The Backchat Insider notes that some insurers are planning a more austere Biba conference this year … and is impressed that so many from the industry took to the streets for the London Marathon

Toning down the excess

The word on the street is that some insurers are planning to scale back their lavish parties and left-field entertainment ideas at this year’s Biba conference, in line with the current economic climate. Last year one firm whisked off a group of brokers to a monastery. While monks are normally associated with austerity, events that evening were no doubt far from solemn, with the odd glass or two of mead consumed.

Suits you, sir

If you’ve been through an airport in the last few years you might be familiar with Trunki suitcases for children, which rose to fame after the inventor went on TV show Dragon’s Den to get backing for his product, unsuccessfully. The inventor, Rob Law, wanted to break into the US market, but needed public and product liability insurance first. With no insurers keen to help, Rob was getting desperate. Fortunately Biba’s helpline came up trumps and Rob is now
set to conquer America.

As clear as mud

I was chatting to a broker compliance chum last week who gave me a snippet of information about the FSA that I found quite hard to believe. Many brokers may scoff, but the regulator has a plain language department. The FSA is, apparently, keen to increase its use of clear English.

Running scared

My distance-running days may be over, but I took the time to go to see the London Marathon last weekend. A good proportion of the runners listed their profession as ‘insurance’ – 514 men and 144 women, according to official figures. How many of those were disguised in wacky outfits is up for debate.

Keeping it in the family

Congratulations to Biba head of corporate affairs Graeme Trudgill, who has recently achieved his FCII qualifications from the Chartered Insurance Institute. His Biba colleagues are particularly impressed that Trudders has managed this despite his burgeoning family, and joke that FCII stands for ‘four children, in insurance’.

Up from the sticks

I met up with my old pal Ian Gosden this week, who had travelled to London from the West Country on his birthday. The Higos managing director said he planned to celebrate by visiting a casino, ending up in his favourite restaurant. He was also enthusiastic about a Higos television advert, which is due to air in May during Coronation Street on ITV1.

No, not you. Or you. Or you …

My wooden spoon award this week goes to Aviva. In a blunder, the insurer sent an email to 1,300 workers telling them to clear their desks. It was meant for just one employee. The HR department quickly sent an apology note to the rest of its staff.