Norwich Union (NU) is riding the crest of a wave. Profits, due to be announced yesterday, are blisteringly good for the general insurance business. And once-sceptical brokers are falling over themselves to say how NU is finally turning its service performance around.

It is easy to see why it could be a great time to bow out. According to market rumours, intermediary business director Ken Wallace could be preparing to move on from his job.

An early retirement is possible, but with the state of current pension funds, Backchat's money is on a prestigious job within the Aviva Group, but without the endless days on the road.

Wallace denies all knowledge of any retirement or job prospect. He joked: "I'd be the last to know."