A week in the life of the Backchat Insider

While I was surfing the web reading stories about those sleazy MPs’ expenses, I came across a rather interesting report on how a driver’s behaviour changes when they are listening to a live football match. Commissioned by esure car insurance to coincide with this week’s Champions League final, the study called Football Focus estimated that two million motorists have had an accident or near miss when driving and listening to sport on the radio.

Other incidents include speeding up when your team comes under pressure and tailgating other vehicles. I must confess, I often have the same reaction when my wife insists that we listen to Girls Aloud.

Push your business over the line

My old mate Colin Bird, the chief executive of Lloyd’s broker Besso has pulled off a right coup. He’s only gone and signed former England rugby captain Jason Leonard as a business development consultant. Besso hopes that Barking boy Leonard, who had the nickname “The Fun Bus” during his playing career, will open up some doors for its new business team. If it doesn’t work out, I’m sure no one will argue with the 21-stone former prop forward.

The flood of expenses continues

Personally I’m beginning to tire of the never-ending MPs’ expenses stories. I mean, it’s not as if many insurers and brokers were above the odd dodgy claim, is it?

Still, a heart-warming tale from Ruth Kelly, former Cabinet Office minister, who chose to claim for flood damage to her home from the taxpayer, rather than her insurance policy. It’s nice to know that all not policyholders are itching to make claims, but if I were insuring MPs right now, I might start to put the rates up.

Ultra clock watching

Running a marathon in my mind is boarding on the insane. So when Simon Le Mare, an underwriter for Chaucer Syndicate 1084 said he was running the 56-mile Comrades Marathon

I nearly choked on my whisky. For those not in the know Comrades is an ultra-marathon run in South Africa every year from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. Simon says it’s not the distance that’s a problem; he’s worried about losing energy. “Being a naturally slim person, I will be burning up in excess of 10,000 calories on this run, five times the daily intake for a normal man,” he boasted. He says he aims to finish in less than 12 hours.

Well, he better because after 12 hours runners are disqualified. It would be a shame to run all that way with no one at the finishing line.

Encore for Client Number 9

We all know about the tawdry past of former New York governor Elliot Spitzer. But it seems now it’s become the stuff of rock n’ roll. A Hiscox underwriter and three AIG staff have named their rock band, wait for it, Client Number 9. Now in case you’ve been living in a broom cupboard for the past decade, Client Number 9 was Spitzer’s supposedly secret name with the call girls.

Anyway, to give them their plug, the chaps are playing in Leadenhall Market on 30 July. And guess what the cheeky blighters have called their event? One night stand in the market.

Sex, insurance and rock n’ roll. Who said our industry was boring?

Norwich not sick as a canary

Delia Smith’s owned many turkeys in her cooking days, but the biggest one of the lot is surely Norwich City football club. The Canaries relegation to Division One means they will be playing the lowly likes of Yeovil, Stockport and Hartlepool next season. But there is one shining light. It seems Norwich Union (NU), soon to be Aviva, is not going to walk away from the sponsorship deal. Business development manager John Kennedy, a proud Canary, sung a chirpy song when he told me NU would support the club “through thick and thin”.

With fans like that behind them, let’s hope there is a speedy return to championship football.