Capital is coming back. A year ago brokers...

Capital is coming back. A year ago brokers were tearing their hair out trying to secure renewals for liability risks with PI and D&O cover being especially scarce. This year the capital is flooding back - around £500m is set to be released in these areas and the so-called EL crisis is now, according to the Health & Safety Executive, not a crisis. A shame, because the old problems will come back to haunt us in the next cycle.

Talking of cycles, the motor market looks set to shoot itself in the foot. Rates are falling and the FSA has even warned underwriters to hold their nerve. Will the biggest lead the market and hold their prices? I certainly hope so.

On the whole, the year has been one of optimism. The FSA has listened to our lobbying and the rules for insurance sales look sensible - on the whole. This optimism has been reflected in the submissions to our awards.

Record numbers of entrants contested, particularly in the innovation and service provider awards.

In an industry that is too easy to criticise, it has been a joy to see all the effort, enthusiasm and talent that are at our disposal. And that's what the Insurance Times Awards are for; to celebrate what we are doing well. I would like congratulate all our winners and finalists for 2003 and the hundreds of people behind the scenes who worked on the entries - all finalists survived a tough judging and voting process to get to the final shortlist, and should all feel very proud of their achievements.

As in previous years, a huge team of artists and crew worked tirelessly through the night of the awards ceremony to achieve the 'wow' factor we so passionately strive to achieve in all our events. I know that you certainly took many memories away with you from the celebrations of 5 December.

Lastly, and most importantly, I would like to take this opportunity to extend an enormous thank you to all of our sponsors, whose unswerving belief in this event once again made the Insurance Times Awards possible.

I look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Sarah Tunstall
Publishing director
Insurance Times