The Insider has spent a match-making week cranking up the rumour mill, following the World Cup and avoiding too much travel

They lead two separate trade credit insurers and are usually fighting for the customers, but when Euler Hermes UK chief executive Fabrice Desnos met Coface managing director Xavier Denecker at a London event recently, they enjoyed a brief moment of unity.

The event was near the House of Commons, so Denecker suggested his fellow Frenchman join him in the public gallery to watch the new coalition government in action. As it happens, they saw foreign secretary William Hague battle it out with Labour leader hopeful David Milliband at the dispatch box, before heading back to their separate offices. Could it be that Coface and Euler Hermes are plotting a partnership of their own? Now that really would be an unusual coalition.

Have Traveler, will travel

Now I've retired from everyday business life, the hell of a daily commute is just a distant memory. But if Bank station and the Northern line make your heart sink on a daily basis, spare a thought for those who span much greater distances. Indeed, my old mate Ken Norgrove is so sick and tired of crossing the Irish Sea on a regular basis that he's left RSA after 24 years and signed up with Travelers on his home turf. But what then of his boss, Paul Donaldson, who makes that very same journey each week without a murmur of complaint? “Some of us are made of sterner stuff,” he tells a journalist pal of mine. Paul, we salute you.

Middle management solution

So here's a thought from the left field. AXA chief Philippe Maso is looking for a replacement for commercial director Ant Middle, and there are a few fairly obvious candidates sat within AXA itself. But how about surprising the market with the ultimate coup – the return of John Kitson? Now that really would be a story.

On the Greece-y pole

Talking of AXA, the French group’s top boffins in investments have made the most bold prediction yet about the crisis in Europe. They say Europe's €750bn (£624bn) rescue package for stricken countries has saved the euro – but probably only for another 18 months before its chaotic destruction. Well, that coincides very nicely with the introduction of Solvency II. Looks like 2012 will be a very interesting year.

Playing for the home side

With the World Cup in full flow, you have to ask yourself: who in insurance is the most knowledgeable about football? My vote goes to Groupama claims director Phil Bird. He’s taken a week off work just to watch the World Cup. Okay, I exaggerate a little, as Phil will be doing the odd bit of housework, but you can bet your bottom dollar he’ll be soaking up the action. He’s an avid Leicester City fan, but sadly the Foxes don’t have too many players in South Africa. Never mind, Phil, you’ll just have to admire the pretty face of Leicester legend and BBC presenter Gary Lineker.

Hard to grasp

There’s been blood, sweat and tears shed over the past week as the FSA’s annual fees and levies charges dropped onto brokers’ desks. And, as Insurance Times reports, brokers aren’t too happy about the seismic amounts that they’re being charged for the FSCS bit. MCE’s Michael Edwards described his initial reaction as similar to the moment goalkeeper Robert Green spilled the ball over the line in England’s World Cup opener against USA: “For God’s sake man, get a grip!” IT