Football shirts, fitness and wedding cover...a week in the life of Backchat Insider

When the news first broke about AIG’s financial woes, the question on many lips was: “what about the football shirts”? Yes, sacrilegious as it might seem, the world’s biggest insurer is best known on this side of the pond for its sponsorship of Manchester United. And while all else has failed, this has still provided some pride and joy.

So imagine my surprise when I tripped down to AIG’s City office only to find that the Man U picture that graces the central wall in reception had been taken down. It’s back up now and the official line is that it was to protect it from those G20 lunatics.

Alex Ferguson’s emotions must have gone from joy to despair. Free to believe at last that his beloved team would be slowly losing the AIG brand, only to find out it was all just a mirage. We do live in a cruel world.

. . . and at the CII

As I settle down in my armchair, smoking Cuba’s finest and with a nice glass of vino, I am reminded of my sporting days at Eton. How I hated running around in baggy shorts when I could have been spending my teenage years enjoying the finer things in life.

So why the painful flashbacks? Well, my ruddy-faced dear friend Sandy Scott, the chief executive of the CII, has taken a liking to sport and health. Apparently, he’s as fit as a flea, jogging harder and longer than ever before. Started fishing regularly. Even eats well and drinks frugally. He’s also an ex-military man who used to skin live rabbits for breakfast.

Good for him. I could do with a health kick myself – me and half the London market.

League of gentlemen

Hearty congratulations to the nine insurance companies that netted themselves a place in The Sunday Times’ league table of Britain’s 100 private companies with the fastest-growing profits measured over the past three years. Not surprisingly, the consolidators did well. Towergate came 67th, but was pipped to the post by Giles which, at an impressive number nine, was the fastest-growing insurance company on the list. Andy Homer and Peter Cullum will be looking over their shoulders!

Wedding blues

As I am happily wed to Mrs Insider, I don’t need to worry too much about the news that more and more wedding days are being ruined by hotels or suppliers going bust.

But I can’t help but spare a thought for the brides who broker Somerville says are having their big days scuppered. Still, it might be welcome news for some of you chaps. After all, what better excuse to delay the big day for a year or two? I wonder how stag nights are faring . . .

Office gossip

There are a few insurance bosses who have been guilty of the odd David Brent moment. It’s strangely appropriate, then, that Ricky Gervais is writing, directing and producing a movie set in the insurance world of the 1970s, The Men at the Pru. Mrs Insider is booking us tickets at our local cinema as we speak.

Cash cat

Step aside Britain’s got Talent contestants and crazy frog! Apparently record producers have approached Russian meerkat Aleksandr from to release a single. A cuddly toy is expected to follow soon after. It’s not clear who the contenders are but if the Crazy Frog’s success is anything to go by, Simon Cowell is surely not far away. The Crazy Frog beat Coldplay to take top spot on the UK charts, and meerkat fans are likely to push the song up to number one too.

After that, the possibilities are endless; we hear Britney Spears is looking for a duo partner . . .