Insider polices the networks’ turf rivalry, angles for a knighthood and raises an eyebrow at the FSA’s Christmas frolics

As the old cliché goes, insurance is a relationships business. But sometimes those relationships can sour – especially when a bit of old-fashioned rivalry gets in the way. And nowhere is this more true than in the increasingly crowded arena of broker networks. I bumped into an old pal of mine at the club the other day, and he was telling me how one of the networks had started targeting another with a mass mail-out to all its members. Apparently the headline “Has your network lost its venom?” didn’t go down too well with the boss of the besieged network. His suggested response? “Does your network take you for GRANT-ed?”. Now, now, boys…

Prince’s pride

I was rubbing shoulders with Prince Charles recently. He does drone on a bit about architecture, birds’ migratory habits, herbal remedies and kicking his wretched mum off the throne. But among all the chaff, I did pick up some wheat. He says he’s proud of a certain insurance man called Paul Maidment. He was at Allianz recently, heading up its South and London trading account. Apparently, the fellow has spent hours helping the Prince’s Trust and recently received an award for his work with the charity. A little birdie tells me that “no one had ever seen him smile so much” as during the presentation. It’s nice to be recognised for your achievements. Which reminds me, when am I going to be knighted? Sir Insider . . . rather catchy, no?

Add Insider on Facebook

My previous call to arms to help me reach 100 Facebook friends was well received and I’ve well and truly smashed that target now. The next milestone is 200 friends – so come on, people, it can be done. Demand is still high for more of your photos on this page and the Insurance Times crew assures me there will be room for more in the coming weeks. So let me know if you want your face to appear here or surprise a friend and nominate their mugshot. Find me on Facebook as Backchat Insider.

Santa’s secrets

Talk about reward for failure. It’s been revealed that the FSA held three Christmas parties costing more than £200,000 at the height of the banking crisis last year for its 2,800 staff. What I find cheeky is the fact that the FSA walloped brokers and insurers with huge annual fee increases straight after their bloated stomachs had digested the Christmas pudding. Some brokers will pay nearly double their fees to fund the FSA’s extra £117m in 2009/10. What does this mean for next Christmas? Diamond-encrusted Rolex watches in the FSA Santa sack? An all-staff holiday in the Caribbean with first-class air travel?

Green shoots and watering holes

The annual Biba conference isn’t known for its green credentials, what with all the welcoming parties, late-night drinking and other festivities. But I hear this year’s do will feature an environmentally-minded exhibitor who’s giving away actual trees – saplings to be precise. Another exhibitor will be giving away beer, wine and spirits. I wonder at which booth the herd of brokers is more likely to be found?

Raise the roof and have some fun

Mrs Insider is a die-hard Lionel Richie fan. Through the mists of time, I seem to remember that “Endless Love” was played at our wedding. I think I was at the bar knocking back a brandy at the time, but still. Anyway, when my son heard that the great crooner was back on tour recently, he seized his opportunity and bought me and his mother a pair of tickets (on my Amex, of course, and no doubt just to get us out of the way so he could have one of those MySpace parties I keep reading about). Still, along we toddled – and who should we bump into but half the great and the good of the insurance world, waving their lighters and strutting their stuff. Even Adrian Colosso was there, and I always thought he was more into dance music. But no, there he was singing his heart out – all night long (all night)…