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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

The deer and the actuary

In March I was driving Jane’s car down a quiet country road in Hampshire when, BANG, the car jolted sideways. I stopped and inspected the car’s front wing where there was a sizeable dent and some, shall we say, excrement. I walked back down the road and came face-to-nuzzle with a small deer looking a bit groggy (you know, the way deer do when they have just banged into the side of your car). The deer was trapped between the road and a fence in about 15 feet of light scrub.

The deer decided not to give me its name or the name of its insurer and bounded off across the road and away. Jane subsequently had the dent repaired.

On the renewal of my own insurance policy on my own car (not Jane’s) there was a question: ‘… have you or your spouse… had any loss/incidents in connection with a motor vehicle?’ and, being of honest mien, I confessed. The lady on the other end of the phone said: ‘I shall put that down as “Driver hit animal”.’ I protested. ‘The animal hit me – on the side of the car!’ ‘I shall consult’, she said and put me on hold. ‘That will be an increase in premium of 7%’, she said.

After my struggling to restrain an expletive, she explained to me that the incident counted as an unrecoverable loss as the deer did not cough up for the cost of the damage.

I can’t wait for Treating Customers Fairly to arrive in general insurance!