Notepad on Life

December 29, 2016

I want your best quote, insurer, not your opening gambit

Filed under: business,Consumer,Finance,Motoring — - @ 1:25 pm

pic courtesy of Gerry Balding

“Sorry to hear that, Mr ********. Can I just ask why you’re cancelling your cover with us?”

“Yes: the renewal quote you sent me was undercut by another firm by 38 pounds. I’ve taken out cover with them instead.”

“Oh…right…Actually, it’s a shame you didn’t get in touch with us first, because we could have probably undercut that, depending on whether any circumstances had changed.”

“But how’s that? You’d already sent me a renewal quote. I assumed that was your best offer.”

“Weeeell…not necessarily…”


Now, I’m not so naive as to have been completely taken aback by this conversation, when renewing my car insurance recently. What did surprise me is the way no attempt was made to mask or even obscure another painful truth about the financial services sector. You know, the sector whose TV ads are often based on the premise that they are your best friends.

Those renewal quotes aren’t their best offer, after all. Just the most they think they can get away with.

Which  is what friends are all about, of course.


March 25, 2013

Health and safety and a dispirited nation – a letter to my local newspaper

Filed under: Consumer,Health,Journalism — - @ 9:00 am
Tags: , ,
Apple bobbing

Memories of a more brutal age  (Photo: Wikipedia)

I was saddened to read in your Readers’ View page recently of the decision to cancel this year’s Elm Fete on the grounds of onerous Health & Safety paperwork and escalating insurance premiums.

Sadly, this is no one-off. More and more, these days, I hear of people forced to ditch plans to organise a public event or club because the toll taken in terms of paperwork and money is simply too high. I have every sympathy with the Fete organisers but a growing concern about the way in which social life in this country is being stifled by an unholy trinity of insurance firms, Health & Safety mandarins and litigation lawyers who have sadly dropped all pretence of being a cut above their sue-happy American counterparts.

If the H&S people could produce evidence of the carnage caused by summer fetes down the years of course, this would go some way towards allaying my misgivings. It may be that they have filing cabinets full to bursting of tales of slipped discs caused by frantic apple-bobbing, or of innocent people mown down by friendly fire at the coconut shy. Somehow, I doubt it.

What on earth would our ancestors make of us? At a time when our society is less and less about community and more and more about the individual, we cannot even put a village fete on without our plans being effectively thwarted by an alliance of lawyers, paranoid insurers and salaried busybodies.

Am I the only one to see the irony of a country that strives to be healthier and safer, only to die of boredom?

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