click here to read the article, it will blow your mind
Fraudsters beware: the days of dodgy car insurance claims are numbered. Technology has you in its sights.
Like everything from watches to refrigerators, cars are fast becoming internet-connected and laden with sensors monitoring their every move.
A "black box" can be found in millions of cars globally, now that more and more drivers are choosing so-called telematics insurance policies.
And these devices, that monitor speed, acceleration, braking, cornering - all aspects of our driving - are helping insurance companies weed out fraudulent "crash for cash" and personal injury claims, potentially saving the industry billions in losses every year.
There are about 12 million of these policies globally now, with the biggest markets being the US, the UK - which now has more than 450,000, a 40% increase on last year - and Italy.
That still only represents about 1.5% of the global market for insurance policies, however.
Fraudulent claimsJonathan Hewett of Octo Telematics, which supplies the data and analysis that comes from black boxes , says it gives insurers a complete understanding of a crash - even if only one vehicle involved has the technology: "Telematics provides a much deeper set of data… that allows insurers to do that much better."
As claims account for about 80% of insurers' costs, being able to examine them forensically to determine liability - and whether drivers are making fraudulent claims - is crucial to the bottom line.
"You can understand the force of the impact, and thus the likelihood of things like whiplash and soft tissue injury," Mr Hewett explains.
Another, perhaps unexpected, benefit of telematics is allowing insurers to become aware of a crash as soon as it happens. The boxes are usually connected to a vehicle's diagnostics port under the bonnet or plugged into the 12-volt power socket in the cabin.
If the device detects a G-force above a certain level it automatically triggers a call to check if the driver and any passengers are unharmed, or alerts emergency services if needed, explains Scott Goodliffe of insurance broker Adrian Flux.
Technology that can automatically notify emergency services in the event of an accident will be compulsory on all new vehicles sold in Europe from April 2018under the European Union's eCall initiative.
The EU says this will significantly reduce the response times to crashes and could save hundreds of lives a year.
Allowing insurers to contact drivers faster following accidents will help stop "ambulance-chasing lawyers" getting involved, according to Octo's Mr Hewett.
That gives them more control over the claims process, provides a better service to customers - and minimises costs.
"It's as much about process efficiency as it is about financial efficiency" for an insurer, he says.
Smartphone nannyCost is the primary reason why telematics policies have made inroads into the car insurance market given that they offer savings of up to a third - often a four-figure sum - for young drivers.
However, now that telematics is increasingly being linked to smartphones, the technology is also encouraging those with less experience behind the wheel to drive more responsibly by giving them feedback about their performance.
Michael Lee, managing director of insurance services for UK insurer Hastings Direct, says: "We use the data generated by our telematics products and proactively contact young drivers with poor driving scores" - under 50 on a scale where 100 is the highest.
Although it is a labour-intensive process, "drivers then see a 60% increase in their scores", Mr Lee says, meaning they are less reckless on the roads.
Adrian Flux offers a self-fit black box linked to a smartphone app updated daily that details driving performance - and the potential effect this could have on the annual premium.
It has proved very popular with both young drivers and their parents who often foot the bill, the company says.
'Pay-per-trip'The car insurance market for young drivers is very quickly reaching a tipping point, according to Ofir Eyal of Boston Consulting Group, because telematics allows them to prove that they are safe drivers and thus pay significantly lower premiums.
Such policies have so far not had wide appeal to older drivers in most developed countries because the potential savings have been much lower, although the rise of policies that only use smartphone apps, along with cheaper, self-fitted black boxes, is beginning to alter that equation.
Mr Eyal believes that telematics penetration will continue to increase in the next few years and help insurers deal with rising demand for "pay-per-trip" policies and as more journeys are made in vehicles we don't own.
"It's about getting the right technology to the right customers; it's not one size fits all," he says.
"The challenge for the car industry is adjusting to changing consumer demand - insurers will need to adjust their business models to adapt and provide services for the different type of journeys we will be making in the future."
Data conundrumBut question marks remain over all the data that cars are starting to generate: how accessible it will be to consumers?
Mr Lee doubts that car manufacturers will create a standard set of metrics, so insurers will be forced to learn how to process each manufacturer's data.
But as telematics goes mainstream, regulators are likely to impose standards to allow data to be transferred between insurers in the same way as a no-claims bonus can be today, he believes.
The advent of autonomous vehicles presents another challenge.
Octo's Mr Hewett says data analytics will be critical to understanding what happened - and determining liability - if, say, a driverless car collides with a pedestrian.
