We've had bubonic plague, more recently the Sars virus, and now it seems that a new and highly virulent disease is sweeping through the UK. But this time it's affecting underwriters' profits rather then human health.

According to Chubb European personal lines head John Sims, rich people are succumbing in their droves to insurance apathy disease.

So what are the symptoms? There's no rash or nausea, but this pernicious condition causes sufferers not to buy high net worth insurance. Very nasty. So how does one avoid catching it? That appears to be more difficult. The carrier is not a rat or mosquito, it is spread by the industry's "grey" image, says Sims.