The Insurance Times Awards was a night to remember, although the Insider’s memory is a tad hazy …

Charlie Pitcher, who is attempting to row the Atlantic single-handed, should be the one with that sinking feeling, but in fact it's underwriters at InsureandGo who are the ones with a touch of queasiness. The insurer faces a hefty claim if Charlie gets marooned in the Atlantic – the risk is so great, the insurer even had trouble finding a partner underwriter. InsureandGo founder Perry Wilson said: “We are very proud to be associated with Charlie’s attempt to row the Atlantic for charity, but I must confess we are a little worried about his wellbeing while he attempts this challenge. Obviously, we are praying that he makes it across safely, but if we have to come to his rescue when he is equidistant between Europe and America, we would need to mount a huge rescue operation – and asking the Royal Navy or US Navy for help won’t be cheap.”

Awards show gets the Midas touch

And so to Birmingham for the night of the year – the annual Insurance Times Awards. This year’s definitely lived up to expectations, with comedian Stephen K Amos merrily slagging off the stage set, the location and indeed everyone in the room. Comedy gold. And speaking of which, the highlight of the evening was, of course, singer Tony Hadley, best remembered from Spandau Ballet’s glory days. He managed to rouse the post-dinner audience to their feet with his rendition of the band’s international hit ‘Gold’. As ever, the celebrating, dancing and, er, refreshments lasted well into the early hours and I can safely say there were some sore heads on the Birmingham-to-London Express come Saturday morning.

Driven round the bend

Now here’s a horror story from the credit hire world. It all started when a motorist crashed into the car of a good friend of mine. My friend tells me she was the first to act by phoning her insurer to explain simply that she was not at fault and that her car was a mess. Soon after, she was presented with a BMW, and let’s just say that was a serious upgrade from her previous modest run-around. Being a wise one, she declined to sign the documents for the flash hire car. Despite her refusal, though, the BMW was dumped outside a free parking space next to her house for a month. The total bill ended up in the thousands. And during that time, she was bombarded with texts and phone calls asking if she was injured or had any other injured passengers in her car. She said “no” the first time, but obviously the message wasn’t heeded. The poor lady is now left with a terrible impression of our beloved industry and it all started with her insurer trying to make money from referrals. So come on guys, isn’t it about time we all stopped feeding the monster?

AXA party is so this season

Never mind a beery night out at a London bar, AXA’s festive treat was to take broker partners to a fashion show in London’s East End. All very hip – no doubt stylish chief executive Philippe Maso played a big part in organising the evening. There were some very tasty outfits on show, although Maso declined the chance to parade down the catwalk himself. Meanwhile, the crowd merrily quaffed the champagne and beer on offer, lubricating conversation no end. AXA’s customer service king Paul Meehan looked like he was having a whale of a time – now there’s a man who knows how to party in style.

Take a running jump

After wracking up more than 40 years in the industry, former Aon UK chairman and chief executive Dennis Mahoney has a wealth of experience in tackling difficult situations – and difficult people. At the Insurance Times Broker Forum last week, he recounted an occasion when a big burly Australian manager marched towards him, pointing out there was a problem with his office. When asked what the problem was, he said that he had only one window whereas Mahoney had two, to which Mahoney delivered the fatal reply: “But it’s big enough to throw you out of.” That manager never complained again. IT