Given that a mix of conventional, semi-autonomous and fully driverless vehicles could be on the world's roads for anything up to the next five decades, the need for data standards will become all the more acute.
article is care of http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35840407
author By Chris JohnstonTechnology of Business reporter
The government review of the Legal Services Act needs to give clients of unregulated providers access to the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) so as to close off a “competitive advantage” enjoyed by those that are regulated, the complaints body said this week.
LeO will also consider offering new forms of dispute resolution, according to its draft 2016-17 strategy, which is now out for consultation.
Steve Green, chair of the Office for Legal Complaints – the body that oversees LeO – said: “We remain concerned at the absence of redress for consumers who choose to obtain legal services from unregulated businesses.
“It cannot be right that that the absence of redress has the ability to act as a competitive advantage to legal businesses which sit within the regulated part of the sector. We hope that the opportunity to correct that imbalance will be taken in any future re-visiting of the Legal Services Act.”
Last year, Lord Chancellor Michael Gove committed to a review of the Act during the current Parliament.
The strategy said LeO’s overall goals for the next year were to continue to improve efficiency, implement changes to its jurisdiction, help create an improved complaints handling system, and “disseminate what we have learned more widely”.
Among the ways it planned to achieve these objectives were considering the options for development of alternative dispute services, “which could include consideration of methods of resolution which we do not currently offer (for example mediation and first-tier complaint support).
The strategy also made it clear that work on accepting complaints from non-client third parties would continue. Also on the agenda were how LeO could help lawyers and consumers when complaints are made prematurely, a review of its policy on publicising ombudsman decisions, and consideration of its case fee structure.
Mr Green added: “We believe that there is still more that can be done in the coming year to build upon our achievements and intend to sustain the pace of our change and improvement. For example, this consultation document shows how we intend to improve the balance of our performance between completing investigations as in a timely manner as possible whilst providing the highest-possible quality.”
FCA to consult on allocation of compulsory jurisdiction levy.
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has confirmed an operational income budget for 2016/17 of £226.5m, which it said was a small reduction from its latest forecast for 2015/16.
Its budget is funded by a combination of levies and case fees.
According to the FOS total income is set to be £239.5m.
It also stated that it had asked the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to increase the overall levy for compulsory jurisdiction from £23.3m in the preceding year to £24.5m in 2016/17.
According to the FOS, its total operating costs are set to be £265.0m and its total operating deficit £38.5m.
The final figures were published following a consultation which was launched in December last year.
The FOS said in a statement: "The FCA will be consulting separately on the allocation of the compulsory jurisdiction levy. We expect to receive around £55.9m in case fees, of which around £0.5m will come from the voluntary jurisdiction levy."
Will we as taxpayers ever see our money?they pay back 1.2 Billion pounds as part of their £45 billion bail out?????can you imagine lending forty five thousand pound off your bank, and only repaying one thousand back after 8 years????
Zurich said that despite the extra insurance, I’m going to have to pay more after a claim.
From August, all sales material will have to specify how much an NCB is worth and what the cost would be in the event of a claim.
I insure my car with Zurich and pay extra for no claims bonus (NCB) protection. I had to make a claim this year for the first time and was told afterwards that my premium would go up despite the insurance. They said that although my NCB stayed the same, the claim still affected the premium. I don’t think the millions of people paying for this extra insurance realise this. RC, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire
You’re right, they don’t – as the price comparison website uSwitch discovered in a survey last year. The notion that NCB insurance will prevent premiums rising after a claim is a misconception that the insurance industry has, unsurprisingly, done nothing to discourage.
In fact the discount is a percentage of the premium that is knocked off. If you pay to protect the NCB and then make a claim the premium rises, often significantly. It could well be the case that you pay more to insure the NCB than you save should your premium rise. Belatedly the Competition and Markets Authority has realised the extent of public confusion and has ordered insurers to make the pricing and potential savings of NCB insurance clearer. Come August, all sales material must specify how much an NCB is worth and what the cost would be in the event of a claim, so customers can decide if it’s worth it.
Zurich says that its future policy wording will state that NCB will not protect the overall price of an insurance policy which may increase after an accident, even a no-fault one. “We recognise the frustration that ambiguity can cause and it is for this reason that we are working hard to ensure, like the rest of the industry, that we follow this new, clarified regulation for the benefit of our customers,” says a spokesperson.
article car of the guardian this is money
insurers and policyholders could face increased costs following a European Court of Justice decision that claims handling should not be exempt from VAT.The ECJ released its decision in the Aspiro case. The Polish firm provides claim handling services to an insurer - dealing directly with the customer on behalf of that particular insurer.
