In the run-up to the Monte Carlo Rendez-Vous, it seems the industry is all about indulgence and abstinence

Stiff drink
Brokers like to set themselves challenges, and Aon Benfield co-chief executive Dom Christian is no exception. He has been teetotal since January as part of a charity-related bet, which is likely to be put to the test when he heads to the annual reinsurance jolly - er, I mean conference - in Monte Carlo this weekend. However, I understand Mr Christian’s recent decision to stop eating bread is posing an even greater challenge than staying off the sauce. I wish him luck with both.

Stamp for cash
Brokers! Have you got a few small client money debts and too many postage stamps lying about that you’ll never use? Then the FSA might have the answer. The regulator has just published a consultation paper on client money that suggests brokers should pay off debts of less than £5 in stamps. The regulator helpfully added that if the client is now untraceable then sending postage stamps to their old address would be a bad idea. I’m sure we could have worked that one out for ourselves.

Old hat
The reinsurance market has more than its fair share of grey beards, but what defines a reinsurance veteran? That was the question posed by Towers Watson reinsurance chief executive Ross Howard recently when he met a few chums for a scotch and a chinwag. The group decided that a veteran must have completed at least 20 years in the industry. My pal Ross said this officially makes him a half-veteran.

Sweet deal
Here’s another Towers Watson one for you. Owing to the firm’s preference for sponsoring a Haagen Daaz stand at the Monte Carlo conference, Ross Howard jokes that he has done more business deals over a tub of ice cream than in the rest of his career put together. His favourite is the chocolate sundae, before you ask.

Bets off
Before the news of his move to JM Glendinning became public, former Broker Network managing director Nick Houghton was giving no clues as to where he might be going to. But where some see mystery, others see opportunity. I understand Broker Network members ran a sweepstake on where the Yorkshireman would end up. So come on boys, who won the sweep?

Child’s play
Admiral chief executive Henry Engelhardt is renowned for his pithy observations about the state of the motor market at results time. This year he didn’t disappoint. Noting that if you add up all the business plans in the motor market at any one time, insurers are after 115% of the total market share, the Admiral boss observed: “It’s like musical chairs; you take one chair out and when you stop the music someone is going to be standing.”