Just as IT announced it was to get a new editor, the GISC faced the humiliation of admitting it would miss the deadline of March 1 for being a compulsory regulator ahead of the new Competition Act.

Tesco, one of the brokers' main bugbears, announced it was to start selling motor insurance at the checkout and Helphire ran into a few legal problems over credit hire arrangements. The crisis in cash-strapped bodyshops forced the RAC to increase its payments and brokers complained about mortgage sellers still arm-twisting house buyers into buying their insurance.

Elsewhere this month claims became news as local government insurer Zurich Municipal braced itself for swathes of child abuse claims and Newcastle United fans took out what turned out to be inadequate legal expenses insurance to fight manager Kevin Keegan.

Cox insurance went on the rampage buying Argent and Brokersure. And St Paul's edge in the solicitor's PI market came under fire from giant broker Aon while the US version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire was attacked by Goshawk, which had insured the producers against paying out the larger sums that the US show seemed to be giving away.

Then the big story broke: CGU and NU were to merge. Brokers expressed disquiet over costs, over market share, over service standards. And that was just in the first week. As the merger moved on, the letters increased and the complaints also turned to dual pricing. Bound by stock exchange vows of silence, the firms were unable to respond.