The Money Shot – 13 July, 2012

The Mayans - predictors of 'profound change', apparently
  • | by Kristian Dando


Nothing galls quite like the assumption that you’re a total liability. Especially when it ends up costing you a small fortune.

But for British drivers, who’ve been slapped with ever-increasing car insurance premiums year-on-year, it can often feel like they’re just presumed to be a high-risk case, particularly if they’re young or have only just passed their test.

If only there was some way of telling your insurer: “LOOK, I’M NOT AN IDIOT DRIVER, ALL RIGHT? SEE? I AM NOT GOING TO CRASH MY CAR, CAUSE ANYBODY A WHIPLASH INJURY OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. WELL, PROBABLY”. Wouldn’t that be grand? And wouldn't it be great if you could give evidence to back it up?

Well, it turns out there is. It’s called telematics or ‘black box’ car insurance, and it’s becoming quite a bit deal if figures released this week by BIBA are anything to go by. That’s the British Insurance Brokers’ Association, not the ever-so-creepy Canadian teenage pop sensation by the way.

The whole system works with satellite technology, which can allow your insurer to monitor your driving habits. So, if you’re frequently driving over the speed limit, cornering too aggressively or treating your brakes to a bit of lead-footed action, your insurer will tell you about it. It’s got the potential to be an absolute boon for younger drivers, who are being subjected to car insurance quotes which can price them off the road entirely.

It reckons that over 180,000 motorists now have insurance policies such as this. Of course, of the 37 million full licence holders that the DVLA reckons are on Britain’s roads, this is just a drop in the ocean. But, considering that three years ago there were only 12,000 drivers with telematics policies in Britain, it’s safe to say that this rise is in the realms of the exponential – about 1,500%.

Of course, lots of drivers might have a few qualms about having their insurer keeping tabs on where and when they’re driving. Some of the Money Shot’s late-night ventures into the less salubrious locations of Cardiff certainly take a lot of explaining...

Scott Kelly, resident car insurance expert at and card-carrying telematics enthusiast, reckons that once the bigger insurance brands throw their weight behind telematics it’ll get even more popular. “The increase is evidence of the general public’s appetite to embrace technology in order to reduce their insurance premiums,” said Kelly. “This clearly indicates the public’s willingness to consider these products as alternatives to more traditional policies, even against a backdrop of poor awareness of the products, and the fact no big insurance or retail brands have got behind them yet.

“Once the big brands and recognised insurance companies get on board, a tipping point could be reached sooner than we think.”

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Quote of the week

The o2 customer service Twitter account has had a busy week.


If there’s anything that going to the pictures has taught the Money Shot, it’s that ‘private security companies’ usually aren’t the most trustworthy of outfits, and are generally a bit sinister.

G4S are the private security firm contracted to keep the Olympics safe. The management fees which the firm has been charging have risen 10 times faster than the rate they’ve been taking on staff, according to a report from the Daily Telegraph. So it came as a surprise this week when it transpired that 3,500 military personnel are to be drafted in, as G4S don’t have sufficient staff to keep the games safe.

Home Secretary Theresa May (not that one) said that soldiers’ families would receive tickets to Olympic events by way of compensation. The Money Shot isn’t so sure that some complimentary seats to watch the synchronised swimming finals will do much to quell the misery of servicemen’s cancelled holidays …


Banks aren’t just there to provide fodder for supposedly amusing weekly personal finance emails, you know. Although, given the events of the past few weeks, you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

One of their major functions is to lend money, but, after being rattled by all that economic crisis business a few years ago, they haven’t been particularly forthcoming with the dough. That’s despite much cajoling from MPs and the target-driven Project Merlin – which sounds like some sort of hippy art installation you might find at Glastonbury.

But new plans to make more cheap loans available to consumers and businesses might just be the tonic to get the flat-lining economy moving. The Bank of England will make low-cost funds available to banks and building societies. Banks will be able to get their hands on 5% of the amount they currently lend, but, if they increase their lending, they will be able to borrow more. The scheme will kick off in August and run for 18 months.


Home insurance  premiums could rise for everyone, in order to cover costs for flood damage.

Bob Diamond has very reasonably waived his colossal ‘golden goodbye’ from Barclays. The bank has so far failed to follow News’ recruitment advice and sign up Supernanny Jo Frost to replace him.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reckons that ‘the City’ spent a staggering £93m lobbying MPs last year.

Over-50s specialist Saga has branded the plans mooted by some Tory MPs for over-65s to carry on paying National Insurance contributions as “misguided”.

The OFT is set to have a poke around Britain’s banks – namely, how they manage people’s current accounts.


Holiday gone awry? Then have a read of this in-depth guide to claiming on your holiday insurance, courtesy of the inimitable Dave Jenkins.

Furry fortunes abound as Felicity Hannah rounded up 10 cases of fabulously wealthy people leaving their lot to pets.

Could a payday loan stop you getting a mortgage?” pondered Kristian Dando as he rubbed his pathetic bum-fluff beard and sucked on a mint humbug.


The mayor of the German town of Triberg has designated the “more challenging” parking spaces in the town to male motorists, in order to strike a blow against “political correctness”.

Gallus Strobel unveiled a parking plan in which each spot in the town’s main car park was painted with a male or female symbol to show where people could park, based on difficulty ratings. Strobel claims that men are better at manoeuvring cars into challenging spots. "Men are, as a rule, a little better at such challenges,” he told Süddeutsche Zeitung. "Of course, there are also great women drivers! They are, of course, most welcome!"

Join us for another thrilling instalment of THE MONEY SHOT. In the meantime, why not email the editor with your letters. If we print them, you could receive a prized stationery set and an autographed picture of Gio Compario, star of our ad campaign. Three are up for grabs every week. (Promoter: Ltd)

*Marketing magazine’s ‘Most Irritating Advert’ 2009/2010