The Insider is driven to drink once again, but only to share his gossip, and hears about some genuine car crash TV

While mothers are there to wrap us in cotton wool, they can be surprisingly brutal, particularly when trying to protect their offspring from what they deem a gruesome fate. It seems the mother of Tom Bolt, the Lloyd’s director of performance management, is no different. On learning her beloved son was considering taking a job policing the world's most famous insurance market, Mrs Bolt retorted: “It sounds like you could do a very good job and still end up looking like a mug.” In his short tenure, Bolt has already had to deal with the Mexico oil rig explosion, the Chile earthquake, European windstorms, floods in Poland and predictions of a particularly nasty hurricane season, all without too many complaints. So far, so good then.

Under pressure and under the table

I had great fun reading a recent report that says insurance workers are more stressed than any other profession. Well, I never! According to healthcare cash plan provider Medicash, 17% of insurance workers, more than any other occupation, admitted to feeling stressed all the time. Insurance workers are also among those most likely to have a cheeky pint or six at the end of a stressful day! It tickled me so much I had to share it with my broker pals in the bars of Leadenhall Street on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights …

Aviva cruise a rather dry affair

I hear this year’s Aviva broker cruise was a very different affair to previous years. John Kitson’s personality and bravado was one of the most notable omissions from the week, one broker told me. Meanwhile, Aviva’s new management team set out their stall in a raft of rather dull presentations. Brokers started in Helsinki and then went on to St Petersburg, Tallinn and finished in Copenhagen. The highlight, I’m told, was watching the World Cup on board the ship, along with one or two other encounters that couldn’t possibly be repeated in a respectable magazine.

What a glory supporter

You don’t progress in Euro-circles without being a diplomat. A case in point is the footie-mad secretary-general of European insurance regulator Ceiops, Carlos Montalvo. Spanish born and bred, the passionate Athletico Madrid fan is based in Frankfurt. But ahead of last night’s Germany-Spain World Cup clash, Montalvo called his predicament a win-win situation. While admitting that he would prefer a Spain win, a Germany victory has its ups. “At least the country where I am living will have a chance of winning the championship,” he boasted.

Smoke without fire?

So the Oval and Giles rumours are floating around again like Richard Branson in a hot air balloon. One broker pal of mine told me that the two brokers recently held “extensive talks” about a merger. Another said: “It’s a deal that both have to do.” So, it’s looking like an inevitable outcome – or so you would think. But party pooper Oval boss Jeff Herdman is having none of it. He told one of my spies: “There is absolutely no truth in these rumours.” Same time next year, then?

A smashing idea

Hallelujah! The days of car insurance fraud could be coming to an end. American software giants Intel are developing aircraft-style black boxes to record accidents. The black box will record information about the vehicle speed, steering and braking, along with video footage from inside and outside the vehicle. The evidence is then expected to be sent to insurance companies and police. Intel reckons it could save insurers billions of pounds each year. It could also help the customer by reducing delays in determining causes of accidents. Looks like everyone is a winner. But expect lots of complaints from the human rights lobby: instead of Big Brother is watching you, it will be more like Big Aviva is recording you. IT