In Praise of Insurance (really).

I wouldn’t normally devote blog-space to singing the praises of large financial institutions, but in this case it seems deserved.

Regular readers (there’s a delusional concept that always makes me chuckle) may recall me signing off a couple of posts ago with the news that my treasured Cannondale F4 had been stolen, and that I was awaiting the response of the insurance company with interest. ‘With interest’ in this case being a euphemism for ‘not a great deal of optimism’. I assumed that the claim would be scrutinised and challenged to within an inch of its life, and that once the age of the bike, depreciation and the rest had been taken into account, any settlement I received would barely cover the cost of a new pogo-stick, let alone a replacement bike.

How wrong can you be?

Our bikes are insured under our household insurance policy, for a relatively small add-on premium, with Axa Insurance. In view of the way they dealt with my claim, I’m happy to give them a namecheck. Once I’d let them have all the details of the bike, the theft, the police incident number, etc, they passed the claim over to another company, called Wheelies, who specialise in bike replacement on behalf of insurance companies. Cash settlements, it would appear, are becoming a thing of the past. Bike thefts, however, are as prevalent as they’ve ever been, if not more so, which I guess is what has led to the emergence of this sort of specialist service.

Wheelies are a big online bicycle retailer; the insurance/bike replacement service is just one aspect of their business, so they do know their bikes. They took details of everything that had been stolen – not just the bike, but any accessories that were attached (there were a few) – and tried to find as close a match as possible from their enormous stock. The F4 is no longer manufactured, I knew that, so they suggested the nearest current equivalent, which turned out to be a Cannondale Trail 1. They sent me a link to check it out on their website, then once I had agreed this model as a replacement, they arranged for it to be delivered, and contacted Axa to inform them that the claim had been settled. Simple as that; an exemplary resolution.

The whole process was not only way more efficient and hassle-free than I’d anticipated, but fast, too. Just under a week after the theft, the brand-new replacement bike (+ accessories) was delivered to my door. The bike is a beaut, although it was a while before I plucked up the nerve to leave it anywhere unattended (it just looked far too nick-able). Needless to say, I’ve ramped up my security system considerably in the meantime, and invested in a couple of seriously heavy-duty locks, both of which I now use at all times. Once bitten, twice shy.

I haven’t forgotten that this is supposed to be an image-based blog, so here’s an iPad drawing of the hardware in question:


Right, that’s enough insurance talk; we’ll get back to our usual, mildly-NSFW content next time. ‘Til then.


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