There’s hardly been time to digest the turkey and mince pies before The Insider gets stuck into the latest industry gossip
I bumped into Towergate chairman Peter Cullum recently and, even before the CBE (see below), he was full of beans. He's really excited about the future – and especially social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. He tells me he had a teenager on work experience recently. Apparently, the lad drove up Towergate's presence on social media to a powerful new high. An excited Cullum joked: “I should be employing lots of teenagers – they could really teach us a thing or two.” Andy Homer, you have been warned.
The global takeover starts here
I didn’t get much for Christmas this year. Just a few pairs of socks, some Cuban cigars and a calculator to work out that rise in VAT. I asked my Facebook friends what they had wanted for Christmas. The list included “an end to dodgy PI claims”, “the return of the Aviva accounts team to the UK”, “a hard market” and “5% insurance premium tax”. But my favourite was a new year’s resolution from one Facebooker who hopes for “world domination”. Join the queue …
Hold your horses
There’s been plenty of chatter in the London market about whether Giles is plotting to buy Kerry London. But while Chris Giles and Kerry London boss Damian Kissane share a love of horses, that’s as far as it goes for now. In a recent email to staff, Kissane denied the business was being courted by Giles, nor was it considering a sale. But, as always, never say never.
New year sales
I hear there are a fair few Lloyd’s brokers up for grabs. Rumour has it that Heath Lambert, fresh from sorting out a £24m banking facility with Santander, is on the prowl – chief executive Adrian Colosso must be rubbing his hands. In the wholesale space, Arthur J Gallagher UK has a war chest to spend. And private equity houses continue to scour for brokers they can team up with. I tell you this, 2011 looks like it’s shaping up to be an interesting year.
Aon’s sleigh lines
I got ready to get into the festive spirit by turning off my BlackBerry. But Santa and the Aon team never stop. A hard-working team of Aon underwriters estimated that it would cost £25m to insure Santa, taking into account aviation, insurance for goods in transit, livestock cover, theft protection and insuring for beard damage. The quote was down £5m on two years ago, given Santa’s “good claims record and the current soft market for the insurance of international risks”. Ho ho ho!
Is Marine Andy a big fish?
You can’t beat a bit of live comedy. But as I recently enjoyed Michael McIntyre’s Christmas show, a curious mystery emerged. McIntyre picked out a gentleman in the front row, who only gave his name as Andrew, his wife’s as Susan, and that he was “half Greek, half Czech” and works “in paperwork”. After McIntyre hounded him with “Just tell me what you do, man!”, Andrew admitted to “marine insurance” – which brought the house down. Can you help me identify the man? I don’t wish to embarrass Marine Andy; I just want to congratulate him for receiving the biggest laugh of the night.
A word in the Queen’s ear
Finally, congratulations to our good friend Peter Cullum, who’s been awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours list. Cullum’s chances of getting a gong can’t have been harmed by his decision in October to add his signature to a letter to the Daily Telegraph supporting George Osborne’s public spending cuts. These gestures have a habit of getting noticed where it matters. IT