It was the week Towergate didn’t sell Broker Network and the Post Office didn’t get through to its staff …
When it comes to the Post Office, you really couldn’t make it up. The organisation has lined up a solid insurer, Fortis, as underwriter for its products, with Heath Lambert doing the broking. To you and me in the insurance world, that’s a pretty understandable relationship.
But it’s not so obvious to the Post Office staff, so they were all set to receive an information pack last week explaining the new set-up. But unfortunately many of the packs didn’t arrive because of, well, yes, you’ve guessed it, the postal strike. Now what's that old expression about not shooting the messenger?
The great Towergate sale (kind of)
The insurance market is full of the greatest deals that never were. And here’s a new one for you. Back in the spring, when Towergate was running around trying to renegotiate its covenants with no less than 30 banks, one of the sticking points was the consolidator’s debt. There were a few grand schemes to bring this down, the most interesting being to flog off parts of Broker Network. Several insurers were approached to take stakes in the network, at a time when networks themselves were coming under some scrutiny. There was also some talk of an outright sale: a couple of private equity houses expressed initial interest when chief executive Grant Ellis was sent out, PowerPoint presentation in hand, on the sale trail. But Andy Homer and Peter Cullum being the smooth talkers they are, not to mention with deep pockets, the covenants were sorted without the need for a sale. And I’m assured Broker Network is staying in the Towergate family. Until next time …
Largeing it at the Gherkin
To the top of the Gherkin for the 60th birthday bash of Michael Edwards, founder and boss of motorbike broker MCE. It was a lavish affair and the Edwards family were out in force following the company’s landmark sponsorship of the Super Bikes event. MCE is known for its own brand of brash comedy and in particular its marketing character, the Big Ed – who’s a bit like the Stig in Top Gear, only a little smoother. Edwards decided to call his party the Big One and the invitation featured Michael’s hands straddling the landmark St Mary’s Axe building. On the night there was a line-up of familiar faces, including Neil Utley and Charles Earl. But it was Academy Insurance’s Dave Bard who seemed to be making the biggest stir – true to the style of the event.
Up the celebrity ladder
Meanwhile, over in the West End, claims outfit Crawford was entertaining the press at the Opera Arcade. Ian Muress was hosting, while Benedict Burke attended to important CII business. It was Bobby Gracey, Crawford’s fraud guru, who took centre stage following his appearance in our Up the Ladder section last week. But the article isn’t the only reason Bobby gets attention. Apparently he has a string of celebrity friends on the Scottish circuit – and has the photos on his phone to prove it. So if you’re ever in Glasgow and wanting a night out with… Rab C Nesbitt, say, Bobby is your man.
For those of you enjoying Saturday nights on the couch watching X-Factor, I have some good news. Church insurer Ecclesiastical are launching their very own carol version of the show, aptly called The Christmas Factor. All you’ve got to do is come up with your very own Christmas carol song. You won’t get an evening with Simon Cowell and a multimillion-pound record deal, but there’s a £1,000 prize up for grabs – and your carol will be performed on your very own doorstep. In fact, apparently it will be the largest doorstep carol ever performed. I’ve always fancied being in the Guinness Book of World Records, so I’ll definitely be taking part. For full details go to www.ecclesiastical.com/christmasfactor IT