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Marrs Insurance Brokers is a trading name of The Not Too Boring Company Ltd. Registered in England & Wales, Registered No. 09026225.

Marrs Insurance Brokers is an appointed representative of TEn Insurance Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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Recent Coffer’s Corners…

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SPRING 2016 - Springer?

Springer? Yes, I know, but it’s not spring any longer and looking out my window it’s not exactly summer either, so I’m hedging my bets.

Anyway, I’m in a very very bad mood so I don’t care if I’m chastised about my choice of season. Let me tell you the reason for my increasingly high blood pressure…

I have for some years, been a Blackberry man - not the fruit, unless it’s in a crumble, with apples, smothered in custard. No reader, I refer instead to the illustrious Blackberry mobile phone to which I’ve been wedded for many a year, having suffered the almost unique mini QWERTY keyboard, so small pixies cannot remain balanced on the keys, but recently melded with a touchscreen to presumably try and compete with the Apples and Samsungs of this world.

Alas it has not proved a major success and all signs Coffer read pointed to a probable demise of the Blackberry at some foreseeable time in the future.

Now, my good lady, AKA The Last Word, AAKA Mrs Right (first name Always) swears by, not at, her Samsung Galaxy – this thing is a marvel of modern science and takes pictures better than her Canon camera can produce, provides easy to operate predictive text features that at the very least supply the recipient with hours of fun and frivolity trying to fathom what she intended to say and generally beats the Blackberry into a cocked hat.

For once I didn’t just go and buy a replacement phone. My healthy fear of the new-fangled being heightened by the fact that every time I attempted to answer my wife’s phone I either cut off the call, forwarded it to someone else in her contact list, or managed to put the caller on speaker rather than kill it so persons worthy of calumny were then privy to any remarks I made about them…

I spoke at length to a chum who is in the communications industry but in a company the size of which means they are still customer focused rather than simply putting you in touch with a virtual guru with whom you can play online ping-pong until you give up, bored and frustrated in equal measure.

He explained very patiently the difference between Android, Apple, Tablet, Laptop etc. etc.

He recommended overall that I went for the i-phone – for reasons of security. Apple it seems, keep everything in-house and so no other software gets a sniff and therefore the operating performance stands little chance of falling over due to a virus or incompatibility issue.

Cue sardonic laughter!   

Fast forward 2 months. I am the proud owner of a spanking new (Gold) i-phone 6S, the Blackberry having been consigned to Silicon Heaven and I have to say it’s pretty amazing – pictures don’t look like I’m standing under a rain cloud when taking them, I can get my e-mails and texts and call people and have them call me – so far so good.

Honeymoon over

Well it couldn’t last could it?Armed with my new phone, I jumped into my car – one I’ve had since 2014. This came with the optional upgrade of a Professional Media pack and not only reads your e-mails and text messages to you as you drive along, but allows you to dictate them back to your contacts also.

Only problem is – the system didn’t like the i-phone – the phone bit worked, but that was about it.

So I called BMW – with some effort they managed to find their website link headed: www.for people who are too stupid to check their new phone will work with their car before they buy it.com

(Obviously that’s not what it was called but that’s what it meant) and I proceeded to enter my car’s VIN number (not so easy as, in the tradition of my highly complicated existence, the BMW Alpina’s have not one, but two VIN numbers), this is a test of one’s ingenuity, I assume, to know which one to enter onto BMW’s system in order that it can tell you that, amazingly, you’ve picked the only phone in the cosmos that won’t work with your car…).

2 weeks of inviting Apple UK to explain why, assuming there may be other BMW owners out there stupid enough to have bought an i-phone before discovering aforementioned site got me nowhere, other than numerous conversations with some very charming technical people with beautiful lilting Irish accents who suggested apps (This is Tecchie - and anyone under 40 - Speak for ‘Applications’ which are added to your phone after purchase to enhance your experience) such as ‘BMW Connect’ (it didn’t) and BMW Link (it wouldn’t) and,after several hours of my life I will never get back, I deduced that Apple had no idea but clearly this wasn’t BMW’s fault as BMW were quite happy talking to Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Sony, LG and even ones I dare say you’ve never heard of like Huawei and MS Lumia but sadly - like a banana split - devoid of anything remotely resembling an Apple…

I called my phone supplier who informed me in tones just a tad too cheerful for someone who had just blown the cost of a 2 year contract on what has become a very expensive 2nd camera, he suggested I should buy a new phone, but the i-phone still had a ‘dollar value’  - clearly he was younger than I and thought this was encouraging news…

So after another round of interminable web cruising, I arrived at a site where for £359.20 I could buy a new Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge – this would not only sync with my car system, but recite my e-mails and texts in loving tones, plus take a decent photo and allow me to make and receive calls. My nearly new i-phone could, I was assured on yet another website, be sold for £405 (so maybe there was an upside to this!).

Not yet – the phone seller when I called it had a message stating that due to ‘technical difficulties’ their phone system was not working so all purchases need to be online. I tried this, and Nat West immediately blocked my debit card due to ‘possible fraudulent transactions on the account’.

The transaction hadn’t gone through and at this moment I’ve just come off the phone to the Bank’s fraud team (this was a struggle in itself) to ensure they didn’t cancel my debit card because it hadn’t been used fraudulently when all I want is for THE VENDORS TO CALL ME AND SELL ME A ()$%^)^£ PHONE!!!!

Assuming I don’t strangle myself with my own carotid artery in the very near future, I should be calmer once the new phone arrives and I can get things working as they should be again.

Acutely aware I’ve spoken not a peep about insurance, instead wishing to get the whole sorry tale of how frustrating, annoying and costly living in today’s world has become (at least for me), I will leave you with one sobering thought:

In a recent survey amongst the good and great in the Insurance Broking world, the majority of Brokers who cared to offer an opinion said that there was more chance of their clients suffering loss due to a cyber-attack than having a fire.

You don’t have to be a big player like a bank or supermarket chain to be nobbled. Small businesses hold client’s records. Accountants very often will have National Insurance numbers held on their system and numerous others retain debit and credit card and bank account details, often with very little security to protect them against being hacked.

Such white collar crime can only increase. Make sure your business has cover for your own loss and from claims against you by others whose data you hold has been compromised. Stand-alone products are starting to emerge but it’s been a struggle - and not all of them are worth buying. Be aware!

Going to lie down in a dark room now…