The chairman of broker Bollington reveals the eventful week in which he was told the firm had been put up for sale by Groupama
Under 10s rugby – across to Merseyside to beat Ormskirk. Is that Gary Spengler from Butterworth Spengler refereeing in a pink and yellow rugby shirt? Nice.
I head to the FA Cup third round tie between United and the bitter half of Manchester. Great first half – three up and they have a dubious sending off – but a poor second half allows them to score two. A bit deflated really. We’re kept in the ground for 30 minutes with the travelling hoards. It’s a shame I have started a two-month abstinence…
In Rugby with one of our affinity relationships. We are launching a new recovery product with embedded health and safety – should be a winner.
Client meeting for large forthcoming renewal this afternoon, looking to introduce our new risk management services. They’re very receptive.
Back to Altrincham for ballet and tap (not me – my four-year-old).
Train at 7.07am – ugh. I’m in London to discuss moving forward with a new MGA being set up to look at non-standard wheels-based risks. We have quite a few of those. I think the work we have done on fraud checking, credit scoring and so on will stand us in good stead.
A quick glass of water (!) in Dion with Graham Coates. I am sure he has irons in the fire – but he is not telling.
Train back for a broker dinner with Trevor Matthews, the new head honcho at Aviva. I think he will do well. It’s wet, cold and windy in Manchester - he probably wishes he was still in Sydney.
It’s my wife’s birthday, so I walk the children to school.
At the office, I review and agree the marketing strategy for one of our new affinity relationships. We have the chance of a new PI scheme – interesting meeting. A new idea, and a new market. It will take some planning but could be a new niche for us.
Get home to see a missed call from François. Oh well, it can’t be that important”
Later, it’s out to a restaurant without the children – hooray! First time since August. We go to Australasia in Spinningfields in Manchester – really enjoy it. Forget my phone – oh well, nobody will want me.
Get home to see a missed call from François[-Xavier Boisseau, Groupama chief executive]. Oh well, it can’t be that important.
I ring back Monsieur Boisseau – good job I’m sitting down. [Groupama announces it is to sell its UK insurance arm, including Bollington.] It’s actually not really a shock, given the announcements before Christmas – probably just the timing. Not sure how it will pan out, but Bollington has strong direction and plans, so I gather the management team to assert that it’s ‘business as usual’.
The phone has gone red hot. I think every journalist and editor in the insurance world is trying to get hold of me. Decide to let it all calm down a bit.
I receive several calls from senior insurance company people with messages of support. Thank you.
I decide to lock myself in a room to prepare for an accountants clearance meeting on Monday.
In the office at 7.00am. And I’m not the first – get a life, Debbie!
Funeral this morning: my aunt has died, she was 88. Her son-in-law was a senior manager at Groupama before he retired. “Is my pension safe?” he wants to know. I decide not to give him François’ number, as he is probably a bit busy.
Great news! We have been appointed by a very large corporate entity. Been looking at it for some time, and the appointment has come mid-term. It’s a good feeling after yesterday’s chaos. I pick up the letter of appointment.
It is the Dwarf Golf Society Christmas Party at San Carlo, with Happy, Sleepy and Grumpy (me). Pervy from Stoke can’t make it. Not sure the abstinence will last the night.
It’s the end of a strange week – there’s always something happening at Bollington.