It is – are you?
It is – are you?
Readers with longish memories will remember this famous advertising slogan for the Independent newspaper. But Independent did not last and the newspaper was absorbed by Tony O'Reilly's publishing empire.
In the insurance industry, we have our own Independent, which came from nowhere to become one of the best-known brands in the business. Currently going through a tricky time – no chief executive, a heavily diminished share price – the question is whether the current management can get through to the other side without losing the company's independence.
Brokers appear supportive, ratings agencies are watchful, the share price trundles along. But in times of trouble, the security of links with a larger company may seem enticing. Except that there's still that Independent name. As we've seen with newspapers, Independent by name, but not by nature, is not an easy marketing proposition.
ECCLESIASTICAL's guarantee not to try and poach a broker's clients once the two have parted company has rightly grabbed the headlines. The church insurer is keen to break into industrial insurance and, despite its obvious virtuous reputation, needs to foster trust. Brokers will welcome the security.
It is not the first time that brokers have been supported by Ecclesiastical. Two years ago, it was the first insurer to come out against the Ombudsman decision to charge a £500 mandatory fee for every complaint it investigates against a broker.
Time to get out the bubbly
CONGRATULATIONS to Sarah Tunstall, publisher of Insurance Times. Not only has she reached the grand old age of 26, she has also – while still 25 – been named Business and Professional Magazines Publisher of the Year 2001 in the Magazine Industry's major awards. The judges' citation begins: “In 2000, Sarah Tunstall took Insurance Times to the position of market leader.” Enough said.