It only took the ABI eight months to find its new director-general ...

... and, this time, it didn’t search as far afield as Australia, just within its own board. Let’s hope Otto Thoresen has a more successful tenure than his shortlived predecessor, Kerrie Kelly.

Thoresen’s appointment is a departure for the ABI, which normally looks to the ranks of Whitehall mandarins and other politicos when fillings its top job. But Thoresen, until recently chief executive of Aegon UK, is an industry man, albeit a life one.

That’s good news. With a bit of luck, it might go some way to addressing concerns that the ABI is too busy lobbying in the corridors of power to get down and dirty with the day-to-day issues of practical importance.

But it won’t comfort those in the general insurance business who feel overlooked in favour of their cousins in life. Thoresen will need to prove his commitment to both sides of the industry – or mutterings of a split in the representative body could grow louder.

The ABI has been hamstrung since Stephen Haddrill’s departure. As Solvency II approaches, its role in leading and representing the industry has never been more important. Thoresen’s got a big job on his hands – and the clock is ticking.

• The IT Pack hits the road again next month for its third year of celebrating new talent in the broking industry. Having seen the first two generations of finalists and winners, I’ve been blown away by the energy, skills and enthusiasm out there – and I look forward to meeting this year’s cream of the crop. Join me in London for the launch event on 31 March, or around the country over the coming months. IT