’Insurance may seem like a mundane realm, but as the poems show, it’s a rich tapestry of human chaos, from tragedy to comedy and beyond,’ says poet 

English performance punk poet John Cooper Clarke has written a new body of work inspired by some of Hiscox’s most unusual insurance claims.

John Cooper Clarke

John Cooper Clarke

Known as the Bard of Salford, he was recruited by the insurer as its “(under)writer in residence” as part of a new campaign.

Clarke is best known for works such as Evidently Chickentown and I wanna be yours.

For Hiscox, he has written five new poems, which have been inspired by some of the insurer’s most extraordinary claims.

For example, he penned one about a “jewellery heist carried out by a thieving poltergeist”.

Another documents a wildlife photographer who had his equipment pinched by some cheeky baboons and a farmer that claimed for the loss of his prize bull’s semen.

Clarke’s appointment came after new data from the insurer revealed that 23% of small business owners have made claims for mishaps that were unexpected.

And 26% of small businesses don’t have business insurance to help when things go wrong.

Clarke said: “Just as nobody would have predicted that I’d end up in the insurance bracket, it turns out there’s not much that you can safely predict in running a small business.

“Insurance may seem like a mundane realm, but as the poems show, it’s a rich tapestry of human chaos, from tragedy to comedy and beyond.”

His works were released on World Poetry Day on 21 March 2024.

60 seconds with Fiona Mayo

The insurer approached Clarke as he is “an excellent storyteller and has an exceptional ability to understand people”, Fiona Mayo, chief marketing officer at Hiscox, told Insurance Times.

She explained that “his passion for understanding people and their stories really resonates” with Hiscox.

For Mayo, Clarke’s new poems are there to be enjoyed, which she said was the most important thing.

“There’s also something about his style – which is distinctive, intelligent and witty,” she said.

“[It is] also a great reminder of how important it is to be ready for life’s unexpected challenges.”

Mayo added that Hiscox was ”very passionate about art in all forms”.

For example, last year Hiscox held an exclusive drinks reception unveiling its collection of high net worth art. It featured Scottish artist Jim Lambie’s work called Seat belt – a deconstructed metal chair frame embellished with belts.

“Beyond that, we know that our claims service is a real point of difference for us,” Mayo said.

“Every single day, there are any number of stories of how we help our customers out should the worst happen, from the mundane to the weird and wonderful.

“It is when the worst happens that Hiscox comes to the fore and so we wanted to bring this to life. It’s been fascinating to observe his creative take on our customer stories.”