Archive for March, 2010
I don’t know whether the top brass over at Geico have decided they want to make a play for the title of worst insurance ad ever, but their latest advertisement is a little bizarre. Seemingly taking inspiration from the ‘Howard’ Halifax ads, featuring their own staff singing, they have certainly added a slice of highly processed American Cheese.
The most notable feature of the ad is not the everyman workforce, nor the guitar playing gecko. The most memorable image is the sight of 79 year-old billionaire investor Warren Buffett, the ‘Sage of Omaha’ making a guest appearance dressed as Axl Rose.
Although well known as an investor in brands such as Kraft, Coca Cola, Tesco and Fruit of the Loom, amongst a huge portfolio of stocks owned by Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway, he also has a large number of insurance holdings, including owning Geico and General Re outright.
Funnily enough, I think Buffett may be a closet petrolhead, one of his earliest attempts to make money was a car detailing enterprise he founded as a young man (I don’t think americans had heard of modified car insurance in the 1950s though), and last year he helped bail out Harley Davidson. Insurance giant Swiss Re also benefitted from his largesse following the credit crunch to the tune of £1.8bn. There have also been persistent rumours that he might bid for the RBS Insurance assets if they come onto the market again, as expected – let’s hope the Direct Line ads don’t go the same way as this.
Aviva are set to pay out the biggest car damage insurance claim in history after a Pagani Zonda S was crashed on a test drive.
The accident happened in September last year when a test drive near Aberdeen went wrong, the car spun out of control on a country road and hit a telephone poll before smashing through a fence. The Italian supercar was adjudged to be repairable by Aviva and so they’ve had it sent back to the factory in Modena, Italy to undergo some pretty serious repairs.
The cars are not cheap as are built from carbon fibre, titanium and aircraft aluminium,they cost around £500k and around 10 are made every year. The Zonda S is also insanely quick, it has a 7.3 V12 Mercedes AMG engine with 550 hp, it can rip from 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds and 0-100mph is done in under 8.
A spokesperson for Aviva told the BBC, “This is the biggest insurance payout we have had for repairs to a private car in the UK.”
The test driver made the claim not the owner of the car, which has saved his wallet somewhat. Not only would that have ruined his no claims bonus but also a £300,000 fault claim would hike your supercar insurance premium up rather a lot.
Long time readers will notice that something looks very different. It goes beyond having a new theme – we’ve migrated from Google’s Blogger service, which we’ve been using since we started the blog in 2006. We had to do this, as Google are discontinuing FTP publishing, We’ve switched to WordPress, which also powers influx, everybodys favourite online car magazine, which gives us the benefit of all the plugins and tweaks available for the platform.
We’re hoping there aren’t too many issues caused by the migration, but the blog has too many pages to check individually these days, so if you do find any broken links or iffy formatting, please drop me a line via the comments, and bear in mind that we still have a few things to fix.
In other news, we’re really pleased to have been named as one of the top 10 UK insurance blogs by our friends at Insiders View. It’s a great honour to be mentioned in the same breath as full time pros like the Times and Guardian money blogs, as well as Jasmine Birtle’s Money Magpie, and other top reads.
Like I say, we hope everything works out, but as with all paint jobs, disaster is only a slight error away and one false move can lead to a hefty claim on your car or home insurance…
You would be forgiven for thinking that the world of caravan insurance was not an exciting place. Most of us have a stereotype of the average caravan owner lodged in our subconscious, and the insurance industry does not fare much better. So the intersection of the two becomes some sort of boredom nexus – a black hole sucking the interestingness froom the rest of the universe.
But the announcement today of the arrest of a gang of caravan thieves, who were responsible for nearly half of the caravan robberies perpetrated in the UK. The members of the gang also stole cars and motorhomes, and were caught in possession of £700,000 worth of caravans.
Leaving aside the question of what kind of people could possibly want £700,000 worth of caravans (they were a family of travellers) and how they managed to hide all those caravans from the Top Gear production staff for so long, the case does present many interesting aspects (bearing in mind we are still talking about caravans).
The thefts took place between 2004 and 2007, giving police the chance to measure the effect of the arrests on the rate of caravan thefts, and after they were detained, thefts of caravans fell from 848 to 454 in a year.
No less than 19 police forces were involved in the operation to catch the villains but the bad news is that with sentences of four to five years, and given that the perpetrators seem to have spent a large part of the intervening time on remand, they could well be back on the streets before too long. So with that in mind here are some caravan security tips.
1.) Several of the caravans stolen were taken from driveways. For this kind of theft, physical security products are ideal. Hitch locks, wheel clamps, corner locks, ground anchors and security posts all operate in different ways, but the aim is the same – preventing opportunist thieves from making an easy getaway. Any of these products on their own will be an improvement on no security, but using multiple devices in combination makes things that much harder for a thief. You’ll want to look for the Sold Secure marker.
2.) Tags and Trackers – Security markers, electronic tags (fitted as standard to many caravans) and tracking devices, and although they may not stop a theft from happening, they significantly increase the chances of your caravan being returned to you in the event that it is stolen. Note that caravan trackers are different to the car variety, designed to run from the leisure battery.
3.) Caravan alarms – as well as protecting your contents, these are designed to go off when someone hooks up the road lights.
Any of these can help you secure a reduction in your caravan insurance premium, but there are other precautions you can consider too. Several of the thefts were from motorway service areas, so when you stop for a rest break, consider whether someone should remain with the caravan. If this is not possible think about where you park and consider applying security devices if your stop is going to be a long one. You can also consider how you park, and park in a way that makes theft harder.
I promised you excitement, but for caravan owners, excitement is not necessarily a great thing…