When Foster the vulture created a flap by escaping from a Norfolk zoo, one company had more reason than most to keep a beady eye on the bird's plight.

Staff at Bury St Edmunds broker Alliance Insurance manage the corporate risk management contract for Foster and his zoo.

Alliance managing director John McLaren-Stewart takes up the story: "When one of my colleagues started talking about insurance and vultures, I thought he was making an ascerbic comment about the state of the industry. It was only later that the penny dropped."

Foster enjoyed near-celebrity status by evading capture for seven days, until his handler coaxed him down from his temporary perch on a vicarage rooftop and back to the safety of Banham Zoo. Foster's happy landing was also good news for Alliance since it didn't have to pay out for any claim.