27 August 2012


The events of the past few days haven't really told me anything I didn't already know but they've certainly reminded me of a few things.

I'll begin at Manchester Airport, backing very slowly out of a parking space at Terminal 1. The guy opposite backs out at the same time, we meet in the middle, bumper to bumper, with a small thud. We both get out, examine our cars. Mine is undamaged, I've been slapped harder on my backside and laughed. My car is made of strong plastic, at least that bit is. Americans use bumpers to check when they're parked, the British consider it bad etiquette to touch someone else's car with their own but, hey, the manufacturers don't differentiate.

I say 'My car is fine, how about yours?'

Unsurprisingly, he searches in vain for some dint, dent, depression, scratch, blemish on the arse of his BMW 1 series and replies 'No damage on mine.'

I say 'We've been lucky, then' wave goodbye and narrowly avoid him doing the same thing again.

A woman from my insurance company rings and tells me I've damaged someone's car, they've made a claim and they intend to settle it. My premium will be affected, but not until renewal.

I ask how can this be possible and relate the events above to her. She says that its normal procedure, they pay up if there's no independant witnesses. I am appalled and say so.

The insurance company call me again a few days later. The claim has escalated. The guy is claiming whiplash injury. When I pick myself up from the floor I enquire how can this possibly be?

The whole thing is explained to me by a man who deals with hundreds of claims at a time. My friend tells me that the dealership would have advised the claimant to have a new bumper, at least. They would have given him a car while his was being 'fixed' on condition that he contacts the no win no fee lawyers they recommend. The lawyers advise him to claim for whiplash. This way he gets a new bumper, a free hire car and a few thousand pounds. The car dealer gets the money for fitting a new bit and they also get a fat referral fee from the lawyers. The lawyers get a nice big earner out of the case.

I begged the insurance man to fight the case. The words lying toerag and scumbag lawyers were used but not, I hasten to add, by me. He told me it cost £30,000 to bring a case like this to court and with little prospect of success. These days, the courts rely on court fees from local solicitors like these and if a judge decides to dismiss cases he can be quickly moved on. As it's a big bad insurance company against a poor injured victim, very few do.

The lying toerag, and please remember it wasn't me that called him that, had not sought medical attention, nor had he taken time off work. I asked how then could he possibly stand up in court and expect to be believed. Medical evidence is the answer. The lawyers have a medical specialist who issues a certificate saying the man is injured. This doctor earns huge sums issuing certificates for these lawyers and can be relied on to deliver.

So, in a nutshell, everyone's a winner. Apart from the insurance industry of course. But aren't they big fat cats, awash with money? Yes they are. And it doesn't bother them all that much, they pay up and move on, adding the cost to the premiums they charge.

In other words, the lying toerag and his posse of corrupt professionals are robbing you and I. That's where the money comes from. We have to pay.

The car dealers get richer, the lawyers get even richer, the courts get paid for, the doctor gets very wealthy indeed. I almost forgive lying toerag in the face of all that competition.

The next time you pay your insurance, they are all robbing you.

What am I going to do about it?

First, I'll never buy a BMW but that's not hard.

Second, I'll never use those ambulance chasing scumbag lawyers, neither will I support them in any way. If, for example, they want to rent my empty office space, I'll politely decline.

Thirdly, I'll remain true to myself and not be influenced to lie and cheat even if someone makes it worth my while. I know it will be hard but if I'm going to change the world I have to start with myself.