This year’s Biba conference offers visitors some novel experiences, from a “diary room”-style confessional, to a chance to challenge a snooker champ. Lauren MacGillivray picks out the best in show

The Biba conference provides exhibitors with a rare chance to woo hundreds of brokers in one location. With more than 140 confirmed stands, you can be sure that stall owners will be making every effort to stick out from the crowd and get your attention.

Insurance Times has learned that the Broker Network isn’t exactly playing fair. It will have an actual pub, called the Independence Inn.

“It is built around our brands Broker Network and Countrywide, with ‘pub grub’ menus on the table, which will detail our propositions,” a spokesman said. “We will be serving beer, wine and soft drinks, all in branded bottles and glasses. It will look and feel like a modern gastro-style public house. Our plasma screen will show newly filmed footage of our members and employees talking about life in Broker Network and Countrywide.”

If you fancy a more flash tipple, you can head to the Bluefin bar, which promises “flamboyant and colourful” cocktails.

Meanwhile, the fame-seekers among you might want to check out Towergate’s stand. It will also be serving beer, but has added a “diary room” where you can let off steam or even tell a joke on camera. You might feel a bit shy, considering Towergate’s senior management plan to man the stand. But it could be worth your while: Biba chief executive Eric Galbraith will be choosing the most thought-provoking and entertaining entries for a prize. Be warned, though: highlights of the contributions will be shown on the main screen of Towergate’s stand on Friday morning.

Alternatively, if your liver’s still hurting from opening night, you can always indulge in an ice cream instead. QBE’s stand will be a 1950s-style American ice cream parlour, where delegates will be able to get scoops with sprinkles, or a fruit smoothie.

That winning feeling

Meanwhile, if you feel like getting sporty, you can test your mettle on The Chartered Insurance Institute’s stand by pitting yourself against snooker legend Mark Selby. The world number four from Leicester will be taking on all-comers at the eight-ball green baize game, following the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible in Sheffield earlier this month.

If you’re after more than bragging rights, there are also prizes up for grabs. Sterling is holding a contest to see who can come up with the best name for the Sterling lion. The winner gets a meal for two worth up to £150. Just write your suggestion on a business card and pass it to the team at the stand. The winning idea will be drawn from a list of the best on the final day of the conference.

Then there’s Cunningham Lindsey’s “money grabber game”, based on Grab a Grand, the Noel Edmonds show from the ’90s. Those who visit the loss adjuster’s stand can enter a tank for 30 seconds and try to grab as many Cunningham Lindsey notes as possible while jets of air blow them around – not as easy as you might think.

After each session, the amount of notes the player has collected are counted. The person with the most at the end of each day (excluding opening night) can win a prize of up to £150.

Meanwhile, CFH Total Document Management will be promoting its Docmail online mailing service. It may not sound as exciting as a pub or free money, but stopping at its booth will make you feel ethical after all that excess – it’s giving away trees.

“Yes, real trees – saplings obviously – because we are a printer with a conscience,” says the company’s marketing director, Karen Broadway.

Broadway adds that the UK has less woodland than Morocco, and something needs to be done about it. Therefore, over the past 12 years, in conjunction with The Woodland Trust, the company has planted more than 70,000 trees under the CFH Toptree banner. IT