Alan Harris, general manager of Avon Insurance, loves cooking but hates washing up

What newspapers do you read?

The Times, Financial Times and, of course, Insurance Times

What career did you want to have when you were a child?

I wanted to build something as an architect

What do you like best about insurance?

The people. In our company, the brokers and staff come first and the business succeeds because of it

What would you do tomorrow if you left the insurance industry?

Run a restaurant. I would do the cooking if someone else would wash up

What is your favourite film?

Sidney Lumet's Twelve Angry Men

What is your favourite book?

Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee

What is the biggest insurance claim you have ever made?

My house was flooded in Easter 1998. Luckily, I was insured by a first-class Stratford-based insurer

What advice would you give someone starting in insurance today?

Qualify and learn, but don't stop there. Use your qualifications to learn more

Who do you most admire?

Jack Nicklaus for never knowing when he was beaten. As a result, he was hardly ever beaten

Do you have an unfulfilled ambition?

To cook alongside one of the top chefs

What is your favourite quote?

If people listened to themselves more often, they would talk less

What is your most over-used phrase?

What does that mean for the bottom line...?

What keeps you awake at night?

My three-year-old son, Michael. It's OK though; he's fast asleep by the time my alarm goes off

How do you relax if you do not play golf?

I play squash to relax after playing golf

What was your first job?

Trainee underwriter (and general dog's body) in Newcastle

Where did you grow up?

Chester-le-Street, County Durham

What was your education?

Chester-le-Street Grammar School, City University
Business School

What is your favourite tea?

From the machine on our second floor. It's very good for stripping paint

What is your favourite joke?

See below

How often do you use public transport?

Once a week. The Cotswold line to London run by Great Western. Nice scenery, but the journey is only worthwhile because of the modern rolling stock, pleasant staff and excellent catering. Please see question above

Are you in favour of the Euro?

Yes. But we need the media to calm down so that we can enter sensibly, unemotionally and in a controlled fashion