It’s all chills, thrills and spills in the Insider’s gossip round-up this week

We do live in a bizarre world, as this little black comedy of a story will demonstrate. Ian Fitzpatrick, a partner at regional solicitors Canter Levin &?Berg, was all set to attend a conference for personal injury lawyers. But on the big day, the poor chap was run over by a taxi. Thankfully, the popular brief is on the mend, although nursing a broken leg and cheekbone. As a personal injury specialist, he can see the irony of it all. A pal of his told me: “I don't know who insured the taxi, but I’ll bet that once the PI lawyers have finished their feeding frenzy, that insurer won’t find it very amusing!”

The ice is right

Yorkshire-based broker Henderson has its fingers in a lot of pies. It’s a proud sponsor of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, as well as having links with Scunthorpe Speedway, Leeds Rhinos and Donington Park. But its burly chief executive Joe Henderson won’t stop there. He’s put his hand in his pocket again and is targeting a global audience. What could he have in mind, I hear you ask. The Fifa World Cup? Rugby’s Six Nations? Not quite.

Henderson will be sponsoring the women’s British bobsleigh team in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In a story reminiscent of the 1993 hit movie Cool Runnings (well, almost), Henderson will back Sheffield-born Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke as they target victory. “We’d love to take credit for the girls winning, but it’s obviously more to do with their hard work and talent,” the broker said. I do hope they win. I’d love to see Henderson celebrating with a tea cosy on his head …

In the red, and in the blue

RSA took a bunch of food-loving hacks out for dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s renowned Maze restaurant last week. With Ramsay’s businesses reportedly struggling because of the financial crisis, he must have been grateful for the insurer’s presence at one of his private dining suites. My spies tell me that the guests were even rewarded with a trip into the great kitchen itself, and although Ramsay himself wasn’t present, I’m told the air was still a distinct shade of blue.

Is it a ghost? A ghoul??No, it’s a breeze

And so it was off to the Tower of London last week for Groupama, which lavished a treat on its broker partners. Before the meal, the guests were taken on a tour around the Tower. The beefeater guide told some gruesome stories of beheaded princes, skeletons falling out of dark places and blood spilled on the cold stones of the historic site. As the beefeater told his final gory story, the guests shivered. Although it was probably just the cold November wind – it takes a lot to scare a broker. Luckily, there was some warm food, good wine and a far less grisly speech from Groupama’s chief executive FXB to cheer guests up.

Stuck on repeat

I hear Lloyd’s head of claims Kent Chaplin is working very hard to make sure everyone knows about the insurance giant’s claims transformation project. At a Lloyd’s seminar on claims reform this week, Chaplin was teased by fellow speaker Markel International claims manager Graeme Veale, who said the joke in the market was that Chaplin had even given his presentation to the Women’s Institute. Good effort indeed. My son’s school is looking for someone to talk at its annual prize day. I’m sure Chaplin would be most welcome there too.

Cold comfort

New Aviva general insurance head David McMillan is a bit of a footy fan, I hear. The Scottish director has spent some time braving the cold to watch his team, Scottish second division’s Arbroath FC. Now, a prime seat in the cosy comfort of Norwich City corporate hospitality awaits him. The boy’s come a long way. IT