After England’s dismal performance on Sunday, the Insider takes comfort in a day at the panto horse races and a gunging

This year, chief execs have taken fundraising to whole new levels. Some have cycled thousands of miles, others have walked over the frozen waters of the Arctic. So it was no surprise to hear that RSA boss Adrian Brown was doing his bit for a good cause. On ‘RSA Day’, or last Friday to you and me, Brown undertook the challenge of all challenges to cap off the insurer’s 300th birthday celebrations – a gunging. He was given 15 minutes to raise over £5,000 from his industry mates, while sitting in the gunge tank, armed with his BlackBerry. Donations from his broker and insurer pals came flying in – including £100 from Oval – which might go some way to paying back that hefty loan it agreed last year. But Brown fell just short of his target and inevitably was covered in blue slime. He wasn’t the only exec in on the action, however. Paul Donaldon was also up for it, or was it just the thought of squeezing into the tank with HR director Vanessa Evans that convinced him? Whatever the case, it’s given me the great idea of a weekly chief exec gunging in the middle of Leadenhall Market. Who’s up for it?

Let there be lightning

The Willis building in Chicago was struck by lightning last week, at exactly the same time as another one struck the nearby Trump Tower, and the moment was gloriously caught on camera. The amateur snapper sent his pictures into a news service and the photos were whizzed around the world. The Willis building was named after the megabroker last year, changing from the Sears Tower, much to the chagrin of the locals. So the lightning strike was a welcome bit of positive publicity, I suppose, even though it came like a bolt out of the blue.

A transatlantic thrashing

So the World Cup is over, and England were a shambles. But spare a thought for James Gerry, chief executive of Thistle. Raised in America, but now a fully fledged Brit after many years on our little island, he’s also a footie fan. First, he watched his second-favourite team, the USA, crash to a loss against outsiders Ghana. Next up, he endured England’s drubbing at the hands of the Germans. Now that really is a double disaster.

The light fantastic

I’ve just popped down to catch a view of one of the more choice treasures at Lloyd’s: a Georgian silver candelabra. The piece, designed by Robert Adam – the Norman Foster of his era – has been liberated from the vaults for an exhibition of historic silverware at Koopman Rare Art in Chancery Lane, which closes this week. I doubt that Lloyd’s is losing much sleep over the item’s security – they should know where to get decent cover for it.

Second best in show

To Goodwood Racecourse and an absolute scorcher of a day for RSA’s pantomime horse derby. Bemused racegoers didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when they came across more than 30 comedy horses battling it out in a series of highly competitive challenges. RSA entered a number of horses, but it was the Insurance Times entry – Lightning Streak – that caught my eye after battling in the 100 metre dash heats to finish a respectable second in the ‘Foal’s Gold’ final. There was also a new world record set for the most number of panto horses in a race. I hear it was sugar cubes all round. Check out the photos on the Insurance Times website; it’s pure horseplay.

Torus thinks different

Could Torus’s decision to swap paper documents for Apple’s much-vaunted iPad device at board meetings be a sign that the insurance industry has finally joined the 21st century? The signs look encouraging. The London-based firm reported that its executive directors, with an average age of 50, all adapted to the paperless meeting easily.

iDon’t like change

Mind you, it’s then that one remembers the Lloyd’s veterans who would climb on a chair at the sight of a computer mouse, not to mention the number of efforts that have been made to drag these luddites into the modern age. Anyone remember EPS? Kinnect? One suspects the only way you will get these characters to part with their slip cases is to prise them from their cold, dead hands … IT