In homage to his idol, the Insider is getting an urge to don a leather jacket – and a chest wig

Did any of you watch the ’80s TV series Knight Rider, with the lovable talking car called Kitt? Well, manufacturers aren’t quite at that level of artificial intelligence yet, but things are moving along quickly. Take this example: a dear friend of mine was recently at the Motor Insurers Repair Research Centre near Reading, when a boffin sitting next to him mentioned the next stage of car development. Apparently, vehicle manufacturers in Sweden are creating a car with in-built sensors to detect alcohol on the breath. If it’s over the limit, the car immobilises until the sozzled driver sobers up. Let’s hope the manufacturers rush it out before the Christmas party season begins!

Beware the black swan

The things they come up with to alarm the insurance industry … The latest one is about asteroid attacks. Risk Management Solutions estimates that an asteroid hitting a city like New York could cause more than $1 trillion’s worth of damage. They base the forecast on an asteroid that exploded into the Tunguska River in central Siberia in 1908, which had an impact about 1,000 times the power of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb. Their advice: make sure your business is spread throughout many cities in case of any asteroid strike. I’m sure it’s something that will cause insurance bosses many a sleepless night …

Cutting off the eye candy

It’s all kicking off down at Aon Benfield. A spy tells me that staff are gloomy and unsettled – and it’s all down to their computer wallpaper. Apparently, staff have been told they can only have company-approved wallpaper on their screens. One disgruntled mole whispered in my ear: “I’m really upset. I loved looking at my picture of David Beckham; it warmed my heart on those cold winter days. Now all I’ve got is the company logo, which let’s face it, isn’t what you’d call sexy.”

No rest for the wicked

I was stuck in the office last week on a rainy afternoon, so I asked my Facebook friends what was going on in the world of insurance. One cheeky respondent remarked “Nothing at all, we’re all on Facebook”, while another claimed that the site was a distraction to their job hunting (just remember who might be looking over your shoulder!).

One friend – already anticipating the festive season – claimed to be “looking forward to the work Christmas party”, while one of my more senior pals was hunting out acquisitions for his company. Conferences were also popular, with one attending the Broker Network regional meeting in Bristol and another heading to the Biba conference at Airth Castle. Honestly, it’s all go sometimes …

Insurance Times??It’s a steal …

Bringing the news that matters. Providing guidance, insight, analysis and comment. Entertaining and informing. Insurance Times has many, many uses. But imagine the team’s surprise when they found out there was one that even they hadn’t thought of. Apparently, upon breaking into the London HQ of a leading insurer recently, a cunning burglar disguised himself as a bona fide insurance type with – what else – a copy of IT under his arm. Make sure you keep yours locked away this festive season; they’re in hot demand.

In the Hoff seat

Everyone’s furry favourite Aleksandr Orlov – ie the annoyingly popular meerkat from the TV ads – is really raising his profile. Not only does he have tons more Facebook friends than me, but now he has launched his own podcast – called ‘Meerchat’. To kick it off, he’s even managed to get Baywatch and Knight Rider legend – and my idol – David “The Hoff” Hasselhoff to be his first guest, which I’ll admit is rather impressive. I’ve been considering my own chat show for a while now, would you believe. I’ve also earmarked a Baywatch legend as my inaugural guest – Pamela Anderson, that is. IT