Archive for October, 2008

Now for something completely… supersonic

Here at the Flux office we’re used to hearing about the different weird and wonderful vehicles around these days, such as the incredible solar powered car Dave Wilson blogged about in July.

However, it’s certainly not every day you hear about a car boasting theoretical top speeds of more than 17 times the UK national speed limit! For those of you without a calculator handy or who just can’t work out 60 multiplied by 17 in your head, that is just over 1,000mph – a little too fast for our roads. No?

So it’s hardly surprising to discover this isn’t a car for… well, normal car drivers. Called the Bloodhound SSC (Super Sonic Car), it’s powered by a rocket bolted to a Eurofighter-Typhoon engine (those aircraft are seriously fast!), and it’s this rocket/jet engine combination RAF pilot Andy Green hopes will allow him and his team to break their own land speed record, set in 1997.

The team hope to smash their previous record of 763mph in 2011; in the mean time I’m willing to bet there’ll be a lot of talk and speculation about the project. Good luck guys!

National Customer Service Week – the Winners!

As mentioned previously, the 6th to the 10th October was National Customer Service Week. To celebrate, we gave away prizes to the Customer Service staff, as well as three lucky clients. Staff were awarded prizes if their customer feedback scores were first, second or third out of their team (and trust me, there’s an awful lot of staff, so to come in the top three is an achievement!)

Congratulations to the four overall winners, who were Julie Jackson (bikes), Donna Shepperson (claims), Jade Downes (sterling and cherished) and Sam Mills (SV and gold). All of them provide such a top notch service that they received way over 9 out of 10 on their surveys. Well done!

And now to the fun …  here are some pics of our fun and games winners with their ‘creations’.

That’s all for now …  thanks to all of the Customer Service staff for taking part and having some fun and games at the same time. Same time next year!

Economy problems – can they help us?

Actually, yes! Don’t believe me? Read on…

I’ve been following the gloomy global financial crisis for several weeks, mainly using some of the information available on BBC’s news website. Reports of retail spending falling, entire industries grinding to a halt and banking systems being crippled have dominated the headlines recently, and it affects us all in many ways.

The price of crude oil has today fallen to $66 a barrel, the Guardian says, its lowest level since August 2007! Gordon Brown is noted to be calling for pump cost cuts and asked retailers to follow Asda and Morrisons’ kind example – drop prices from the UK’s average £1.07 to 99.9p per litre.

So if you’re feeling the pinch at the moment – and many of us are – one way you can save a bit of money is to hop along to – if you’re not already a member, they can tell you the cheapest prices in your area. It’s free to register and I often check the latest prices on there!

Be clever about when you fill up and where, and you could save yourself a small fortune!

Car insurance in your Mum’s name? Ten tips for Young Drivers

We’ve mentioned this before, but a recent article in the Independent on Sunday has nicely highlighted how the practice of getting insurance under a parent’s (or other relative’s) name, known in our industry as ‘fronting’ could leave you severely out of pocket.

Representatives from Zurich, More Than (Royal Sun Alliance’s consumer brand) and Norwich Union (currently being rebranded to Aviva) were wheeled out warning that fronting is a bad idea for all concerned.

Keith Lewis from Zurich said:

“Not only can it lead to a claim being refused but also both the young person and their parents can be charged with insurance fraud.”

wheras moreth>n’s Keith Maxwell adds

“One of the first things we check when a claim comes in is whether there has been any fronting. It’s not a wise move.”

So what can young drivers do about bringing down the cost of car insurance. The distinguished panel share some tips:

“The quickest way to cut this is by building up a no-claims bonus [in your own name], which can ultimately reduce premiums by half to two-thirds.” Keith Maxwell (morethan)

“This is the passport to cheaper premiums. It’s best to bite the bullet and start building it up as quickly as possible,” adds Erik Nelson (NU)

Agreed. It’s worth pointing out that although you will pay more in the short term, if you steer clear of too many claims, you will save money in the long run – especially when it is time to leave the family home.

“Look at taking the Pass Plus driving course. This advanced qualification can bring discounts of 10 per cent on premiums.” Erik Nelson (NU)

The Passplus course will save you money, but NU seem to be a bit stingy here. Some of our schemes offer a discount of up to 40% for Pass Plus qualified drivers.

“We offer a rapid bonus scheme. Basically, you insure the car in a block of nine months, at the end of which you are credited with a full year’s no-claims bonus,” Erik Nelson (NU)

What Mr Nelson doesn’t mention, is that these “Bonus Accelerator” policies, also touted by Admiral/Elephant, often have a few drawbacks. Frequently they charge you a higher monthly fee for 10 months than you would pay on a twelve monthly basis. Secondly, this undermines the basis of No Claims discount somewhat, and, as a result, some companies are reluctant to accept bonus from these accelerator policies. Companies, which have, in the past included such well known names as .. er.. Norwich Union! Quote from the thread linked above

“It seems a bit confusing as I got a quote from Norwich Union with 1 years NCB for £327 but when I spoke to them on the phone and tolod them it was a 10 month BAP, they said they didn’t recognise it and could only quote me over £500.”

