Friday, July 23, 2010

A Diversity Tax ?

This blog, way back.

One of my hobby-horses is the question of culture. For some reason UK liberals believe (or claim to) that, no matter whence you hail, the moment you set foot on UK soil the mystic properties of Old Albion (or Cymru or Alba or Erin) flow up through your shoes and make you just like the natives - in terms of your propensity to evil. But in the case of your propensity to good, all the good bits of your culture magically stay, enriching the poor natives by the power of diversity.
My car insurance, which includes a 20 year old and an 18 year old, has gone up by about 25% this year.

The cost of car insurance has grown at its fastest rate, in large part due to a rise in fraudulent claims, according to data released today.

Cases of insurance fraud have been on the rise since the recession began. Figures to be published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) later this week are expected to show that these are still on the rise. As it is, the ABI puts the total cost to the industry of undetected general insurance claims fraud at £2bn per year. This adds around £40 a year to the insurance premiums paid by all policyholders.

The most common and costly form of general insurance claims fraud is "opportunistic retail fraud". This is where individuals exaggerate or inflate genuine claims to increase the value of a payout.

But there has also been a big rise in organised fraud, where criminal gangs work to systematically defraud insurers. The most common way of doing this is via a "cash for crash" scam, where criminals stage accidents, typically at roundabouts, by slamming their brakes on suddenly causing the car behind to crash into them. The fraudsters then claim for the cost of repair or replacement of their vehicle on the innocent driver's insurance. At a high court case in February, an organised ring of "cash for crash" insurance fraudsters was ordered to pay its victims almost £400,000 after seven insurers joined together and successfully sued the fraud ring.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau estimated in 2008 (pdf) that "Such payouts are potentially costing the average policy holder an extra 5 percent on their premium every year."

I wonder if it's gone up since then ?

I've been looking at "cash for crash" since 2006.

The "cash for crash" number one hotspot was Blackburn, where there have been 1,710 incidents over the last seven years, according to figures from the recently-formed Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).

The next worst locations were Bradford (1,669 incidents), Birmingham (1,510), Oldham (1,034), Bolton (986) and Manchester (979). The scam was first spotted in North West of England but had now spread to London and the South East, said the IFB.
In May 2010 Direct Line released the Top Ten cfc hotspots by physical location :

  1. Centenary Way, Trafford Park, Manchester
  2. Haslingden roundabout, Junction 5, M65
  3. Scotland Road roundabout, Junction 13, M65
  4. Gannow Top roundabout, Cavalry Way, Burnley
  5. Eden Point roundabout, A34, Stockport
  6. Denham roundabout, M40
  7. Jarman Park, A414, Hemel Hempstead
  8. Parkway Uxbridge Road A312 / A4020
  9. Port Way / Strand Road junction , Preston
  10. Junction 24 roundabout, M25
Still heavily biased towards Preston/Blackburn/Burnley. I see Southall, Slough (Denham - or is that an unwarranted assumption and it's people from Gerrards Cross ?) and Luton in the mix, too.

I trust when our rulers calculate "the enormous economic benefits of immigration" (pdf) that such factors are being taken into account.

Being able to count on a basic standard of honesty is a great economic good - because it means there's no requirement for a huge compliance overhead (to be fair, honesty among the Native Brits has also declined rapidly over the last 50 years, if the crime figures are anything to go by). The same applies even more in voting, and in spades when it comes to the administration of justice :

A Crown Prosecutor and barrister has admitted dropping cases for cash.
I am not one who is easily shocked, but this is something that I would have found incredible at first sight. This man has betrayed so much that our society values that I can only expect the judge to hand down the most severe sentence when the time comes.
None so blind as those that will not see, eh ?