with this nation of liars at all.

On the plus side: Britain’s drivers may be dishonest, but at least they’re disarmingly open about it. Fully 8% of those interviewed by Consumer Intelligence blithely confessed to lying about where they lived (9%), where they parked their cars at night (16%), how many points they had on their licence, and – alarmingly – how far they drove each year (10%).*

The disturbing possibility remains, however, that, if one in twelve happily admit they lie to their insurers, the other eleven may be lying too – but are so shockingly dishonest (brace yourselves) that they even lie to market researchers!

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* Things are no better on the household insurance front, incidentally, where one in three consumers admitted to the heinous crime of “guessing the value of their contents” and a further 20% thought that they were “only accurate to within £5,000”.

Don’t expect to get any of those claims paid!

08/08/2013

Reliable sources of inspiration are few and far between in the world of Bankstone News.

There’s staring protractedly at the back of the outhouse door (success rate: 32.5%, roughly). There’s spending a night wandering the blasted heath above Addlington ripped to the tits on mescaline (success rate, perhaps surprisingly, 44.3%). Most reliable of all, of course, however, is the good old Daily Mail, offering a staggering 99.9% ‘guarantee’ of inspiration.

Sure enoughly, it was that very national newspaper (or, more accurately its associated website) that provided the inspiration for the story to which, Dear Reader, your gracious indulgence allowing, we shall now direct our attention.

The mendacity and cupidity of the Great British public, it seems, now constitute such a vast, irresistible and overbrimming spate of vileness, that, if it be dammed in one place (in the place of whiplash for example), it shall straightways inundate another place (that for example, most appositely as we shall see, of stress).

“Greedy lawyers,” the Mail reports tautologically, “are raking in cash” by persuading people to pretend that car accidents they’ve been in have left them feeling a bit stressed. If it’s hard for greedy insurers’ greedy medical experts to disprove whiplash, imagine the time they’ll have refuting greedy claims of stress!

Those experiencing the most stress, however, will probably be motor insurers, now faced with a terrifying new threat to their chances of ever again seeing a profit. AxA chief exec Paul Heavens confirmed that “in recent months we have started seeing more claims for stress coming through” and said he is “very worried” about it.

So it’s true. Those greedy lawyers – faced with strong indications that the greedy government is firmly backing the greedy insurance industry’s War on Whiplash are refocusing their greedy efforts on persuading greedy accident victims to put in trumped up claims for fantastical conditions such as ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’ and ‘phobic travel anxiety’, not to mention ‘loss of earrings’.

Whatever happened to keeping calm and carrying on? Could they not just buy some more earrings? (Still a bit mystified by that one, actually.) And, does this mean the UK will soon be heralded as the worldwide capital of stress?

Hopefully, the government will recognise the urgent need to outlaw post-incident stress before things get out of hand. If they won’t do it to help their friends in the world of insurance, then surely they must take action at once or risk seeing rising stress statistics ruin Davey C’s widely publicised plans to Govern Britain Happy.

stress-management3

26/06/2012

It’s not often Bankstone News can plausibly claim to feel pride. But this week is different. This week Bankstone News is positively suffused in a lustrous effulgence of richly merited self-congratulation as we proudly announce to anyone who’ll listen that this year’s annual Insurance Endurance karting event, which takes place on 7 September at Daytona Milton Keynes, will be doing so… “in association” with Bankstone News!

Yes, unbelievable as it may seem that anyone would deign to associate themselves with Bankstone News, we are indeed official sponsors of what is arguably the UK’s number one competitive karting event for insurance persons. Could we be any more excited? Not without exploding or something probably. We’re pretty damned excited anyway, and here’s why:

As many as 30 teams are expected to compete on Friday 7 September in what promises to be the 12th annual Insurance Endurance. All the usual crowd-pleasing features will be present: a seemingly interminable six-hour endurance race between teams of up to ten persons each, burgers served up in an decagonal pavilion, bitter rivalry, gamesmanship, cheating and of course the ever-popular pitstop challenge, in which teams compete to stop a pit or something.

As you will learn from Daytona’s official press release, they have a brand new fleet of super speedy prokarts this year, in which you could in theory nudge the speed limit on a motorway – although not necessarily without breaking the law, killing yourself or whatever. Anyway it’s going to be a blast and Bankstone very strongly recommends that you sign up now. Which, happily, you can – thanks to the power of online. See banner below.

22/03/2010

The great thing about insurance – wait don’t stop reading – is that there’s nothing much under the sun that doesn’t have an insurance angle to it one way or another. Say, for example, Bankstone News fancied taking a break from blathering on about motor insurance claims related things and directing your attention instead to a disused warehouse full of bric a brac behaving in a domino-effect like manner – nothing simpler!

American popular musicians (hope to God they’re not Canadians; can’t be bothered to Google them), OK Go have created what they believe is the world’s biggest ever Rube Goldberg machine in order to shower themselves with paint (bit like that car advertisement) but more chaotic. Click here to watch the video (do they still call them that?) on YouTube.

Where’s the insurance angle? “Made possible” by State Farm insurance, whose logo apparently features in the clip at some point – as well as in the end credit – though Bankstone News has yet to spot it. Maybe you can. Email editor@bankstone-news.co.uk with the YouTube minutes:seconds reference and we’ll tell your superior officer how you’ve been spending your time.

21/03/2010

The House of Commons Transport Committee is unimpressed with HMG’s recent bike test regime changes.

Shutting smaller local test centres in favour of larger centralised Multipurpose Test Centres was – like an old, useless and cataract-afflicted Rudolf bludgeoned slowly to death by candystick-wielding elves – a bad idea badly executed.

The Committee’s report found that implementation of the new Multigrow Compost Centres has – like Rainbow’s Geoffrey in his too-alluring knitwear – been bungled.

Now – like decent jokes in Bankstone News – the centres are too few and too far apart, resulting – like the non-availability of specially adapted ICC-approved cricket-cycles – in delays to the launch of the new bike test.

Committee Chairbeing, Louise Ellman MP commented, “Many candidates and trainers now have to travel too far for their motorcycle test. This adds to the cost, and in some cases, exposes candidates to fast and dangerous roads on the way to a test site before they have even taken their test. The Driving Standards Agency needs to give much greater priority to customer service and convenience for test candidates and trainers.”

Some have argued that there was “nothing wrong with the old way of doing things” and that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I always say.” But the committee accepted that a revised test regime was needed following the introduction of new European legislation.

It did however feel that the Government had maybe got a bit carried away and that – like the hairy bloke from Joy of Sex – it had perhaps been guilty of “gilding the lily” by over-elaborating the test through the introduction of “more manoeuvres than is strictly required.”

“Motorcyclists make up just 1% of road users,” noted Ms Ellman, “but account for 19% of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.” Like someone who realises that the moment for long-winded would-be humourous similes may have passed, we’ll simply tell you that the committee thought it would be a good idea if the Government collected some “robust and reliable data” on motorcycle deaths and injuries – including those taking place during (or on the way to?) tests. If there turn out to be a lot of the latter, the committee suggested, another test re-think might be a good idea.

It’s like common sense gone crazy!

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After the problems I had with my previous insurer when I was knocked off my bike, it was very refreshing to talk to someone who didn't automatically assume that I was at fault simply because I ride a motorbike. I received a call back very quickly from someone who knew what I was talking about and dealt with my call in a friendly yet very professional manner. Thank you.
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