Never one to fall behind the times, the Insider’s been eyeing up the latest gadgets. Oh, and cricket and vintage cars ...
Now, I’ve played a poker game or two in my time, including a few against some ghastly City types in private equity and hedge funds. But I’ve never before faced down such a formidable opponent as Graeme Newman. Despite my best efforts, the CFC Underwriting director took his cue from my body language and cleaned me out. I’m in good company though: he once turned over a whole field of opponents to scoop £115,000 in one online poker competition. The young prodigy is set to rub shoulders with the biggest names in the game at next month’s World Series of Poker Europe tournament in London. Graeme tells me that insurance and poker are similar in many ways – it’s all about how you deal with risk. I’ll raise glass, or a chip or two, to that.
My son arrived home with one of those new iPhone 4 devices the other day and, I must say, it’s mightily impressive. I’m even considering upgrading my old Blackberry. But then I came across a report on the top 10 most bizarre iPhone insurance claims, most notably “I dropped it in a food blender” and “it broke when my son used it as a table tennis racket”. Now I’m not sure what to do: stick to a Blackberry or go for an iPhone? Can anyone out there help?
Facebook the facts
I’ve had a few new friends add me on Facebook recently – thanks for that. But one thing I’ve noticed is the lack of activity from my chief executive pals. Quite odd given recent revelations in a survey by Abbey Legal Protection that 58% of chief execs have a Facebook page and more than a quarter of company bigwigs have been asked to become an employee, boss or client’s ‘friend’. Even one in seven chief execs admitted to having photos uploaded and available for employees to view. So where are you Philippe Maso, Andy Homer and Chris Giles? Don’t be shy.
Will rain stop M&A?
For batsmen, as with comedians, timing is everything. So it is with exquisite timing that my old chums at Brit are holding their annual jolly at cricket mecca The Oval this week, as speculation continues to swirl about the takeover bid by Apollo. The drink will flow, the sun (hopefully) will shine and, as England look to clinch the series against the Pakistanis, tongues are expected to loosen. If I hear anything when I make my annual pilgrimage south of the river, I’ll let you know. Meantime, come on England!
Fit for a lord
Good lord. That Peter Levene chap doesn’t waste much time, does he? Only a month after it emerged he was setting up a company to buy government-controlled bank assets, he’s landed another high-profile job at his old stomping ground, the Ministry of Defence, chairing its reform panel. There does seem to be a pattern emerging with these ventures. For banking he’s teamed up with fellow City big hitter Sir David Walker and at the MoD he’ll be supported by Baroness Sheila Noakes. Perhaps all those years of dealing with Lloyd’s riff-raff have made him crave more noble company.
Young, free and uninsured
I'll never forget the beautiful chassis and lion-hearted engine of the first Morgan 8 my father bought me. With the wind buffeting my face, driving that growling beast around the family estate was pure joy. I was only 18, but insurers back then seemed to have faith in the young, so buying insurance was never a problem. But I read in the newspaper the other day that a 17-year-old student was quoted a staggering £17,000 to insure a Vauxhall Corsa worth only £2,000. Such high premiums are leading to ‘fronting’ tactics whereby youngsters are marked down as a husband or partner for the purposes of a policy. Others don't even bother with insurance at all. How the world has changed. IT