The Insider taps his foot to Thin Lizzy at the O2, joins the chat at Westminster, and wonders about gifts from would-be apiarists
So imagine the scene: you’re Andy Homer, chief exec of one of the country’s largest and most controversial brokers. You’re jogging through your quiet, pleasant home village. All of a sudden you notice a scrum of photographers. You ask yourself: whatever can they want? Are they chasing to find out more about your delayed corporate bond refinancing? When you plan to float? Or maybe they’re just after tickets to Peter Cullum’s 60th birthday bash? And then you realise – they’re actually covering Katie Price’s (latest) wedding. Yep, that’s right, as insurance geeks will know, Homer lives in Woldingham, Surrey, also home to Katie Price and fellow insurance celebs John O’Roarke and Bronek Masojada, to name but two. So did any of them actually attend the ceremony? Well, I couldn’t possibly say …
Nervous David caught short at the O2
To the O2 and the relaunch of RSA’s SME offering. The event at the British Music Experience was packed full of clichés. Brokers were forced to watch a carefully constructed promo video about the SME business, complete with fitting soundtrack: The Boys are Back in Town. Commercial boss Paul Donaldson followed with a typical off-the-cuff speech claiming it was just coincidence that he should follow an Irish singer hooked on drink and drugs. It was then the turn of a somewhat nervous SME trading director David Greaves. Speech in hand, he suffered the ultimate of embarrassments as the sound engineer crept in front of him to lower his microphone by several inches. His watching audience didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, and Greaves must have wished for the ground to swallow him up.
A buzzy feeling for Canopius crew
Talk about brave. First of all, it transpired that Lloyd’s insurer Canopius has installed a beehive on its terraces. However, I’m now hearing that brave-hearted staff are being trained to handle the hive. Volunteers don the kit and then go out into the swarm to check the hive. Could there be some home-grown harvested honey being handed to Lime Street brokers this Christmas?
Will the bell Tolle for Joachim?
One can’t help wondering if the continuing uncertainty about Brit’s future ownership will present Beazley with an opportunity to complete its Tolle collection. The insurer snapped up Christian Tolle to manage its reinsurance-buying in August last year and followed this up by appointing Dad, aka former Lloyd’s franchise performance director Rolf Tolle, to the board of Beazley Furlonge in June this year. Perhaps Brit financial institutions underwriter Joachim Tolle may feel inclined to join his brother and father, giving Beazley the full set. Unless there are more Tolles in the market that I’m not aware of …
It’s a relief to be back in London
I was out on the House of Commons terrace with our good friend Jonathan Evans MP, who has just been elected chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on insurance. Evans has just returned to Westminster after 10 years in the European parliament, where he kept a close eye on our industry’s affairs, including the evolution of the insurance mediation directive (IMD). He noted dryly that the supposedly more Europhile French had been a lot less enthusiastic about applying the IMD than our own regulators.
Hammers just so frustrated
The saga over the Dean Ashton insurance claim rumbles on. The former West Ham striker, who retired last year following a persistent ankle injury suffered while on England duty, is at the centre of a multimillion-pound tussle. In an interview with Soccernet, West Ham’s co-chairman David Sullivan said: “We are still owed £8m. Let’s face it – the club was underinsured. Where would you get a Dean Ashton for £8m these days? But we cannot even get the club’s £8m, as the FA are having trouble with their insurers, and the FA have suggested we should sue their insurers.” My spies tell me that three major insurers are involved. IT