Spilt daiquiris, milk-sodden laptops, bogus boilers and the history of the Biba manifesto - what has the insurance industry been up to this month? Plus, what’s Monty Python got to do with insurance? You heard it here first… 

The Monty Python of insurance

What happens when Monty Python meets insurance? Well I’ll tell you my lad. At the time of the appeals judgment for business interruption claims, Flaxman Partners’ regional director Michael J Wilson penned these words about reputation, modelled on the famous Dead Parrot sketch.


Insurers’ reputation is dead (with apologies to Monty Python)

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. It’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!

No, no, it’s uh,.. resting.

Look, matey, I know a dead reputation when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.

No no no no, no, no! It’s resting!

All right then, if it’s restin’, I’ll wake him up!

No, no…..No, it’s just stunned by the Supreme Court!


Yeah! They stunned it.

Um…now look, mate, I’ve definitely ‘ad enough of this. This reputation is definitely deceased. It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to the Supreme Court bench it’d be pushing up the daisies! It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!!

The history of the Biba Manifesto

Biba Manifesto 2008

Last month, Biba’s 2021 resilience-themed manifesto was launched, of which there were 20 drafts before the final one.

Biba’s executive director Graeme Trudgill told Insurance Times how the manifesto came to be. The first one was created in 2008 as a way of “joining everything up in one place” for members, staff, journalists, politicians and the regulator.

Biba looked to create a ‘position’ for each manifesto, to debate issues with various committees and create a clear plan of action. Prior to this, Biba used spreadsheets.

Trudgill added: “The rest is history, as they say. I think it’s really good that in the world of lobbying, we are so transparent with what we want and why.

”Members can see a tangible proclamation that we are pushing for the things that we have asked them to help with.”

Bogus boilers 

A Manchester man was sentenced to six months in prison after trying to fraudulently claim £5,000 via an insurance scam that involved his parents’ faulty boiler.

Anthony Dowson, who works for a family-run building firm, claims that his company accidentally drilled through a pipe when laying new flooring for a customer in Salford. He subsequently made a claim for a replacement boiler.

However, investigators found that the customer in question was Dowson’s father and that the house where the stated work was completed was in fact the same address as where the family’s construction company was registered.


Furthermore, invoices used to claim the boiler had been damaged and ruled a total loss came from a plumbing company linked to Dowson’s mother and brother.

The fraud came to light when a claim was submitted to Direct Line for damage, which requested a replacement boiler estimated at £2,000 - the insurer received numerous forged invoices for amounts between £2,690 and £5,020.

Spilt coffee, strawberry daiquiris and ‘nimble’ pets

Last issue, Insurance Times revealed the weirdest claims from Aviva, but March has been a month for insurance “calamities” as Ageas puts it.

The insurer saw a noticeable increase in accidental damage claims (23%) for laptops during 2020 as the UK continues to work from home. Spilt drinks seemed to be the most frequent reason (39%), with tea at 13%, coffee at 21% and water at 31%.

spill drink on laptop

Meanwhile, one claimant spilt red wine on their laptop while watching a live stream during lockdown, one spilt a strawberry daiquiri and another policyholder dropped Prosecco bringing in the new year via Zoom.

Several Ageas customers had their children drop milk over laptops last year and claims also arose after cats or dogs knocked laptops off sofas.


The Speculator 


Last month in Allianz Holdings’s full year results, Steve Treloar, LV= General Insurance’s (LV=GI) chief executive, confirmed that there would be 300 redundancies as part of the business restructuring programme. Allianz and LV= merged in August 2019.

Previously, in July 2020, LV= reported that it was considering 600 potential staff cuts as it revealed its restructuring project to integrate Legal & General GI into its broader business. 

Meanwhile, independent broker Be Wiser also announced last month that it was starting the consultation process with its 280 employees around potential job losses as a result of a business reorganisation programme. The number of jobs at risk will be confirmed shortly after the month-long staff consultation. 

Saga, last year in July, revealed that it was considering making 300 redundancies at its Folkstone and Ramgate sites due to the impact of Covid-19 on the travel insurance industry. 

Whether because of Covid-linked cost cutting or simply the knock-on effect from acquisitions, the past year has certainly seen insurance staff at some firms dwindle. Although the coronavirus vaccine is undoubtedly a positive for the UK’s financials long-term, will a potential economic upswing come too late to save staff at struggling firms?