This week, the Insider witnesses an unpleasant scuffle with a certain big-headed insurance mascot
Buffett learns a few moves
UK insurance types might think we party hard, but my old pal Warren Buffett is putting us to shame at the ripe old age of 81. Buffett, who owns Berkshire Hathaway, was spotted partying with the rapper Jay-Z at his new nightclub in New York last week. The rapper has apparently struck up an unlikely friendship with the financial magnate, and the two were spotted joking around until late in the night.
An offer you can’t refuse
I took a well-deserved break from the world of insurance this weekend when I went to the local picture house to see Oscar-tipped film The Artist. As the end credits rolled, I noticed that the insurance was handled by Gallagher Entertainment. Now there’s a side of broking I wish I’d gotten into. Apparently the Gallagher division has also brokered insurance for The Godfather, as well as the Star Wars and the Rocky movies. A far cry from the duties of the average UK broker, but at least they don’t have to worry about the consequences of bruising the egos of Hollywood’s finest.
David’s pub is Brill
As well as keeping busy by running Hyperion, David Howden has another business interest - he owns a pub in the Buckinghamshire village of Brill. Apparently the best bit about being a landlord, according to David, is being able to chuck people out. Presumably being able to have a lock-in whenever you feel like it must be another bonus.
Always worse at sea
As if selling its UK arm was not enough to keep it busy, it seems that Groupama also needs to reapply itself to the noble art of sailing. The insurer sponsors a yacht, Groupama 3, which until recently held the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world under sail. However, this title was snatched by the Banque Populaire 5, which has circled the globe in 45 days, beating the Groupama 3’s record by three days. Quelle horreur!
Sweeter than honey
Talking of the MCE event, many of the brokers there were chatting about the FSA’s £2.2m fine against Direct Line and Churchill for tampering with customer complaint files. How could they be so stupid, they mused. Of course, brokers cherish their customers, many of whom have left for the direct players in recent years, so there was a touch of Schadenfraude.
How to deal with a Big Ed
I did a bit of boxing at Oxford University, and I’m a trained pugilist. Unfortunately there was little finesse in evidence in a recent display of scrapping by MCE’s mascot, Big Ed. The mascot, who wears an outsized crash helmet, was in high spirits when he came out of the cinema following the showing of the MCE-sponsored motorbike season movie I, Superbiker - The Showdown, and he jokingly grabbed a passer-by’s hat. The irate pedestrian lashed out, and, unable to punch Big Ed in the face, he tried to kick his legs instead. Big Ed fended off the blows and the clash eventually petered out. A lesson for anyone ever unfortunate enough to get involved in a fight with Big Ed: kick him in the crown jewels.