The Insider tries to stay grounded around England rugby stars and gets some unexpected post – apparently the butler did it

Peter Smits, the Insurance Times independent regional broker guru and blogger, found himself in a tight spot at a recent corporate do. Smits was on his way to a breakfast club meeting and was determined to be the example he preaches to his staff. On the way there in the car, he was looking in the mirror and psyching himself up – tiger noises and so on, I imagine – determined to battle the nerves and introduce himself to the first person he met in order to have a meaningful conversation. So, upon arrival, and after a confident stride to the centre of the room, Smits made a very flamboyant introduction to his first victim, armed with a number of high-level insurance questions and secondary probes. The problem was the event speaker and former England rugby flanker giant, Richard Hill, wasn’t really equipped for such industry jibber jabber.

QBE bosses get in the scrum

We recently saw the the launch of QBE’s partnership with the Rugby Football Union, where it was announced as the official insurance partner of England rugby. Excited QBE bosses, including boss Steve Burns, mixed with journalists and England rugby stars down at Plantation Place. Even the television cameras turned up, though this was hardly surprising given it was just three days before England’s crunch Six Nations clash with Wales.

The real coup was landing England players Mark Cueto, Toby Flood and Nick Easter to act as a panel, with former England star Matt Dawson as chair. Dawson took a while to get to grips with some of the insurance terms, likening casualty to the TV drama, but challenged anyone in the insurance press to get the rugby term “nine-ten wrap around” in their publication. Well Matt, I’m happy to oblige.

We only had to ask Jeeves

More news on the great Lord Lyndon Wood, this time in an email to the editor from his head butler. It reads: “Dear Sir, I am writing to you at the request of Lord Lyndon of Moorhouse to clarify a number of statements that have been made in your esteemed journal. Lord Lyndon has asked me to inform you that the title to which you referred does indeed exist. It dates, if I may be so vulgar, from what I believe is termed ‘a Las Vegas stag weekend’ – whatever one of those may be – and has sat in the Moorhouse trophy cabinet for many years. His Lordship rarely uses it in public these days except for Biba conferences, meetings with Towergate and the occasional journalist visit. Yours faithfully, Jeeves Jones, head butler, Moorhouse Towers.” Well, that clears that one up then.

Scrambling for jobs

All is not well at Heath Lambert, an unofficial spokesman has confirmed. Rest assured, my old mucker Adrian the Colossus is ‘sound as a pound’, to use East London speak. But unfortunately, word reaches me that the group has just laid off six from its marketing and communications team. The unofficial spokesman confirmed that the official spokesman does, however, still have a job. He added: “I also will not be drawn on allegations of tit-for-tat staff poaching disputes with Bluefin at corporate level.”

Unlikely allies

So, John McLaren-Stewart and his Brightstar staff are to team up with Giles to help it expand into the corporate market. It wasn’t so long ago that McLaren-Stewart sold his business to Towergate, before leaving last year to set up Brightstar. Now he’s joined up with Towergate’s rival consolidator, Giles. I wonder how long he’s going to hang around before leaving to set up another broker to flog off to a consolidator? Watch this space to hear about the next truly exciting start-up broker …

The Seel of approval

Congratulations to the newly appointed chairman of the ABI’s pet insurance committee. His remit is to expand the ABI’s interaction with industry bodies, such as the British Small Animal Veterinary Association and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. The new chairman has a rather apt name for a job involving animals: David Seel. I’m sure pets across the nation are in safe flippers.