A busy week for our Insurance Times market insider, who spent it rubbing shoulders with everyone from Branko Bjelobaba to Neil Utley

These boots are made for walkin’

Towergate top brass, including Mark Hodges, Scott Egan, Michael Rea, Charles Nathan and Tim Johnson, are dusting off their walking boots and preparing to take on the Yorkshire three peaks challenge. The hike will see the Towergate team climbing the three highest peaks in Yorkshire within just 12 hours to mark Towergate’s 15th anniversary and raise money for charities, including Great Ormond Street Hospital and Cancer Research UK.

Say cheese

Henderson Insurance Brokers deserve recognition for keeping a great British animation alive. The broker was recently appointed to handle the insurance for The Wensleydale Creamery, whose cheese is the favourite food of Wallace and Gromit.

Stoked sponsor

Any Norton United fans in the broking fraternity had better hope they work for Autonet Insurance, or home games could develop extra piquancy. Autonet has just started sponsoring the Stoke-on-Trent based club, and the deal will see the broker’s logo displayed on billboards and buildings around the ground.

Chilly beats

Working for Neil Utley isn’t always easy. The former IAG UK chief executive now owns a music label called Nusic Sounds, and one of his top signings is former Busted frontman Charlie Simpson. I hear that Charlie is now preparing to travel to Siberia and win a Guinness World Record for playing the coldest ever gig at -72˚C.

What’s up doc?

Those of you who bemoan the slow progress of Lloyd’s modernisation should probably count your blessings. I was chatting to a veteran Lloyd’s broker the other day, who was telling me that when arranging medical cover it was common practice for the underwriter to submit doctors’ handwritten notes. As you can imagine, this typically ended in neither the underwriter nor broker being able to decipher doctors’ spidery glyphs, and having to rely on good old Lloyd’s market ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ to arrive at the appropriate terms.

Hot air

I gather some Australian equity analysts were a tad nonplussed by IAG’s recent ‘update’ on the strategic review of the UK business. On announcing its review in May, the company had promised an update when the full-year results were released. However, as one analyst complained: “It was a little circular. They said ‘we’ll update you’, and the update was ‘we’ll update you’.”

Top dollar

Those chaps at the FSA certainly have their finger on the pulse of client money fraud. I was catching up with broker compliance bod Branko Bjelobaba last week, who told me that an FSA maxim is that misappropriated client money is generally spent on prostitutes, private school fees and Mercedes. “So they are obviously very select, these chaps, what they spend the money on,” Branko deadpanned.