Over the weekend I saw a news item on the BBC about foreign language skills and the need to improve people's aptitude. Much to my surprise, the reporter began to discuss Lloyd's of London.

Instead of heading to Balls Brothers at lunchtime, brokers and insurers can go to regular language classes to brush up their French, German and possibly other languages.

This idea must be applauded. The British public's foreign language skills lag behind those of our European cousins. Any effort to improve this position should be encouraged.

What I would like to know is: how many other insurance companies offer language classes to their employees? The large players like Marsh, Willis and Aon certainly have the resources. The same can be said for the likes of Zurich and Norwich Union (although perhaps not Royal & SunAlliance given its problems).

The CII also has a role, not least to support the employees of smaller brokers without the resources to provide language classes. Local insurance instates could also be used to run tutor groups. As the UK's ties with Europe grow ever closer it is imperative that the public's language skills improve too.

Ben Davis