2009 has been gloomy in places, but there have been many shining moments

It’s been a funny old year. We said goodbye to Igal Mayer, Guy Munnoch, Martin Hudson, John Kitson, AIG as we know it, Chris Sullivan and droves of RBS Insurance executives. We said farewell too to Aon’s pension scheme, another chunk of motor reserves and to any kind of AXA collaboration with the credit hire industry.

There have also been some ‘hello’s: to recession, increased fraud, to more and more MGAs, to the realities of Solvency II, and to Paul Geddes, Stephen Lewis and a double whammy of outsourcing and savage cost-cutting.

We’ve seen some ‘welcome back’s and plenty of market speculation too: think Mark Cliff, Peter Hubbard, Mark Hodges, hardening motor rates and enough acquisition fodder to fuel a small economy.

And despite the gloom, there has been some fun: hundreds of you danced in sync to Tony Hadley at the Insurance Times Awards. We saw a memorable Biba conference land in Manchester. And the market descended on a sun-drenched beach in Bournemouth for the Airmic conference, not to mention the annual Monte Carlo Rendez-Vous.

But let’s not forget that, despite it being the season of goodwill, there have been a fair few rucks as well. The market appeared to overheat a few times as businesses moved rapidly to respond to unprecedented economic drivers and flagrant rhetoric. We saw Aviva square up to consolidators; trade credit insurers to the government; and Towergate to its banks (all 26 of them).

There have also been a good few juicy restrictive covenant cases hitting the High Court, and who could forget the branding dispute between Heath Lambert and Groupama at Biba? On top of all that, throw into the mix a couple of hot-headed consolidators punching first, asking questions later, and then wondering: “Why me?” But it’s Christmas, after all, so let’s drink to a truce and agree to resume proceedings afresh all over again in 2010.

I would like to wish you all a merry Christmas, a prosperous New Year, and to thank you for your support since we relaunched Insurance Times 12 months ago. We’ll be back on 7 January, but in the meantime, you can view extended content and coverage online at www.insurancetimes.co.uk throughout the festive period. IT