The case queried whether claims handling services should be subject to VAT under European law as insurance-related activities are exempt from VAT.
However the ECJ deemed that the claims firm was not a broker or insurer and it's activities did not specifically provide insurance.
It ruled that claims handling should be subject to VAT.
Richard Insole, indirect tax partner at Deloitte, said: "The decision in this case highlights the clear difference between the expected VAT treatment of claims handling in UK and EU law. If HMRC are required to reassess their VAT position in this area, it could result in significantly increased operating costs for UK insurers and an impact on policy premiums as a result.
"The outcome of the case will be viewed by many as unsurprising given previous judgements of the European Court in this area dating back as far as 2005. Until now, HM Revenue and Customs have resisted changing the UK's treatment of such services on the basis that the European Commission has been undertaking a wider review of the VAT treatment of VAT and financial services.
"However, this exercise was recently abandoned, leaving a question mark over whether the UK can continue to support its current treatment."
On how HMRC might react in the UK, Insole added: "Exactly what HMRC intend to do next is not yet known, but our expectation is that following this decision, HM Revenue and Customs will come under increased pressure from the European Commission to change UK law."
When asked about particular services that could be affected, Insole said: Quite a lot of outsourced services are currently exempt. The law specifically allows for: i) claims handling; and ii) the administration of insurance contracts.
"Some of this could include: collecting premiums, dealing with customer queries, updating policy details, receiving claims, validating claims, coordinating fulfilment of claims and so on."
The UK government has transferred supervisory responsibility for regulating claims management companies (CMCs) to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) from the Ministry of Justice as part of yesterday’s Budget statement. The decision comes after recommendations were published in an independent review, which looked at implementing much more rigorous regimes for these firms.
Senior staff at CMCs will be scrutinised by the FCA’s new Senior Managers Regime, which makes them liable for their actions.
“The new regime will be tougher and will ensure CMC managers can be held personally accountable for the actions of their businesses,” said the budget document.
The dates for the transfer will be announced “in due course”, but actuaries and the insurance industry have already welcomed the news.
Fiona Morrison, president of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, believed the move would be beneficial for consumers, adding: “Further regulation of the sector could help protect consumers from higher insurance premiums caused by the filing of unnecessary claims.”
Graeme Trudgill, executive director at the British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA), described the change as a “wise move”. He said: “For too long some rogue companies have been able to hassle customers, possibly generating fraudulent claims that ultimately are paid for by innocent customers.”
BIBA estimated that fraudulent whiplash claims added 20% onto car insurance premiums and the lack of sufficient, effective regulation of CMCs “has fuelled exaggerated claims”.
Huw Evans, director general of the Association of British Insurers, also welcomed the news.
“For too long the regulation of claims management companies has not been fit-for-purpose, leaving the public at the mercy of unscrupulous firms who make nuisance phone calls and encourage frivolous and fraudulent claims,” he said.
“It should go a long way to driving the cowboy operators out of town and helping to ensure honest customers don't end up footing the bill for their dodgy practices.”
care of http://www.theactuary.com/news/2016/03/fca-to-regulate-claims-management-companies-following-budget/
The Ministry of Justice is considering transferring the regulation of claims management companies (CMCs) to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), it has emerged.
In a call for evidence launched jointly with The Treasury today, on how to bring in a “much more rigorous regulatory regime for CMCs”, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said it would consider whether regulation should be transferred to the FCA.
Other options included, but were not limited to, dual regulation, shared between the existing Claims Management Regulation Unit (CMRU) based at the MoJ and the FCA, the creation of a new independent regulator, or “new powers and resources” for the CMRU.
The MoJ said the review, announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his summer budget, would have “particular reference to the high standards applied to other regulated industries such as financial services”.
The ministry went on: “The CMRU has recently received significant additional powers, but evidence suggests that CMC regulation regime should be put on a more robust footing to be in a position to meet future regulatory challenges.
“Consumers and affected sectors, particularly financial services, remain concerned that CMCs continue to fuel speculative claims for compensation, and in doing so create a significant social nuisance through the use of cold-calls and texts and add waste into the redress systems.”
The MoJ said a formal consultation would be published later this year and, as expected, would include capping fees.
“It is expected to include capping the amount CMCs can charge clients in winning cases – set at a rate for PPI and similar claims that reflects a reasonable profit level for the risks CMCs are taking – and a ban on upfront fees.
