Our Backchat insider wonders whether the cowboy spirit is still to be found at Lloyd’s

Wild west
Lloyd’s conjures up a lot of things for me, but dusty Stetsons, spurs and six-shooters weren’t among them - at least until I chatted to R&Q chief Ken Randall. Commenting on the progress Lloyd’s has made in its governance and structure in recent years, Ken quipped: “It is no longer the wild west it used to be.” Ken’s right, but I reckon one still could find the odd cowboy if one looked hard enough.

High flyer
Is it a bird? No. Is it a plane? Yes - and it’s being flown by XL Group chief executive Mike McGavick. I was recently chatting to the insurance veteran, who informed me that in his spare time he is a keen pilot, and regularly flies a learjet to various insurance conferences around the world.

Early mark
Aon Benfield staff must be wishing the UK hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games more often. I hear that staff at the broker’s London offices were allowed to leave early to watch the Olympic parade on Monday, and were then permitted to take the rest of the day off.

Down wind
Who’s good with windmills? I hear that a group of volunteers are desperate for someone to write liability cover that will let them repair a grade II-listed windmill outside Brighton, but UK insurers keep turning them down. Anyone game should email shpp@btinternet.com.

It’s goodbye to Allianz Commercial general manager Chris Hanks, who is retiring after 45 years at various guises of the company. I caught up with Chris last week, who informed me he had a great time at Allianz but has no plans for what to do next. So, any suggestions?

Rock ‘n’ roll
Many insurance folk have taken holidays at this time of year, but I bet none planned anything as daring as Stuart Randall. The Ataraxia boss tells me he and a friend are about to spend a week driving a Ford Mustang muscle car 2,448 miles across America on the infamous Route 66. “We would have gone on Harley Davidsons, but he didn’t want to,” Stuart informs me.

Super duper
When is a broker not just a broker? When they work for Guy Carpenter. At the Monte Carlo Rendez-Vous this week, Guy Carp vice-chairman David Priebe introduced EMEA head Nick Frankland as a “super-broker”, and Nick announced Asia-Pacific chief James Nash as a “super-super-broker”. Soon Guy Carp will have the most outlandish business cards around.

Fighting fit
Anyone feeling active? The chaps at LV= are once again sponsoring the Brentwood Half Marathon and Fun Run on 24 March 2013, and they are keen for some insurance bods to sign up. I understand a lot of the LV= top brass plan to get their running shoes on and tackle the route. Last year I wrote about seeing Insurance Times’s own Danny Walkinshaw overtaking LV= broker managing director Phil Bunker during the run - are you ready for a rematch, Phil?