Norwich Union have clearly changed their mind since then.

More Than and Norwich Union, have both run “Black Box” powered Pay as You Drive schemes, although, as Mr Nelson explains, Norwich Union have had to cancel these.

“We had hoped … that the car manufacturers would start offering the GPS boxes as standard. Ultimately, the expense meant we had to call a pause.”

Another thing we’ve been saying for a while, is that these schemes are using technology for its own sake – drivers who don’t drive as far can benefit from discounts on a limited mileage policy without having to submit to curfews or corporate snooping.

“Go for a smaller car in a low insurance group. And consider if you should go with third party, fire and theft cover rather than fully comprehensive, and whether you need the car for commuting or just leisure driving.” Keith Lewis, Zurich

This is all very sensible stuff. If your car is low value (let’s face it, most people start off with a banger) TPFT is the most sensible level of cover. We made a list of the ten cheapest cars for young drivers, but there are others that fit the common theme – low engine capacity, small cars with ready availability of cheap parts.

“Younger drivers will have an excess imposed, but by agreeing to a slightly larger one, the premiums can be cut.” Keith Maxwell (Morethan)

Very true. A voluntary excess can reduce the premium, but be careful not to raise it too high, as if you have an accident you may have to fork out the amount of your excess before you can get back on the road.

So, some good tips, and some iffy ones from the major insurers, but I have a few more young driver car insurance tips that might help out:

  1. Join an owners club or online forum. This can bring you a discount of up to 15% on a policy, easily covering any membership fees with the insurance saving.
  2. Take extra security precautions to reap an extra discount. So fit the best alarm you can, and try and persuade your dad to let you keep your car in the garage.
  3. Can’t find a PassPlus near you? Well there are plenty about, but perhaps you might find a more convenient venue doing the IAM or Max Driver courses. Don’t worry – we do discounts for those as well.
  4. Be wary of comparison sites. As you’ve seen above, some companies will try and foist a 10 month ‘accelerator’ policy. Another advantage to the companies pushing these is that it gives them an unfair advantage on aggregator sites if everyone else is offering 12 month policies – remember they are offering around 17% less cover. It is always best to include a specialist broker or two when it comes to ringing around. You will usually find that you end up paying less over the phone than you do online – despite what you might think.

To speak to a specialist now, you can call us on 08000 83 88 33.

National Customer Service Week!

This week, the 6th to the 10th of October, is National Customer Service Week. Seeing that I’m the Customer Service Manager, it’s a great week for me and my team!

We are rewarding the staff this week with prizes for those who receive the top scores following feedback from our clients. As well as that, we’re having some fun and games – such as writing a poem about customer service, and designing the ultimate phone. So far the entries have been as creative as usual and of course I’ll post some pics when we’ve decided on the winner. My favourite part of the ultimate phone so far has to be the added button where the staff member can transfer a call to the boss himself! Not forgetting of course the built in nail files, mirrors, and drinks dispensers…….. perhaps we’ll take a trip to the Dragon’s Den! I could make my millions……..

Of course, during this week, we want to reward the clients. So there are three prizes up for grabs for anyone that completes our online feedback questionnaire following a call. A £500 weekend away, £100 in High Street Vouchers or £50 in High Street Vouchers could be yours, just be telling us what our service is like!

I’ll keep you posted on the results and the wonders of creativity my staff come up with………

Happy National Customer Service Week!

Please give a warm welcome…

Have you ever tried to write a first post on a blog before, only to discover you’re sat there 6 hours later with a blank screen? Yep, sounds like me! “What on Earth do I write?!” has been a question on my mind for a while now. I’m Paul by the way; I’ve been working at Adrian Flux for 4 years (to the month) and have a wealth of IT and Internet-related knowledge through my ever-progressing career path within the Company. Feel free to wave – that’s me in the picture there…

So why am I blogging?

This year sees my gradual move into the Marketing department, where I have managed to bag myself full responsibility of all of our websites (including this one) – from making sure they stay up and running all day long, to designing and developing new features or maintaining existing ones. It’s not for the faint hearted though, let me tell you! It would seem this responsibility also comes with the requirement to submit blog posts – hang on, that was never in the job description? Was it?!

You may have also experienced some of my work if you’ve recently visited the Flux Babes website – as my annual employee review recently pointed out I’ve provided a new talent for future use by photographing the new Flux Babes all the way back in May!

So that’s an introduction – keep your eyes peeled for more posts from me!