The Insider admires a hedonistic approach to the high seas, and clears his cache after an alarming web encounter

Fame, fortune and fawning female fans – Justin Timberlake has it all, or so you would think. But it seems that what the American pop singer really wants is anonymity. In his desperation to escape the fame-hungry kiss ’n’ tell types, he reportedly used a sneaky little ploy. He’d arrive at a nightclub, looking suitably dapper, and inevitably catch a lady’s eye. After a bit of smooth talk, he would bedazzle her with his slick slides across the dance floor and, when the time was right, he’d offer his business card. But to discourage those ladies more interested in his celebrity profile than his personality and charm, the super-cool singer picked out a job he considered as dull as dishwater. And what did his business card say? “Justin, insurance broker …”

Pushing the boat out … eventually

The who’s who of Lloyd’s were racing at Cowes last week. After navigating the insurance giant through the financial storm, they decided to pit their wits against the real elements. On board their yacht, Lutine, were chief executive Richard Ward, financial officer Luke Savage and general counsel Sean McGovern. It seems they had their most riotous year yet, with 30 bigwigs from the insurance world invited to quaff champagne and fine wine. Twitter page boasts reveal that, after countless hours of the high life, it wasn’t until day three that Lutine set off. Now that’s what you call a pre-race warm up.


Richard Branson loves to tell us that business shouldn’t be boring. It turns out that chief executive Kevin Spencer and his directors at Markerstudy have really taken that philosophy to heart. Their website is emblazoned with the catchphrase “Putting the ‘fun’ back into insurance”. Click through and you eventually get to a rather bizarre scene of the “the boys” dancing to a Christmas theme tune, heads super-imposed on the bodies of male strippers. Could this be a teaser for the office Christmas party? Now that would be a sight.

Flipping the bird

The struggling canary has finally dropped off its perch and into its own poop at the bottom of the cage. That must be the feeling of Norwich City fans and its sponsors Aviva after watching their team humiliated 7-1 at home to Colchester United on the opening day of the League One campaign, the heaviest home defeat in the club’s 107-year history. A couple of particularly disgruntled fans, still hurting from the Canaries’ relegation earlier this summer, ran onto the pitch and threw their season tickets at manager Bryan Gunn. Reports are as yet unconfirmed that Towergate chairman Peter Cullum and Aviva business development director John Kennedy were bundled off the pitch by stewards.

Double oh dear

I get the feeling that Peter Mandelson has always fancied himself as a bit of a James Bond-type character. So it comes as no surprise to learn from one mole that the trade credit insurers had to sign the Official Secrets Act when agreeing to take part in the government’s top-up scheme. Sadly, the ill-fated venture has suffered a particularly bad take-up and the government has been desperately revising the terms of agreement with insurers. One wag told me: “If there was a secret, it’s out now. The government’s top-up scheme is a load of b*****ks.”

No escape

For some, no matter where you go, there is no escaping the office. Just take new Aon chief executive Rob Brown, who on a recent family holiday to Orlando, Florida, had to find the time to join a conference call. Unfortunately for Rob, it clashed with the day he was visiting Universal Studios. Keen to make a good impression, he dashed from his favourite attraction – the Simpsons Ride – and fought through the crowds to try and find somewhere quiet enough to join the call, but soon found it impossible. He eventually dialled in and found solace thanks to the “mute” button. But I can’t help wonder why he didn’t go on a peaceful boat trip to Amity Island? It’s not as if he would have got attacked by sharks or anything.