The Insider gets out of his comfy office but feels the chill at Lord’s, hears a doggy drama and vows to refine his lift technique

Call me old-fashioned, but in my day lobbying organisations were expected to make some noise. However, recently departed ABI chief executive Kerrie Kelly was noticeably quiet: in fact, my pals at Insurance Times tell me she repeatedly declined requests for interviews and turned down opportunities to comment on news stories. Kelly abruptly left the ABI in July having spent just six months in the job following her relocation from Australia.

This week, a little bird twittered that Kelly took exception to the open-plan nature of the ABI’s Gresham Street office and had her own glass enclosure built. Perhaps it was the case that she couldn't hear the press requests through the walls.

Don’t mention George Osborne to Graeme

The rise in insurance premium tax is a nuisance we could do without, I say. Not only will it hit consumers and insurers in the pocket, my pal Graeme Trudgill over at Biba is also in the firing line. The poor chap is one of the unlucky souls whose motor insurance renewal falls on 4 January, the day the tax goes up 1% to 6%. With motor rates already through the roof, it is a slap in the face for drivers. Trudders, whose fame rose due to his numerous television appearances when volcanic ash disrupted European flights earlier in the year, is said to be gently erupting at the thought.

Going up? Now listen to me!

Meanwhile, Trudgill’s colleague Steve White has been telling me about the inspiration for the ‘15-second message’ Biba wants to relay to MPs – via its members – over the iniquities of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. White had the idea after he found himself in a lift with the European Commission’s insurance unit head Karel van Hulle at a conference in Tel Aviv.

Normally, Biba would have to travel all the way to Brussels to get face time with van Hulle, so the enterprising White made the most of his opportunity. In the time it took to travel from one floor to another, White gave van Hulle a (very) potted summary of British brokers’ concerns about mandatory commission disclosure – one of the options up for grabs under the EC’s upcoming insurance mediation directive.

By the time he emerged from the lift, van Hulle was well and truly enlightened. Or so he said over his shoulder as he ran for the door!

Sick as a parrot over small print

As a rule of thumb, I always read the small print on anything. You just don’t know what could, or could not, be lurking in those tiny paragraphs. An insurance policy is an excellent example.

So I was more than surprised when the well-respected celebrity lawyer, Nick Freeman, known as Mr Loophole for his knack of getting naughty celebs out of sticky situations, was caught out recently.

It turns out Loophole found himself £5,000 worse off after failing to read the terms and conditions on his pet insurance policy. His dog became ill while he was holidaying in the south of France and required expensive treatment. When he came to claim back the vet’s fees from his insurer, he realised he had failed to read the small print properly. He should have given the insurer two weeks’ notice before taking his pet out of the UK – and should also have paid an extra £100 for overseas cover. It can happen to anybody …

So subdued down at Lord’s

And finally, I was down at Lord’s on Sunday for the Test match between England and Pakistan, courtesy of Allianz, which has inherited Cornhill’s old box at the home of cricket. Even non-cricket aficionados will have noted that the game was not the only thing on people’s minds following the News of the World’s revelation of the no-ball bookmaking scandal. The atmosphere at the ground was rather subdued. It’s so sad when a company supports a sport with bucketloads of cash, then something like this happens. IT