Analysts were given a very slick presentation by the Cox Insurance board last week. Chief executive Andrew Fisher and chairman Peter Owen are a potent duo and the decision to free itself of its HML Marketing, Brokersure and Can Do premium finance operations gave a much needed injection into the company's financial arteries. The combined loss of all three was £10.3m.

Cox's share price from Thursday's announcement rose a heady 10p from 66p to 76p on Tuesday.

Hurricane Ivan's impact on the Lloyd's market has yet to be fully realised, but estimates of a combined $20bn loss for Charley, Frances and Ivan are already swirling around Leadenhall.

One reinsurer said: "Look at the problems WTC caused and that was only $5bn."

Ivan the Terrible may have ravaged the gains Chaucer announced for the past six months this week. On Monday its share price went up 1.5p to 48p (though this was still 10% down on April's high of 53.5p) but by Tuesday it was around the 46p level.