"We will fight them on the beaches, in the call centres. They will never cross the distribution channel."

Could these be the Churchillian-like words exchanged between Zurich chief executive Guy Munnoch and Norwich Union's leader Patrick Snowball, in the not too distance future?

Snowball, formerly a major in the 24th Infantry Brigade, is always keen to regale anyone who will listen, of his years of service to Queen and Country.

Around this time of year he takes colleagues from his old regiment skiing and is a great supporter of charities connected to the Forces.

But it seems Snowball is outranked by Zurich's younger chief executive Munnoch, who also spent many years in the Army, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. He also left the Army to join Norwich Union.

Interesting to note that if the two men are at any regimental reunions, Snowball would have to stand to attention in Munnoch's presence.

Though would the phrase "at ease" be appropriate at an insurance gathering, ponders Backchat?