Is Peter Wood poised to reacquaint himself with former colleague Neil Utley? It seems that, prompted by some stock market movement, tongues are wagging in the motor sector .

Shortly after the deal of the century, when Lloyd's gave Cox the chance to ring-fence its commercial liabilities, HBOS - Peter Woods' employers - bought a sizable chunk of Cox. Sages say that esure would love to buy up some quality underwriters and a distribution network. And that Equity Red Star would fit the bill.

After all esure seems further away than ever from mounting a series challenge to Churchill and Direct Line, especially as both organisations are branching out.