And so to the ABI’s annual financial media awards, a highlight in the calendar for insurance journalists and PRs alike. But glammed-up hacks hoping to spend a night swigging Dom Perignon and dancing down Park Lane were to be disappointed.

In an apparent nod to the economic downturn, this year’s ceremony was held in Vauxhall rather than London’s fashionable West End, bringing some attendees out in a cold sweat as they crossed the river. As if that weren’t enough, Stephen Haddrill, the ABI’s director-general, opened proceedings with some weighty words about journalistic responsibility in these challenging times.

But as he gave way to Michael Portillo, the event’s main speaker, and Jo Brand, the redoubtable comedienne, spirits lifted and, for one night only, global financial turmoil could be left at the office.