The Backchat Insider hears about a chance to tour the Swiss Re building – although even he might not yet be old enough
Danny, champion of the world
Some scurrilous types suggest that journalists are lazy souls, exchanging gossip in bars rather than hitting the streets on the trail of a story. But Insurance Times assistant editor (digital) Danny Walkinshaw is on a mission to prove the cynics wrong. It seems Walkinshaw has agreed to run the LV= Brentwood half-marathon in aid of a local charity, Saint Francis Hospice (www.justgiving.com/DannyWalkinshaw). Rumours he was indeed in a bar when he agreed to this are unconfirmed.
Gherkin grand tour
I was catching up with Swiss Re UK chief executive Russell Higginbotham this week, when he told me of one of his ambitions for the iconic Gherkin building his firm calls home. As the building is only open to the public once a year, kind-hearted Higginbotham wants to find an elderly tourist couple wandering around outside and give them a personal tour of the building. Perhaps he is showing a grudging acceptance of his nickname within the London market - The Gherkinmaster.
Hear my pitch
Ingenie chief executive Richard King was telling me about the birth of his telematics firm when I met him for a coffee recently. King took no chances when setting up his company, and went to Esure boss Peter Wood to ask his advice on young drivers. Years later, King was watching a Chelsea match when he got a tap on the shoulder. Wood, a keen Chelsea fan, asked him for an update on the company. “It’s up and running - you should have a look,” King replied.
Get your motor running
Specialist motorbike broker Bennetts is putting a unique twist on its lobbying efforts. The broker is petitioning the government to include compulsory questions on motorbikes in the driving theory test, which it hopes will cut the number of bikers killed on the roads every year. If the petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the issue can be debated in the House of Commons. Best of all, the broker wants to organise a horde of bikers to deliver the petition in style.
A more LV= lifestyle
The Boris bike has a new fan: LV=’s Mike Crane. On his regular commute into the City, the commercial director recently swapped the tube for two wheels and now he just can’t get enough. In fact, he loves it so much, he’s moving himself and his team into the insurer’s City offices as soon as possible.
Hall the hack
Commercial underwriting director Martin Hall put himself in the firing line this week at an Insurance Times underwriting clinic. Hall was wandering around the London event with the name tag of Insurance Times journalist Saxon East, after accidentally picking it up and pinning it to his suit. The incident caused much amusement, with a rival underwriter from ACE eventually alerting Hall before he took his seat on the panel.
Regulating your language
It is good to know that the legislation around the incoming financial regulators is in such good hands. At a meeting of MPs to discuss the details of the Financial Services Bill last week, chairing MP Edward Leigh said that attendees were free to remove their jackets, but added: “I warn you that I frown on spitting and swearing.”