McIntyre is eyeing Aviva, and who can blame her – those guys know how to party. The Insider wants in on the booze cruise

It was off to the London Film Critics’ Circle awards last week, with my friends from Insurance Times and BGL Group, the creators of the lovable meerkat Aleksandr Orlov. Some big names were rushing about, posing at every opportunity, including the zany director of Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino. But one of my friends from Insurance Times stole the show by having her picture taken with beloved English actor Colin Firth. Apparently, it was one of the “greatest moments of her life”. Unfortunately, her thunder was stolen by Aleksandr, who also had his picture taken, but posing on Colin’s shoulder.

Any room in Aviva’s VIP section?

Bridget McIntyre has been keeping a low profile recently. But there are whispers in the market that she’s gunning for a big role at a very big firm – Aviva, of course. She’s got the experience, having previously been a director. Furthermore, she’s just finished a stint consulting with former Aviva boss Patrick Snowball in his new role at Australian firm Suncorp, and I’m told it has whet her appetite. The only obstacle is that Aviva has just gone through a shake-up at the top, leaving little room for a new face. Whatever happens, I’m predicting a return to action in the near future.

A rather scrummy prize

Anyone fancy watching a bit of rugger? LV= is offering 40 lucky Insurance Times readers free tickets to the LV= cup semi-finals, taking place on 14 March. The Cardiff Blues will be playing Gloucester Rugby at Cardiff City Stadium, and the Northampton Saints will be taking on Saracens at Franklin’s Gardens. LV= has 20 pairs of tickets to give away for each of the matches, and all you have to do is email your name and which match you would like to see to LV= will draw the lucky winners on Monday 8 March 2010 for each match and make contact on the same day to sort out delivering the tickets.

Ruski business

Life’s a cruise in Aviva. So much so that I’m hearing that it has sent out broker invitations for its annual cruise trip, this time in Russian waters. Reports are as yet unconfirmed that Roman Abramovich will be leasing one of his super-yachts for the party. Meanwhile, I am anxiously watching the post …

The royal road to Maso

The Queen is paying a visit to the Gherkin today for a private dinner. It’s wonderful to hear that royalty is coming to such a grand building of venerable insurance institutions. Which begs the question: will she be popping in for a spot of tea with French AXA boss Philippe Maso? I’m sure it wouldn’t do any harm for cross-channel relations.

No hard feelings

Insurers are blamed for lots of things, but former West Ham striker Dean Ashton is on their side. Ashton, who retired last year because of a ravaged ankle, says his insurance contract is void – meaning the Hammers are liable to pay out the rest of his multimillion-pound contract. Apparently, his ankle was excluded from cover, the injury of which led to his retirement at the end of last year. He says: “I’m not going to harp on about insurance companies trying to fleece people. If they were insuring a house and the roof was knackered then obviously they wouldn’t insure your roof.” Nicely said. Perhaps he’s now looking to become an underwriter? IT