The Insider listens to Wall Street rumours about Joe Plumeri, and finds that Titanic memorabilia is kept in a ‘bag for life’

There’s a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of RSA ‘s emerging markets chief executive Paul Whittaker right now. He is doing the rounds across all of the insurer’s business in South America, Asia, the Middle East and eastern Europe, attending numerous broker events. But he’s also been charged with lugging around a valuable piece of history: the original insurance claim form from the Titanic (see photo, right). Yes, that’s the same Titanic that sank on 15 April 1912.

In case you didn’t know, RSA (or Royal Insurance as it was back then) was the insurer of the world’s largest ship at the time, said to be unsinkable. My pals at Insurance Times tell me that Whittaker was last seen with the insurer’s treasured possession in Dubai, where it was carried in bubble-wrap inside what can only be described as a “bag for life”. Next stop is Santiago in Chile. Surely it belongs in a museum?

Pat’s visit gets bosses in a sweat

There was a big-hitter in town last week: Aon founder Pat Ryan. I’m a little disappointed that he didn’t pop round to mine for a brandy and a chinwag, but then again he’s a busy boy. In America, he is involved in a bitter dispute with CVC after poaching 100 staff to take to his new managing general agency. I’m only guessing what Pat was doing in the UK, but I can imagine he was paying a visit to his UK-based MGA, Pat Ryan Specialty (Europe). I hear he has big plans to ramp it up. All those Lloyd’s insurer bosses must be sweating in their seats at the thought of a raid. And I must also add at this point that Pat looks great for his age.

Joe may be a Capitol prospect

Can he? Yes he can. There’s a rumour sweeping Wall Street that Willis chief Joe Plumeri wants to go into politics. So I thought I’d cast the slide rule over this ebullient Republican. Can he talk a good game? Tick. Does he like being the centre of attention? Tick. Does he still just about have hair? Tick. Looks like Plumeri would make the perfect politician. All he needs now are some policies, and I’m guessing they’ll have something to do with contingent commissions …

Squaring up in the East End

I’m way too old for the boxing ring, but I can tell you that, in my day, I could swing a nifty haymaker. So I was glad to see some white-collar fisticuffs taking place in London’s East End. Among the heroes was Hiscox underwriter Wiliam Dudley. He’s a fearsome fellow if ever I saw one. Stewart Cruickshank from Aon Benfield and Kevin Carlier from Aon also put on a good show for the Markel-sponsored event. Let’s just hope we can keep staff fights in the ring.

Young drivers, short deadline

I see that my MP pals on the House of Commons transport select committee, no doubt after watching Watchdog, have decided to look into the cost of motor insurance. It seems that they are particularly vexed about the young folk. But having announced the inquiry on 19 October with little fanfare, the committee gave interested parties less than a fortnight to respond. I will be interested to see just how much evidence is received given the tight timetable. Has the committee already made up its mind, I wonder?

Bolt throws a barbed dart

Tom Bolt certainly has Lloyd’s brokers pegged. In a speech in Baden-Baden, Germany, he illustrated the compactness of the London market by saying that brokers could practically fold their slips into paper aeroplanes and throw them into Lloyd’s. He couldn’t resist one extra dig, though, adding: “Sometimes it appears they have done so.” Harsh, but probably fair.

Will it be a draw for SCOR?

At the same gathering, Tom Bolt was seen with SCOR’s Victor Peignet and Benjamin Gentsch in Brenner’s Park Hotel. Looks like SCOR’s plans for a Lloyd’s syndicate are further advanced than indicated – if Tom hasn’t poured cold water on them, of course. IT