You have to pity these poor chief executives of massive insurance companies.

They slave away all day long and at the end of a long day get lambasted for taking home fat cat pay deals.

But all this is changing. Over at Zurich Financial Services, for example, about 30% of the top bosses' pay is linked to the company's stock market performance.

That's not good when you remember that ZFS shares are worth less than a quarter of their value two years ago.

Patrick O'Sullivan, chief executive of Zurich UK, is rueful.

"All the focus is on people being overpaid. You don't hear stories about people being underpaid," he said.

But he stops short of eliciting sympathy.

Asked if he considered himself underpaid, he just laughs.

And the words 'fat cat' never cross his lips.