“A cap on charges should help to reduce incentives for CMCs to collect marketing leads and as a result reduce the vast number of speculative calls.”
Justice minister Lord Faulks added: “The government is taking action to make sure people aren’t having their time wasted or being taken advantage of by the greedy practices of some firms.
“We want to be certain that we are doing all we can to get consumers a fairer deal and rid the industry of rogue behaviour.”
The review is led by Carol Brady, chair of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.
Andy Cullwick, head of marketing at leading CMC First4Lawyers, said: “Any investigation into the claims management sector is welcome providing it tackles the issues caused by the minority of companies that give the sector a bad name.
“However, the MoJ and Claims Management Regulator have to ensure their review is fair and balanced, and spend as much time as possible with those CMCs that do things well, and not just listen to the same old insurer complaints.
“It is essential that the MoJ remember that genuine victims of accidents seeking access to justice still need to be represented post-LASPO and reputable CMCs facilitate that. We would fully support tougher sanctions on cold calling and spam marketing, something we’ve been campaigning for since our inception eight years ago.
“Let’s hope the MoJ will grasp the nettle and make some bold decisions about the direction of our industry by listening to the views of those at the coal face. We would be particularly supportive of action that allows the injury claims sector to be able to distance itself from the PPI and financial claims sector.”
The government has moved to make the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) responsible for regulating claims management companies.
Announced as part of today's Budget measures, the Treasury said it would introduce a ‘tougher’ regulatory regime for claims management firms.
This followed a review of the claims management industry which recommended a cap on the amount such firms can charge.
‘The government is clamping down on the rogue claims management companies that provide bad service and bombard customers with nuisance calls,’ it said.
‘The new regime will be tougher and will ensure claims management company managers can be held personally accountable for the actions of their businesses.’
The Treasury said the FCA would be put in charge of the new regulation.
‘In order to ensure that the new regulatory regime is implemented effectively, the government intends to transfer responsibility for regulating claims management companies.’
The move to regulate claims management firms follows a National Audit Office report into financial mis-selling redress, which discovered claims management firms made between £3.5 billion and £5 billion from the total £22 billion paid out to victims of payment protection insurance mis-selling.
New statistics have been released by the police that show more than 2,000 drivers have been caught speeding doing more than 100mph. These statistics were compiled with the figures of 42 of the UK’s 45 forces, so it could well be higher than the reported 2,169 motorists.
The biggest speeder was the driver of an M4 coupe who was travelling on the A1(M) in Cambridgeshire. He was clocked at a whopping 156mph. Cambridgeshire also recorded more offenders than any other region in the UK. Overall 152 of the offenders were travelling at more than 120mph, while 42 were exceeding 130mph.
This breathes fresh life into two regular debates. Firstly, how big of an effect on accident rates does speed play, and is speed more acceptable when the driver has received a high enough level of training? Secondly, are the capabilities of modern cars becoming excessive for real world use?
Speeders face a minimum of 3 points on their licence and a £100 fine. It can also increase car insurance premiums.
There are advocates and detractors on both sides of the argument. As with most debates, there is probably a middle ground that is more sensible. Unfortunately, one unifying factor with most petrol heads is they all think they are an above average driver. So what we’re really interested in is your opinion, because without plenty of support not much legislation gets through.
Have your say in the comments section below and lets see what opinions get the most support.
Are modern cars too much?
How big of a factor is speed in accident rates?
- See more at: http://www.partsgateway.co.uk/pgtimes/thousand-clocked-100mph#sthash.bPQPAW4q.dpuf
The Senior Managers Regime for the banking sector and the Senior Insurance Managers Regime both come into force today. The new regimes will hold individuals working at all levels within relevant firms to appropriate standards of conduct and ensure that senior managers are held to account for misconduct that falls within their area of responsibility.
In June 2013, the Parliamentary Commission for Banking Standards (PCBS) published its report 'Changing Banking for Good' setting out recommendations for legislative and other action to improve professional standards and culture in the UK banking industry. This was followed by legislation in the Banking Reform Act 2013. The launch of the new regime by the Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority implements the recommendations made by the PCBS.
As previously announced, the PRA and FCA will apply key principles of the Senior Managers Regime to senior members of staff in both regulators. The PRA and FCA have today published an explanation of how they will be applying the regime internally. This includes a description of the core responsibilities of those carrying out Senior Management Functions.
The internal application of the Senior Managers Regime reflects the PRA and FCA’s functions as public authorities and regulators. The wording of responsibilities has been tailored to ensure it is relevant to the particular functions the PRA and FCA have as regulators.
