NCI appoints Bankstone to handle its claims


Leading specialist professional claims handlers Bankstone have been appointed to provide the outsourced motor claims handling service for brokers NCI Insurance Services.

Brighouse-based Bankstone secured the deal after demonstrating its ability to extend and enhance its value proposition in a rapidly evolving insurance claims landscape.

NCI group commercial director Richard Sharman comments: “Having carried out a thorough review of potential suppliers, we were impressed with the very high level of service and the innovative solutions Bankstone brought to the table. I’m confident they will help us deliver the best possible standard of claims service to our customers.”

Bankstone director Dickon Tysoe adds: “We are delighted NCI ended up selecting Bankstone. We look forward to working closely with them to deliver a market-leading standard of service to their customers.”

Since it started trading in November 2004, specialist outsourced claims handling firm Bankstone has established itself as a leading provider of complete claims management solutions to brokers, insurance companies, and other claims management companies.

Bankstone has the expertise, the experience and the market-leading technology to offer a full menu of competitively-priced expert services including first notification of loss, claims management, ULR, compiling underwriting information and handling claims-related correspondence.

NCI is a UK-based insurance broker focusing on key personal lines products, including private car and pet insurance. NCI Insurance also operates the brand, specialising in breakdown recovery.


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!



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!


* 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!


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.



Is there no depth to which comparison sites will not sink in their quest for PR coverage? One such organisation this week claimed to have coated ‘Britain’s most dangerous street’ in bubble wrap to highlight “the need to be careful when behind the wheel.”

An accompanying photograph duly attests that some at least of Somerville Road, Worcester (highest incidence of motor insurance claims in the UK, supposedly) has indeed been draped in said packaging material. Claims for asphyxiated cats and trampled azaleas will doubtless ensue.

The insurance comparison site in question – we’re denying them the oxygen of publicity – claims somewhat complacently that their curtain of plastic creates “the ultimate safety blanket for motorists.”

Whatever the justice of this claim, residents frustrated at the obstruction of their front doors can at least relieve their stress by popping the bubbles.

One such resident, David Draper, 70, appeared a little confused. “It’s certainly quite unusual,” he observed ruminatively. “I had no idea our road was so dangerous. As long as I can get my motor home in and out, I don’t mind what they do.”

No idea the road was dangerous? Poor fool! Hopefully the whole bubble wrap thing will have put the wind right up him and he’ll now consider doing the decent thing by surrendering his licence.

Will Thomas, head of motor insurance at the stunt-happy comparison site said: “It would have been great fun to do this to every street in the UK, but sadly we ran out of bubble wrap.” Who needs a nanny state to cloak us in cotton wool when we’ve got maniacs like Thomas on the loose!

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