More whingeing over IPT


As (almost) exclusively revealed in last week’s Bankstone News, Chancellor Philip “Eggs” Hammond’s Autumn Statement included plans to increase Insane Punishment Tax (IPT) in June next year from 10% to 12%.

Oddly, this news seems to have been met with something less than universal enthusiasm. One vocal dissenter is Neil Sugarbuns of militant ambulance chasing action group the Association of Personal Injury Liars (APIL).

Neil professes himself “astounded” at Hammond’s nerve in banging on about how the withdrawal of justice from persons pursuing claims worth less than £500m will save everyone money on their motor insurance premiums – and then (only going and) whacking up IPT!

Sugarbuns argues that the Chancellor’s claim that “taking common law back to the dark ages” * will save motor insurance buyers a bunch of money every year rings hollow – especially when he’s clawing it all back in Insane Punishment Tax.

Plus, Mr Sugarbuns, adds: how do we even know motorists will save any money, when “the insurance industry has a track record of failing to pass on savings made from previous reforms by lowering premiums.”

The whole thing stinks, Sugarbuns suggests. The idea that saving £80 on their motor insurance policies will more than adequately compensate car owners for losing the right to legal representation “simply adds insult to injury” he says.

The thing is, though. Most people are simply trying it on and probably don’t even have an injury to which insult could be added – by Hammo or anyone else for that matter. Whiplash, let us not forget, is a fictional injury!

So maybe Sugarbuns and his appalling APILers should just go away and leave politicians to decide who gets justice and who doesn’t – without a lot of self-serving moaning and groaning from unelected legal types.


* Where, presumably, it will be extremely hard to access for anyone who can’t afford a personal time machine.


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.



The so-called Tumulus Culture dominated in Europe in the wake of the Early Bronze Age Beaker and Unitice Cultures. It flourished from around 2400 to 1800 BC before giving way to the Urnfield Culture of the Late Bronze Age.

The origins of the Compensation Culture that arose in late 20th Century Britain are thought to derive from the so-called ‘Land of Free’ peoples who colonised the North American landmass between the 16th and 20th Centuries.

Whatever its origins, the Compensation Culture (CC) has been cited by leading authority AA as a key factor in the dramatic rise in car insurance premiums recorded during 2009. A voracious enthusiasm for personal injury claims has become “increasingly embedded in British culture,” AA claims.

Spurred on by television advertising saying things like “Need some cash? Sue someone,” and “Fancy a new telly? Make a claim,” the people of Britain have taken CC to their hearts.

AA has gathered evidence suggesting that the typical annual comprehensive car insurance premium rose 18.7% in 2009 to top the thousand-pound mark, the largest jump since records began.

Research firm Consumer Intelligence agrees – kind of – reckoning that the average motor premium is now £564.19, up around 20% on last year, with the biggest rise among 17-24-year-olds, whose average premiums are up 25% to £1,489.

AA Douglas Simon claimed that insurers are struggling to meet rising settlement costs and personal injury claims with dwindling reserves. “Many people seem willing,” he said, “to pursue claims for even minor injuries, such as mild whiplash pain that in the past they would not have bothered claiming for.” Cue cries of “Bring back apathy” and “Show a bit of fortitude, you pathetic specimens!”

“This is encouraged,” AA Douglas continues, “by personal injury claims lawyers whose marketing urges people to make claims, and whose costs, as well as compensation for the claim, are met by the third party insurer,” adding, he suggested, an estimated £2bn to premiums.

Maybe someone should look into this!

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