The Backchat Insider hears of Homer’s Sun-inspired plans for Biba and is assured that Galbraith isn’t dancing … unless you’re asking?

Backchat Insider

Name dropping to new heights

It’s a dream come true for Towergate Underwriting chief executive Clive Nathan, Ageas chief executive Barry Smith and Deloitte partner Ian Clark. They are all excited about attending a Spurs game in the next few weeks with legendary midfield hardman Steve Perryman as a special guest. It’s all good stuff, but then compare that to AXA personal lines boss Steve Hardy. He is pals with the West Ham chief executive and Apprentice star Karen Brady. Who would you rather dine with: an attractive TV celebrity businesswoman or a grey-haired ex-footballer?

Dance like nobody’s watching

Over a glass of red at the Insurance Times Awards, my old mate Biba chief executive Eric Galbraith espoused the benefits of remaining flexible in a competitive market. So attuned to this theory is Galbraith that he informed me he regularly participates in “stretching classes”. But like a true Scotsman, he was very sure to confirm that these classes are “definitely not ballet or dancing”.

No foal play

Is Peter Knowles the most well-mannered man in insurance? The MMA head of UK development, a keen horse lover, was riding along the beach in his fluorescent vest when he heard a plane. Apparently, planes are obliged to fly away from horses if the rider is wearing the vest, and this aircraft duly obliged. Peter later phoned the local air base to say a big thank you. What a nice bloke.

Towergate leaver’s Biba fever

Andy Homer is just about to take over as Biba chairman, but I hear he’s already making waves at John Stow House. At a recent board meeting, the association’s annual manifesto came up. The ex-Towergate chief executive observed that, to get the message across, it should be written in Sun reader language. I can hardly wait for my super soaraway manifesto 2012 in the New Year.

Textual relations

I attended the packed-out Insurance Times Awards last week, where the audience was entertained by the exuberant Vernon Kay. When giving the audience instructions on how to send amusing messages to the large screens that overlooked the hall, Kay had a wry word of warning. Referring to the tabloid storm over his X-rated text messages earlier this year, he joked: “When you post a message on the big screen, make sure you mean it. A lot of people - believe me - can interpret messages in a way they are not intended.”

Crash course in Solvency II

Now we know why Carlos Montalvo is such a fixture on the conference circuit. The impish executive director of Euro-insurance regulator Eiopa told last week’s ABI Solvency II conference that he has three small children at home in Frankfurt. As a result, he said, he goes to hotels for a good night’s sleep.

In so many words

My long career has taught me that insurance industry jargon sneaks into the most unlikely places. Metropolitan Police industry liaison officer Ian Elliott said that informants were once dubbed ‘snouts’, a phrase familiar to those of us who remember seminal cop drama The Sweeney. But apparently now informants are referred to as ‘covert human intelligence sources’. Surely this more cumbersome new name has nothing to do with the tie-up with the insurance industry, Ian?