Those daredevil insurance types have been excelling themselves this week – just as well the Insider’s got his feet firmly on the ground

Pity Maggie Craig. In her day job, the caretaker ABI director-general has been working hard behind the scenes to mitigate the European Court of Justice’s recent ruling on gender pricing and insurance.

But the issue has, I hear, spilled over into her home life too. When I popped into Gresham Street the other day for a catch-up, she told me the Craig household contains no fewer than three young women drivers, who are understandably all irate that mum hadn’t been able to prevent their premiums going up. There’s no rest for some …

Minister in motorway madness …

Guest speaker at the launch of Biba’s latest research report at the House of Commons was none other than my old comrade Mike Penning, whom I had first met while he was serving in the Grenadier Guards. Now roads minister, Mike had to dash up to the London event by car from Milford Haven, Wales. He only made it by the skin of his teeth, in four hours and 20 minutes – impressive by anyone’s standards. But surely the man responsible for the safety of the country’s roads wasn’t speeding? “I wasn’t the driver,” Mike told me, “and I had my eyes closed all the way.”

… and insurer in airline antics

I hear Kane chief executive Stephen May is no stranger to high-speed drama either. On a trip to the USA, May boarded a small plane bound for Charleston, South Carolina. As the plane trundled down the runway, it came to a screeching halt and began to head back to the terminal, the pilot citing a worrying issue with an indicator. But then the pilot returned the plane to the runway and began taxiing out much faster. It wasn’t long before he brought the plane to another sudden halt and announced to the terrified passengers that he “just wanted to be sure”. As if there isn’t enough risk in your everyday life, Stephen.

Put your foot down

Given their day jobs, the biggest risk most insurance executives expose themselves to in their spare time is losing the odd golf ball. So it’s refreshing to see some people doing something a little more exciting with their free time. On 2 April, Lloyd’s syndicate XL London Market aviation underwriter James Owen is taking part in the Targa Tasmania – which, I’m reliably informed, is Australia’s ultimate tarmac rally event – driving his 1968 Triumph TR5. As the sole European challengers, I gather Owen and his co-driver have become minor celebrities out there. This despite Owen’s humble ambitions just to get round the gruelling 2,000km course – “We aren’t going with any pretensions to win anything,” he said. So much for that famed Lloyd’s bravado, then.

Waiting for Gallagher

The Gallagher-snapping-up-Heath-Lambert story has been rumbling on for weeks, but if I were a betting man I’d take a punt it will be over by the end of the month. If the deal does go through, there’s no doubt it will be interesting. If Heath Lambert chief Adrian Colosso stays, will he fit into the US corporate culture of Gallagher? Or will he walk off into the sunset with his millions? But even if the deal does somehow fall through, looking at the appetite of Gallagher, one thing’s for certain: the Americans are coming.

Anyone for an Iggy?

I may be a well-brought up ex-public schoolboy who’s worked in high City circles, but I must say I do love a bit of rock and roll. That’s why I was pleased to hear this week that craggy rocker Iggy Pop made lots of useful suggestions to the Swiftcover team when he featured in their adverts. A rock ’n’ roll guy with a business head? Sounds like my type of guy. Just give me a shout if you fancy a brandy and a cigar, Iggy. IT