The Insider gets a tad sporty but admits defeat on Solvency II. Time to call in Professor Robert Langdon?

QBE underwriter James Groom is training hard for his transatlantic rowing attempt. He and his fellow oarsman began their sea trials last week – ready for the off this December – with night training in rough weather. They couldn’t see a thing, but could hear the larger waves approaching. Groom says it’s the first time they’ve experienced “real fear”. Let’s hope he’s taken out an insurance policy.

Weeding through the offers

As the news comes in that Patrick Snowball is making his mark Down Under, a little bird tells me that Bridget McIntyre has finished her consultancy job in Oz and is heading back to these shores. If Bridget can be persuaded to hang up her gardening shears, I reckon there will be quite a queue of insurers looking to take her on. Perhaps even the newly crowned boss of a certain major insurer, who we all know is looking for someone to head up the GI side?

Now there’s an idea …

A quiet bite of the Big Apple

Who says that brokers never tick the ‘no publicity’ box? The winners of the fabulous prize in the Event Insurance Services Game Set & Match competition this summer – a mouth-watering shopping trip to New York worth £4,000 – were overcome with very unbroker-like modesty.

“We were shocked that we won, but now it’s all sunk in the four of us are really looking forward to doing some serious shopping and seeing all the sights – especially as none of us has been to New York before,” one of the group discreetly informed Event.

Let’s hope the lucky four employees aren’t quite so restrained at the tills in the Big Apple.

A load off his mind

I can’t let a week go by without discussing my favourite topic – football, of course. I hear Bluefin boss and Chelsea fan Stuart Reid enjoyed a glorious night of beer and goals at Stamford Bridge last week, watching his side thrash Atletico Madrid. The moment was soured slightly, however, when one petulant supporter of a rival London team asked Reid if he was “on the Chelsea bandwagon”. To which he replied, rather curtly: “I’m 45 now, I’ve been a fan for 20 years. You work it out.” So there.

Spirited plans

QBE’s giant 30ft rugby ball had pride of place last week in Lloyd’s heartland, Lime Street. And it was still there the morning after Terry Whittaker celebrated 30 years with the company.

It was a close run thing: some of the QBE guests at his anniversary celebration got well into the party spirit and there was some talk of an old rugby club prank to hijack the ball, move it into the suburbs so a certain someone would end up waking up next to it. A lucky escape, Terry.

Steele yourself

A massive round of applause to Jonathan Groves of Marsh. The head of captive management has managed something that even some of London’s brightest lawyers have had a crack at but failed: he’s read the 365-page Solvency II document. I’ve had a peak myself and can tell you that it ain’t Danielle Steele. There are lots of symbols and crossings-out – and even a paragraph detailing the special interests of the Automobile Club of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

One poor insurance man who admits defeat in his attempt to read it, says: “If Professor Robert Langdon from The Da Vinci Code is looking for something to crack, maybe he should try Solvency II.” IT