An acquaintance once told me, that when he visited the city of Dallas in Texas, a friend proudly showed him around what was his home town.
He pointed to the an enormous, tall building in the city and said: “That was built by the biggest industry in the state of Texas.”
“Oil,” my friend muttered confidently.
“No,” his guide said, laughing. “Insurance.”
This week, Lloyds, the insurance giant, posted profits of £2.3 billion for the first half of the year.
That’s nice for them.
Not great for a lot of their customers I’ll bet.
So how come profits are so high this year?
Well, here’s one reason.
Head office told its 99 top member syndicated to “ditch the worst performing 10% of their business.”
Roughly translated, that means people who need insurance most and are most likely to claim.
I know we have a bit of a problem in this country with judges who seem to think that, if someone is involved in 25 motor accidents, that they are ‘unfortunate’ rather than dishonest.
I know that some judges thinks when someone slips on a wet floor for the tenth time, they’re just unlucky.
It doesn’t stop insurance companies making a lot of money.
They pay out when they have to. Which isn’t always.
Another friend, who works in the industry here, said that, generally, when a claim is made the claimant is told to f-off in the politest possible terms. It will be something to do with clause 37 in subsection B.
If they persist, they will be told to f-off again, because the claim is out of time or some form or other wasn’t filled correctly or some such.
If they go on with the claim, they’re told, once more to f-off, some utterly spurious reason being quoted as to why.
If they still go on, they’ll be paid.
“We find that by the time you’ve told claimants to f-off three times, most of them have,” my friend said.
Personally, I remember when we were burgled and virtually cleaned out.
I claimed for everything – including ten bottles of spirits we had received as gifts. We were robbed ten days before Christmas.
“Were they all full?” the assessor asked.
We said they were. And then my wife remembered that one of her sisters had one glass of Bacardi.
“How much would that be?” he asked.
We said about four euro.
And that four euro was deducted from our claim!
Yes of course we have to clamp down on fraudsters making claims. It would be my pleasure if I can ever do so.
And yes, judges have to be taken into a dark toom where the real world – as opposed to the one they live in – can be explained to them.
But insurance companies too need to be taken aside and told to cop themselves on and to stop ripping people off.
I think there’s a good chance of the first of those three things happening.
There’s a slight chance of the second.
But, for some reason, I don’t think there’s much prospect of the third.