The Insider has an anatomy lesson and wonders how long it will be before iPads are essential pub kit
It wasn’t so long ago that the boys from Lloyd’s were grumbling about electronic documents ruining the unique face-to-face nature of the market. Well, they seem to have had a lightning conversion to the merits of technology. Three Lloyd’s brokers – Marsh, Cooper Gay and RK Harrison – are to trial Apple iPads to replace the paper slips traditionally used to put together bespoke policies. Next, I suppose brokers will be taking their iPads down the pub – a far cry from the days of deals being scribbled out on the back of a fag packet. How times have changed, eh?
And the (joint) first prize goes to …
So who caught the announcement that Towergate Underwriting had won the CII’s new ‘chartered insurer’ status? Sounds like another plaque on the wall to me, but my industry chums assure me that it’s quite the big deal.
Interestingly, though, I hear that Towergate had to jump through quite a few hoops to get the badge of honour for its underwriting arm. It’s even been suggested that Chubb was fast-tracked through the system so that the pair could be announced together as ‘joint first’. Or rather – ahem – Chubb’s underwriting and service centre in Manchester.
Fair dinkum, mate
I couldn’t help but chuckle when I recently came across a list of the top 10 craziest celebrity insurance policies. My pals at Lloyd’s often talk about some of the bizarre things they are asked to insure, and body parts seem to be the priority for our celeb friends. Riverdance performer Michael Flatley has insured his feet for £25m, closely followed by the £18m for Jennifer Lopez’s bottom. Meanwhile, Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth has apparently insured his sperm for £650,000; the sum that would be paid out if he accidentally impregnated a groupie. And did you know that singer Dolly Parton has her breasts insured for £390,000? The wackiest, though, has to be Australian cricketer Merv Hughes, who has insured his trademark walrus moustache for £205,000. Crikey!
Heavy blow for Barry
Here’s a strange little snippet from the world of insurance that popped up in the news this week. A 30-stone man is claiming that he was forced to take voluntary redundancy after being warned that he could crush his colleagues. Barry Flowers, 51, from Burton-upon-Trent, tripped over and injured himself last year. A subsequent assessment by insurers said that the morbidly obese man, who assembles industrial equipment on a platform 12in off the ground, could crush other employees if he accidentally fell off. He later claimed that he was forced to take voluntary redundancy. I’ve heard many bizarre stories in my time as the king of gossip, but this one takes the biscuit, literally.
It must be frightfully galling to play second fiddle to a stuffed meerkat – even one in a rather fetching smoking jacket – so one has to feel at least a little sorry for the chaps at Confused.com. The lack of an attention-grabbing (read infuriating) central character in their adverts has ostensibly cost them the top spot in the UK comparison site market share rankings. The company is now working on a new ad campaign, and I must admit I’d give my eye teeth to be a fly on the wall in the creative meetings. To avert viewers’ eyes from Alexandr, Gio Compario and co, the marketing bods are going to have to come up with something pretty outlandish. I’ll bet there are some highly amusing suggestions flying around the table. Anyone like to take a small wager on what they’re cooking up? IT