As a subsidiary of the FCA, the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), has also applied the Senior Managers Regime internally.
Tracey McDermott, Acting Chief Executive at the Financial Conduct Authority, said:
'Today marks the beginning of a new era of increased individual accountability. The Senior Managers regime is not designed to re-invent the way that firms organise themselves but to reflect and ensure clarity about how this operates in practice.
'We are determined to embed a culture of personal responsibility within the banking sector.
'We hold ourselves to the highest professional standards and so we have decided to apply the fundamental principles of the Regime to our senior staff.
'By building on our existing framework of accountability, we will further bolster the transparency with which we are run, and reinforce the standards to which we hold ourselves.'
Andrew Bailey, Deputy Governor, Prudential Regulation, Bank of England and CEO of the PRA said:
'Appropriate and robust accountability for senior managers in financial institutions is a crucial part of the effective functioning of the economy.
'At the heart of the new accountability regime, which comes into force today, is one very simple principle - you can delegate tasks but you cannot delegate responsibility. This means that senior managers at banks and insurers should know what they are responsible for and can be held accountable for failings in their area. This is a crucial milestone in our drive for greater accountability in financial services.
Regulators also need to have high standards of conduct so we are applying the core principles of the Senior Managers Regimes to our senior staff to ensure that we are holding ourselves to the standards that we expect of our regulated firms.'
Notes to editors
The Consumer Rights Act 2015Consumer adviceGet advice on consumer issues
About the ActWhat is happening?The Consumer Rights Act came into force on 1 October 2015. The law is now clearer and easier to understand, meaning that consumers can buy and businesses can sell to them with confidence. On the rare occasions when problems arise, disputes can now be sorted out more quickly and cheaply. Alternative Dispute Resolution, for example through an Ombudsman, offers a quicker and cheaper way of resolving disputes than going through the courts. The changes are relevant to all consumers and every business which sells directly to them.
UK consumers spend £90 billion a month. Transparent rights will help them to make better choices when they buy and save them time and money.
What do I need to know?The Consumer Rights Act came into force on 1 October 2015 which meant from that date new consumer rights became law covering:
And, what about Alternative Dispute Resolution?Alternative Dispute Resolution is now available to all businesses to help when a dispute with a consumer cannot be settled directly. Before the Consumer Rights Act became law, this service had only been available in certain sectors. A business which is involved in a dispute will now need to make the consumer aware of a relevant certified Alternative Dispute Resolution provider. The business should also let the consumer know whether or not they are prepared to use the Alternative Dispute Resolution provider to deal with the dispute. However, a business does not have to use Alternative Dispute Resolution unless it operates in a sector where existing legislation makes it mandatory (for example, financial services).
What should I do?The new laws mean you should be able to learn much more easily what your rights entitle you to and what they don’t. You should bear in mind your rights when you research purchases and when you decide between providers. You should be clear where to go for more information in advance of a purchase and what to do if a problem arises.
Citizens Advice is now the primary source of information and advice on these new laws for consumers through its Consumer Service. You can call our consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or you can talk to a Welsh-speaking adviser on 03454 04 05 05. The helplines are open Monday to Friday 9.00am to5.00pm. They are not open on bank holidays. Alternatively you can e-mail us your consumer inquiry using the form on our website.
Questions and answers about new consumer laws
Above is care of Citizens advice website.
Sceptical insurer punished for ‘inexcusable delay’ Insurers Denying Delaying and Defending as usual?they got spanked this time!
The Court of Appeal has ruled against an insurer who delayed a case in the expectation it could prove the claim was fraudulent.UK Insurance Limited had successfully applied to have a £75,000 damages claim set aside, saying an allegation of fraud needed to be investigated.
Lord Justice Vos (pictured), sitting in the appeal court, heard the insurer was convinced the victim of an RTA, who claimed for the value of his car and the cost of hire replacements, knew the insured driver prior to the accident.
The damages award was made in October 2013 after the claimant’s lawyers, from Armstrongs Solicitors, had sent the insurer five unanswered letters in the space of two months asking for compensation to replace the damaged vehicle and warning about the growing hire charges.
Liability had been admitted in April 2013 and proceedings were issued in June 2013 when no response was forthcoming from the insurer.
When the defendant firm Keoghs applied to set the award aside, District Judge Henthorn agreed in the interests of justice.
