From ill-advised quad-biking exploits to punk-rocking pasts, the Insider admires the industry’s lust for life

Think of insurance and punk rock is not usually the first thing that springs to mind. But that could be about to change. First we had Iggy Pop blasting his way through Swiftcover adverts on TV. Now Insurance Times has discovered that none other than LV= chief executive John O’Roarke made his mark on the alternative music scene as a punk rocker before entering the insurance game. He may have left his pogo-ing days behind a while ago, but we reckon that if he ever gets bored of the day job the industry heavy-hitter could be the ideal replacement for Iggy on our screens. Let us know what you think John …

The man with the steel arm

My commiserations to action man Neil Utley who is nursing a broken arm after a nasty quad-biking accident. The Hastings chairman got six pins in his broken arm, and with one coming loose, he faces another trip to the doctor’s. You’d think that, as one of the more seasoned heads in the insurance industry, with stakes in two companies, he’d be into more sober pastimes. Just goes to show, there’s a boy inside all of us.

Pictures of me

The staff over at Keychoice Underwriting keep a close eye on the trade press, but I hear that they had trouble finding one particular issue of Insurance Times, after all copies mysteriously vanished from the office. Considering the issue in question had an interview with Keychoice managing director Jonathan Davey, complete with a stylish black-and-white photo of him on the front cover, Keychoice staff drew their own conclusions. One of my pals at Keychoice was certainly under no illusions: “Jonathan is hoarding them,” he said.

Lunchtime legends

With the movie awards season in full swing, what better time to congratulate some of our own industry glitterati. The private lunchtime event, organised by Markerstudy, was held at Anton Mosimann’s private dining club in Belgravia last December (who needs the stale glamour of Kodak Theatre anyway?). Winners included AA’s John Close (“Longest serving, never opened a brown envelope to get the sack”), A-Plan’s Don Mole and Carl Shuker (“Getting out of the shadow of my boss”) and my personal favourite, Kevin Sinclair of Coversure (“Did I make the right career move?”).

Quickie divorce insurance

Over in the West Country, ARAG UK managing director Tony Buss may have set a new speed record for designing an insurance policy: just 30 minutes. A couple of weeks ago, Buss was on his way to the pub after work when he was called by BBC’s Moneybox programme. Asked to comment quickly, Buss responded by announcing, on the hoof, that ARAG was launching divorce insurance. Buss said he had had considerable interest in divorce insurance from lawyers, who want to bundle it with a pre-nuptial agreement. The only snag – this was the first time anyone else had heard of it. Cue nervous calls from staff the following Monday morning.

Blast from the past

And finally, down to Hampshire last week for Mark Coffey’s leaving do. The Zurich head of broker personal lines had his send-off in the Parson’s Collar – the main watering hole for the company’s Fareham office. The Zurich old hands were out in force, including ex-personal lines managing directors Andy Harvey and Dave Roper, as well as former strategic partnerships supremo Ann Akers. And, on a pleasingly circular note, Colin Bryant was there too – the former underwriting director who was Coffey’s first boss when he joined Zurich 29 years ago. IT

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