The Insider charts the progress of Tom Bolt, pops over to Davos, and hears the ARP being given the last rites

I remember the good old days when deals were done on the back of a fag packet over a liquid lunch. Now, clean-living brokers are using iPads to negotiate contracts. BMS Associates has taken the lead, using the devices to place risks. However, my moles tell me the Lloyd’s market is none too impressed – it all feels a bit impractical and there’s still a long way to go in refining the technology. So it looks like, in the battle of paper versus electronic information, the more traditional method is still coming out on top.

Bolt action draws fire

Tom Bolt has been head of franchise performance at Lloyd’s for around a year now, so here’s my quick take. Publicly, the Lloyd’s insurance bosses say he’s doing a good job of keeping syndicates in line. But I hear that some underwriters are privately grumbling that the orders from above will choke the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of Lloyd’s. At least Bolt can point out that the same gripes were being muttered during the reign of his predecessor, Rolf Tolle.

Who’ll be boss after Moss?

Who will be the next chief executive of Aviva? Last week's departure of European head Andrew Montena has cleared the way for the UK boss, Mark Hodges, to inherit the crown from group chief executive Andrew Moss. Or so the City is whispering. My old pals in the Square Mile tell me that Hodges is seen as a safe pair of hands. However, financial officer Pat Regan could be in with an outside chance of taking over. A battle definitely worth keeping an eye on …

Down and out in Davos

Speaking of Moss, he’s currently rubbing shoulders with world leaders at the illustrious World Economic Forum at Davos. To hear him talk, however, you would think he was slumming it. “This might all sound a bit grand. It really isn’t,” he wrote in a Metro column. Poor Andy. No doubt he’s having to fight his way to the low-budget buffet at lunchtimes.

A frank prognosis

Always keen to keep abreast of a hotly debated sector, I recently attended an ABI event on proposed changes to the solicitors’ professional indemnity insurance market. Perhaps not the most immediately understandable market – it does involve lawyers – it was refreshing to hear QBE portfolio manager Mark Casady's forthright opinions cutting through the oft-discussed topic of the assigned risks pool. “The ARP – what is the point, frankly?” he asked. “One of the driving forces in presenting the ARP to insurers was rehabilitation. It’s not a hospital, it’s a hospice. People go in there to die, and I’m afraid it’s costing the profession a great deal of money.” The Solicitors Regulation Authority is calling for industry responses to its proposed PI changes. Judging by his fearsome opening salvo, I imagine Casady will be making QBE’s response very clear indeed.

Reading to himself

Finally, that scourge of the “Stalinist” NHS and beau sabreur of private healthcare, Peter Bone MP, is on a Quixotic quest to get a second reading for his Medical Insurance (Tax Relief) Bill. This, as the name suggests, would provide tax relief on medical insurance premiums. Bone has been a thorn in David Cameron’s side ever since the days when the prime minister was promising to “ring-fence” the NHS, and initial support for the bill came largely from other rightwing Tory agitators, including Bill Cash. So it is perhaps no surprise that the proposal received a very poor billing for its second reading on 4 February. Bone ingeniously moved this to 10 February. Good news for medical insurers? Not quite. Parliament’s website tells us: “The House is not expected to sit on this day.” Oh. IT

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