In the appeal hearing last month, the claimants argued the judge had been wrong in law to hold that the fraud defence provided an exemption to the principles extracted from Mitchell andDenton, cases which decided how best to treat non-compliance. The insurer contended it had a ‘reasonable excuse’ for delaying proceedings because of suspicions about fraud.
Vos said the insurer had ‘delayed inexcusably’ and made no attempt to justify its conduct.
In Gentry v Miller & Anor, the judge said: ‘The court cannot ignore that insurers are professional litigants, who can properly be held responsible for any blatant disregard of their own commercial interests.
‘This insurer had known since April 2013 that it was at risk of proceedings being commenced and being served on its insured, yet it did nothing to ensure its position was protected.’
Vos explained allegations of fraud may in some cases excuse an insurer from taking steps to protect itself, but in this case the insurer missed ‘every opportunity’ to take these steps.
He ruled that the application to set aside the default judgment ought to have been refused.
Why do cyclists ride in the middle of the road?Why do cyclists ride in the middle of the road? Because they're allowed to: a poster from the Department for Transport advises "Cyclists. Ride central on narrow roads."
See those potholes? Not good for your suspension, are they? To cyclists, they're not just inconvenient; they're lethal. The cyclist up ahead might be in the middle of the road for a few seconds in order to avoid a big gash in the ground. Cyclists are expert pothole - spotters. Use this inside knowledge to prevent costly damage to your car's suspension.
But, I hear you cry, cyclists block me even when the tarmac is butter-smooth. Take a look ahead. See any "islands", those refuges placed smack bang in the middle of the road, and placed there to protect pedestrians? Every keen cyclist knows that these islands can be death traps. Some motorists get a spurt on to overtake cyclists before these refuges, cutting in at the last second. Some cyclists, therefore, take what's called the "primary position". (Yes, there's an official Stationery Office name for the middle of-the-road manoeuvre). This is cyclists' semaphore for "don't pass me just yet; there's an obstacle ahead." Watch what cyclists do when they've passed the island: ninety-nine times out of a hundred they tuck back into the side of the road, and the motorist can then safely overtake. When a cyclist takes the "primary position" before such an upcoming obstacle it's not a mark of arrogance, it's a (risky) tactic to keep everyone safe.
Cyclists will also assume the primary position to avoid "dooring" by motorists opening their car doors without looking, or when about to turn right. Again, once safe to do so, cyclists return to the side of the road.
Not that a cyclist has to be a "gutter bunny," hugging the kerb. Cyclists, in law, operate "carriages", and have done since a court case in 1879. And, as operators of vehicles they have as much right to the whole lane as a motorist. Most of the time cyclists, quite sensibly, allow motorists to pass because that's the safest and nicest thing to do. But it's not a legal requirement. There's no such thing on the road as a "car lane." The only roads that motorists can call their own are motorways - the clue is in the name.
OK, so how about those cyclists who block the road by "riding two abreast". That's also perfectly legal. It's in the Highway Code. Remember, motorists - unless their cars concertina like Autobots from the Transformers movie - ride two abreast all the time, even when driving solo.
The Highway Code states that cyclists should not ride more than two abreast and should ride in single file on "narrow or busy roads and riding round bends." However, the Highway Code doesn't define what it means by "narrow" or "busy" or quite how rounded the curve has to be before it's considered a "bend." Club cyclists, who often ride in packs, will ride two abreast to chat, and will thin out when necessary, but two riders will often "take primary position" before bends. It should be reasonably obvious why. Far too many motorists take bends, even blind ones, fast, and cyclists do not want to be squished when an overtaking driver realises they've overcooked the corner and has to dive back in to avoid a head-on smash.
Cyclists often "block the road" in order to save their lives, and possibly yours, too.
Carlton Reid is the executive editor of BikeBiz.com. He drives a Nissan Note "but not very often." He's writing a history book on motoring's cycling beginnings, Roads Were Not Built For Cars.
Driverless cars will be allowed on Britain's motorways next year, George Osborne is to announce in the Budget on Wednesday.
Tests will begin on a small number of roads within months before pilots are carried out on 70mph carriageways later this year.
The first trials are expected to be carried out on roads in Milton Keynes, Bristol, Coventry and Greenwich.
The Chancellor believes automated vehicles could lead to the most "fundamental" change to transport since the invention of the petrol engine.
He hopes they will revolutionise motoring by 2020, and put the UK at the forefront of the new technology.
Mr Osborne said: "At a time of great uncertainty in the global economy, Britain must take bold decisions now to ensure it leads the world when it comes to new technologies and infrastructure.
"That's what my Budget next week will seek to do."
