This week, our Insider gets up close and personal in the world of politics, tips his hat to Cheryl ‘Dangerous’ Cole and gets some tips on dealing with PPI cold callers

Young tearaway

Jack Straw, the ABI’s director-general Otto Thoresen and operations chief Huw Evans spoke, at the Labour Party conference, on improving safety for young drivers. Huw, a former Labour press officer, said he once drove Straw at breakneck speed through Harlow to catch a train, but Straw remarked that he would rather miss the train than the next Labour government. “When it comes to exercising restraint on careless drivers, Jack practises what he preaches,” Huw said.

Smaller is bigger

Financial Ombudsman Service boss Natalie Ceeney cannot be accused of immodesty. Speaking at the Labour Party conference, the watchdog boss said she was “probably the only chief executive in Britain who thinks it would be really nice if their organisation was smaller”. An alien concept to most insurance bods I know.

Greek omen

Is it really all that bad in Greece? My old pal Jon Moulton, who runs private equity firm Better Capital, tells me he’s invested in a Greek motor insurer called HD Insurance. I asked Jon if he was concerned about the state of the country and he said: “Yes, but opportunity in chaos favours those with good balance sheets and no legacy problems.” Bravo Jon. Let’s hope this is a happy tale rather than a Greek tragedy.

Anyone there?

Rubbing shoulders with the great and the good in the world of politics I bumped into Lord Wilf Stevenson, head of the Consumer Credit Counselling Service. Wilf tells me he’s being pestered by cold callers, usually pesky PPI claims farmers. “My tactic is to leave the phone off the hook and let them run up the bill,” he said.


It seems executives at Munich Re-owned insurer Ergo can’t get enough seedy entertainment. There were red faces at the insurer last year after a newspaper revealed sales executives had been rewarded with prostitutes in 2011. Now an investigation by the company has uncovered further misdemeanours, including visits to a ‘swinger hotel’ in Jamaica. What’s more, the company has published its findings on its website. Thank goodness other companies don’t have Ergo’s commendable approach to transparency. I don’t want to know what else goes on.

Pricey tunes

Cheryl Cole is certainly racking up the insurance bills. Reports this week reveal that she’ll need to fork out up to £2m in events insurance for her up-coming shows. They apparently involve all sorts of dangerous stunts, which is why the insurers have put such a hefty premium on the risk. Please don’t break a leg, Cheryl.