This week, the Backchat Insider has enjoyed hearing a trader’s tales and an insurer boss’s tip for confusing the FSA

Hot stuff

Towergate staff hopped on the plane to make their way to Portugal for their annual conference this week. The staff have a hard slog ahead of them at the event, but my spies tell me that they are just about managing to cope with the 26ºC weather, bars and golden beaches. It’s a hard life, eh?

So unexpected …

Hats off to NIG director Dave Parry, who knows how to cope when the cameras are rolling. In the video interview room of the Insurance Times Global Leaders Forum drinks reception, Dave avoided the all-too-common pitfall of stumbling over his words by coming prepared - with an A4 page of handwritten notes.

No other way

The countdown to the LV= Brentwood half marathon in March is well and truly underway. Expect to see some of the stars of TV show The Only Way is Essex out in force, as well as LV=’s very own ‘Reem Team’, which will include group chief executive Mike Rogers and GI boss John O’Roarke, dressed in matching
green running outfits.

Feeling blue

I understand that Bluefin has the dubious honour of placing Manchester City’s personal accident cover. Seems like a good fit at first glance - the company has the right colour in its name, at least. However, it also means that Bluefin marketing head Peter Elliott, a Newcastle supporter, is put in the slightly awkward position of having to pledge allegiance to a team that isn’t his own.

Parlez-vous François?

Groupama chief executive François-Xavier Boisseau is a distinctive figure in the market, famous for his colourful bow ties and Gallic charm. FXB, as he is known, told me he’s hung on to his strong French accent, despite years of speaking English for a reason - so the FSA can’t understand him. “It doesn’t always work,” FXB added, tongue firmly in cheek.

Dream on

Simon Burley struck a self-deprecating tone at last week’s annual Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters annual lunch last week. In his speech, the recently elevated CILA president recalled asking his wife whether she ever believed in her wildest dreams that he would attain such a lofty position. “Darling, I’m sorry, but you never featured in my wildest dreams,” replied Mrs Burley.

Jack the lad

Jack Straw was in a feisty mood at the House of Commons transport committee inquiry into the cost of motor insurance last week. The former justice secretary told the committee that anti-Jackson review campaigner Andrew Dismore’s defence of referral fees was “self-serving nonsense”. In a muttered aside moments later, he directed rather less parliamentary language to his erstwhile fellow MP, calling his argument “self-serving bollocks”.

Chequed out

No matter what Nick Leeson does, he will always be known as the man behind the collapse of Barings Bank after running up $1.3bn of liabilities. Speaking at the ‘regulation and risk’ section of the Insurance Times Global Leaders Forum, Leeson said a friend once introduced him as “the only person to write a cheque and the bank bounces”.