He added: "Naturally we need to ensure safety, and that's what the trials we are introducing will test.
"If successful, we could see driverless cars available for sale and on Britain's roads, boosting UK jobs and productivity."
Driverless cars, which can alert motorists to accidents and traffic jams, could eventually prevent 95% of crashes, according to the Treasury.
"Truck platooning" tests will also be carried out on motorways, where lorries travel in tightly-packed convoys to improve fuel consumption by reducing drag.
The automated juggernauts are set to take to UK roads this year.
A driver in the lead vehicle would control the steering, acceleration and braking of the convoy.
But the drones would have a driver in each cab as a safety measure.
A stretch of the M6 near Carlisle has reportedly been earmarked as a test route.
In Germany, a driverless lorry developed by Daimler was tested on a public road last October.
Last month, a Google driverless car was involved in a collision with a bus in California.
The US tech firm's automated cars have been involved in more than a dozen collisions, but in most cases the vehicles were rear-ended.
Vehicle excise duty (VED) should be raised for new diesel cars in an attempt to improve air quality, a think-tank has said.
Policy Exchange claimed VED for diesel vehicles should be increased by up to £800 to reflect the higher level of air pollution they cause, compared with petrol cars.
The proposal said this could generate £500 million additional revenue each year, which could be used to fund a new diesel scrappage scheme.
Matched funding from manufacturers would mean motorists could receive grants of £2,000 to get rid of an old diesel car or van and buy a lower-emission vehicle.
The think-tank believes encouraging diesel drivers to switch to alternatives such as petrol, hybrid or electric cars would lead to a "dramatic" improvement in air quality.
Richard Howard, head of environment and energy at Policy Exchange, said London and other major UK cities were facing an "air pollution crisis" with residents "exposed to illegal and unhealthy levels of NO2".
" If we are to clean up air pollution then the Government needs to recognise that diesel is the primary cause of the problem, and to promote a shift to alternatives," he said.
"This needs to be done in a way which does not unduly penalise existing diesel drivers, who bought their vehicle in good faith, and gives motorists sufficient time to respond.
"Instead of increasing diesel fuel duty or banning diesels from city centres, the Government should look to increase taxes on new diesel cars and offer scrappage grants to take old polluting diesels off the road."
story care of MSN http://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/news/diesel-drivers-should-pay-up-to-%C2%A3800-more-in-road-tax/ar-AAgEwLX?li=BBoPOOl
Car undertakes three vehicles and drives on M62 hard shoulderDashcam video captures the moment a silver Mercedes undertakes three vehicles and drives blindly onto the hard shoulderhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/12191340/Car-undertakes-three-vehicles-and-drives-on-M62-hard-shoulder.html
Setanta Insurance, a company registered in Malta that offered motor insurance in Ireland, collapsed in 2014 and left outstanding claims of €90 million unpaid. The firm was not regulated by the Irish Central Bank but was authorised to provide cross-border insurance services under the rules of the single market. Irish motorists, most likely, will now pay for Setanta’s liabilities via a once-off €50 increase in average insurance premiums. This price hike comes in addition to an anticipated significant rise in car insurance premiums this year which reflects the escalating cost of accident claims.
The Court of Appeal has decided that the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland rather than the Insurance Compensation Fund should meet the cost of claims resulting from Setanta’s insolvency. Either way, it seems, the motorist will pay ever higher premiums for car insurance – up by 30 per cent in the year to January. The cost of home insurance, partly reflecting the impact of flooding, has increased by seven per cent in the same period. Minister for FinanceMichael Noonan recently promised an overall review of insurance costs in consultation with the Central Bank and other departments; a challenge that now awaits the formation of a new government.
The European Commission has told Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune that it is not responsible for the supervision of European insurance companies that trade in other member states. However, it does suggest that a new EU regulatory framework, introduced in January, should enable more effective regulation of their activities. Supervisors have been given greater powers to monitor the solvency of insurance companies. They can intervene more quickly if required. And where cross-border activities are involved – as in Setanta’s case – they can share information with the relevant authorities.
But would these new regulatory powers – if introduced much sooner and applied rigorously – have saved Setanta from insolvency and spared motorists the cost of having to pay for that company’s mistakes?
Group sentenced for staging crash following IFED investigation
A five-strong ‘crash for cash’ gang has been sentenced today at the Old Bailey for trying to defraud insurer RSA of more than £30,000 by staging an accident.
