Insurers have been accused of many things over the years, but ruining Christmas has not been one of them, until now.

The Halesowen and Rowley Regis Rotary Club was given an early dose of festive cheer when its insurer declared that Santa, despite the collision-avoiding properties of his beard, was at unacceptable risk while cruising in his Land Rover-pulled sleigh at 5mph.

Either the joyriding Santa must belt up, or face a £200 hike in his premium – much to the chagrin of club president, Barry Wheeler.

“[Santa] would be more likely to injure himself getting in and out of the sleigh than actually falling out of it.”

Backchat suggests that would depend on how many sherries he’s guzzled.

Santa has now been issued with a safety harness. “It somewhat takes the magic out of it,” added Wheeler, “but at least we can carry on.”

The ABI insisted that the issue was about saving Santa from would-be humbug inflictors, hell-bent on playing chicken with reindeer.

Backchat wonders why Santa hasn’t considered delivering a sack-full of insurance policies this year instead – including his own.