The Insider searches for his earplugs – or the remote control – and looks at loss adjusters in a new light

Aon’s sponsorship deal with Manchester United has caused waves down at Devonshire Square. After a mixed reaction among its workers – there are a lot of Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham fans among the ranks – the company risked further fury by leaving Aon/Manchester United goody bags on each desk on the morning the new shirt was unveiled, including a free sample. One Aon staffer told me: “It’s going straight on eBay.” Another said it was “going straight in the bin”. However, an upbeat Aon spokesman said the reaction was “better than expected”, with long queues of staff waiting to get their hands on the shirt. Quite what they did with them is another matter …

Short, but not so sweet

So it’s hello and goodbye to Kerrie Kelly, whose short tenure as director general at the ABI came to an end last week amid mutterings that she didn’t have sufficient grasp of the technical detail. Still, last week’s dramatic defenestration sheds some light on why the association didn’t spend any overtime pushing her media and public profile.

Irritatingly successful

GoCompare moved into a £12m profit last year, compared with a £4m loss in 2008, while turnover has grown from £49m to £74.9m. A large part of the improvement, I’m told, is down to the adverts with Gio Compario, the over-sized opera singer who springs out of nowhere to sing his rather ludicrous tune. A poll earlier this year found the advert to be the ‘most irritating’ of 2009. However, chief executive Hayley Parsons tells me ‘irritating’ is good and she’s delighted with its success. So it looks likes there’ll be more of the same. Now, where are those earplugs …?

Bruising encounter

My oh my, that Ashwin Mistry is not one to mince his words: a few egos were bruised after AXA’s claims managing director David Williams interviewed the Brokerbility chief executive at this year’s Insurance Times Broker Forum. MGAs were first in the firing line. Mistry caused more than a little shuffling, especially from Towergate Underwriting chief executive Clive Nathan, when he said insurers that use them cannot transact properly and should be ashamed. What’s more, insurers need to “get some balls” and tackle claims farmers head on. Brokers didn’t escape either. Those hoping that the death knell for commissions is a long way off are hopelessly naive, while lazy players need to get off their backsides to take advantage of cuts in public sector spending. Mistry described membership of Brokerbility as like that of an exclusive golf club – one that I reckon has a very long rule book.

Unlucky strike

Loss adjusters may seem like a measured bunch, but never let it be said that they don’t know how to let their hair down. Crawford hosted a press party at a bowling alley in London last week, where there was much high-fiving, victory cries and congratulatory slapping of backs. In fact, such was UK and Ireland chief executive Benedict Burke’s enthusiasm that he put his arm out part-way through his first frame, and was forced to sit out the rest of the tournament.

Better out than in

Meanwhile, it could be said that Benedict’s brother Dominic is paying the price for staying tight-lipped. Rumours that Dominic’s firm, Jardine Lloyd Thompson, is to be bought or broken up refuse to disappear. Perhaps Dominic should be reminded of the hot water chief executives can get themselves into by keeping schtum. One wonders, for example, how many fewer news stories would have been written about the iPhone 4’s alleged antenna problem had Apple head honcho Steve Jobs publicly addressed the issue sooner. IT

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