The group was sentenced to a total of 37 months’ imprisonment (suspended for two years), ordered to pay £10,800 in compensation and costs and ordered to carry out over 700 hours of unpaid work (see below for individual sentences).
The fraud was uncovered after RSA referred the case to the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED).
Detectives found messages on a phone belonging to one of the suspects that detailed how he was struggling to pay the finance on his car and had arranged to stage the crash to get an insurance payout.
On 8 July 2013, Maqsood Ahmed contacted RSA to report that he had crashed his Citroen C4 into a parked Mercedes C63 AMG after losing control of his car.
Mohammed Munir, the Mercedes’s owner, also got in touch with RSA the same day to report the damage to his car.
Both vehicles were recovered by the same company, Road Accident Help. When RSA came to collect the vehicles, the insurer was charged excessively high fees for the storage of the vehicles.
Two passengers in Ahmed’s car at the time of the collision, Khalid and Kashif Mahmood, also submitted personal injury claims totalling more than £8,000 through Road Accident Help.
When RSA’s engineers examined the two cars, they noted that the damage to the vehicles was not consistent with the story given. Also, the general condition of the Citroen (aside from the collision damage) was so bad that it was, in their opinion, not driveable. The case was referred to IFED to investigate.
Naveed Mohammed, a partner in Road Accident Help, was interviewed in May 2015. Although he initially claimed that Ahmed and Munir called him for the vehicles to be recovered, phone records showed that no calls were made or received at the times claimed.
All five were eventually charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation, with Munir also charged with money laundering in relation to the benefit he received from the hire car from RSA.
Full list of sentences
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Insurance giant Esure pockets £55m in sneaky customer fees - more than from home and motor policies combined.
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Author: Ida Axling
Source: Insurance Age | 08 Mar 2016
Categories: Broker, Insurer, Regulation
Tags: Government | Legislation | Insurance Act
Lawyers Colin Wynter and Stuart Hill explain the possible pitfalls for brokers ahead of the implementation of the Insurance Act.
The Insurance Act contains potential pitfalls for brokers, Colin Wynter and Stuart Hill, partners at law firm Wynterhill have warned.
Hill told Insurance Age that the Act, which comes into force in August this year, would bring into focus the act of gathering information for disclosure to insurers in a way which is "wholly different from what has gone before".
"The intent of the Act was to remedy what everyone perceived to be the great injustice that if someone failed to disclose something wholly innocently which the insurer could have dealt with by a minor tweak of the policy wording, the insurer was still able to walk away from the contract entirely," he explained.
"And anyone can see that that was unfair. In their attempt to deal with that a whole host of different issues have now been raised."
Wynter and Hill mentioned the new rules regarding duty of fair presentation as a potential trap for brokers, explaining that every policyholder will now have to go through a "reasonable search" before presenting the risk to the insurer.
"The question is going to be, because the Act gives you no guidance, what constitutes a reasonable search," Hill said.
Wynter added: "What is meant to make things more clear can actually make them more complicated because 'reasonable' means nothing or everything. It's one of those words which can be flexible or it can be devastatingly important."
The lawyers warned that it was unclear whether the nature of the search would change depending on the size and sophistication of the company and whether it needed to include an electronic document search.
"One of the things that people have trumpeted as an advantage in the Act is this idea that insurers are now put under an obligation to ask questions about incomplete information," Hill continued.
"The trap within that is if the insureds start relying on that [question asking], insurers will say they didn't ask the question because the client's claims presentation wasn't clear enough. So actually you start moving to a separate breach on top of the breach about the fact that something hasn't been disclosed."
Insurance Age has previously reported on the regulatory burden on smaller brokers after Craig Tracey, Conservative MP for North Warwickshire said they were being pushed out of the market.
According to Hill, the Insurance Act could add to that burden.
"The smaller brokers who don't address the challenges within this Act are potentially exposing themselves to claims and the smaller brokers who address themselves to the challenges of this Act are going to find themselves spending a lot of time and effort on it," he said.
"If that kind of work is driving people out of the market, which one can understand, then this may be problematic."
In conclusion, Wynter and Hill noted that the most important thing for brokers to do was to make sure they were in a position to explain, in considerable detail, how they went about gathering the information for presentation to underwriters and how they put that presentation together.
"When you look at the language that has been used in this Act it is actually pregnant with the potential for disputes because of the use of concepts such as ‘reasonable'," Hill stated.
"Insurers will have their lawyers working hard on their wordings and on their claims to ensure that notwithstanding this repositioning of the battlefield they are in as good a position to chase away the claims that they don't want as they ever have been."
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