May 25, 2012

Former doyenne of the fiercely rebellious King’s Road fashion counter culture that once spawned SEX, the Sex Pistols and dressing up as pirates, Dame Vivienne Westwood revealed this week that she is now an ardent monarchist.

So far has this much mellowed nation come since the turbulent days of 1977 that there is now general agreement that whilst God should indeed save the Queen, she is unequivocally a human being (and a very fine one at that, Your Maamship) and that far from enduring a “fascist regime” her realm flourishes under the benign stewardship of a enlightened generation of Old Etonian everymen with a unique flair for connecting with the concerns and aspirations of ordinary proles up and down the country.

Yellow insurance firm Uvavu sounded a note of caution however this week. Chaotic elements, it seems may yet rise up to mar this Summer’s Diamond Jubilee idyll of ripe old regnal celebration. Claims data from last year’s Royal Wedding and the Golden Jubilee ten years ago, Insurance Times this week reported, suggest we could be in for a veritable orgy of insurance claims chaos during the festivities in honour of our “Diamond Queen” (not to mention Euro 2012 and the London Olympics, both of which are sure to end in tears.)

There seems a very real chance the country will go up in flames as fire claims were up by a shocking 20% on both those previous occasions. So-called accidental damage claims, meanwhile were up 10% during each of these previous festivities. One customer, Insurance Times reports saw his £1,700 sofa go up in flames “after he knocked over his pipe while watching the Royal.” Which royal he was watching is not specified. Bankstone News’ nearly dropped its own pipe last year when its mouth fell open at the sight of Pippa Middleton – but we’re not sure if she counts as a proper royal.

One claim made to Uvavu saw the tragic demise of a policyholders “fence, shed, two bikes, garden table, two chairs and two sun loungers” engulfed in flames after a barbecue was left unattended for just one hour. Another claimant has received a call whilst out visiting friends informing him that his “fence, two bushes and a tree were on fire after a neighbour ‘s bonfire got out of control.” It is scenes like this that lie in store this summer, insurers fear.

Rival insurer More Th<n goes further in the finger of blame pointing stakes, accusing its customers of being a drunken rabble. Brits, More Th)n’s research suggests, “caused a staggering £617 million of fire damage to their properties while barbecuing when they’re drunk”, with “one in four sozzled every time they take charge of the charcoal” according to a report on website myfiancees.co.ck.”Boozed-up Brits,” the same report reports, “have been responsible for reducing 1.5 million gardens to cinders in the past two years.”

Mor3 Th{n predicts no fewer than 900,000 garden fires before the end of August, with manging director Janet Connor noting that: “As this research shows, it doesn’t take much for a pleasant barbecue to turn into a smoky disaster.” What it takes in 8 out of 10 cases, it seems is a man, preferably a drunken man.

Uvavu household clams manager Ian Coulis, meanwhile admitted to a weird and not necessarily entirely wholesome fascination with all this combustible activity “We were intrigued,” he said, “to see the increase in the fire claims over the Royal Wedding and Golden Jubilee weekends.” “Enjoying time with lots of family and friends and catching up on DIY,” he warned, can both “lead to clumsy calamities.”

On the plus side, as the nation comes together as one to stay at home and gather round their flatscreen TVs watching other people partying and playing sports, car insurance claims look set to plummet – raising hopes of dramatically falling motor premiums as the summer progresses.

So at the end of the day it’s swings and roundabouts really, isn’t it.


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