It's all happening at

It’s all happening. From blazing infernos and incomprehensible global management restructuring, to Lloyd’s suggesting it could throw its proverbial hat into the Islamic insurance ring – it’s been an eventful start to this, the best year ever.

It’s also been a downright scary one. It was daunting enough to share a room with top brass from MMC, Zurich, Swiss Re and the World Economic Forum at a press conference on Wednesday, but the results of the report into global risks they were releasing were nothing short of terrifying.

Having claimed that the UK financial sector is the most vulnerable in Europe to the fall-out from the credit crunch, the report prompted a flood of online coverage, including headlines on Reuters, Bloomberg, the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, and The Times. That the report labelled food security a leading concern also left a bad taste in the mouth.

Speaking of which, the day-by-day drama at Marsh continues. It just cannot stay out of the news, having featured in 10 stories in the past seven weeks.

The latest development, following the departure of numerous UK and global senior staff, sees the broker announcing a 10-year, £200m outsourcing deal with Capita.

Meanwhile, on the twelfth day of Christmas, the FSA sent to me: another letter. For smaller brokers, it is clear the season of goodwill is emphatically over.

Hopefully Biba’s new manifesto will provide room for optimism. I, for one, will look forward to reading it. I might even write my own.

I was also pleased to find senior industry figures getting into the blogging tradition – for example, chief executive of the International Underwriting Association, Dave Matcham. In his latest effort, he urges the London market to champion its strengths in the struggle with Bermuda. To read it, click here: Dave Matcham's blog.

Other big stories online include the latest findings from Experian, which show that comprehensive motor premiums fell in the last quarter of the year. And, though motor premiums rose by over 6% in 2007, considering the last time the sector produced an underwriting profit Meatloaf was topping the charts, you can understand why the industry will await the release of the figures from the first quarter of 2008 with renewed anxiety.

Yet it continues to be people stories that fascinate our online audience the most, as our top read stories list shows (see right). Over the past two weeks, five of the top ten most popular breaking news stories have involved either appointments or resignations, including Groupama’s new managing director, Laurent Matras, and the resurfacing of Kevin Sinclair at iprism.


Going Places

Giles Group

Giles Insurance Brokers has appointed Leo Gibbons to the new post of distribution director.

Gibbons joins from Novae Insurance.

Nuclear Risk Insurers

Nuclear Risk Insurers has appointed Quentin Jackson as non-executive director and chairman.

Randall & Quilter

Randall & Quilter has appointed John O’Neill as chief operating officer of the UK insurance services division.

O’Neill was most recently group head of claims for Wellington.

Impact Underwriting

Impact Underwriting has appointed Stephen Thompson to help develop its schemes and affinity business in the UK.

He previously sourced affinity/scheme business for accident and health at AIG.

Ernst & Young

Clive Martin and Andy Bates have been admitted to the financial services partnership of Ernst & Young.

Martin joined the firm as manager in 2000 having previously worked at P&O and Willis.

Bates becomes a partner in the banking and capital markets.

RFIB Group

Hugh Champion has been appointed director of RFIB Group.

Champion will drive the group’s international strategic expansion of its facilities and binding authority business.

My Favourites: Andrew Carrick
Create logos and buttons for web pages, for free
Useful basic resource for niggling PC problems
PowerPoint designs and other presentation ideas
Good for anybody running a Citrix/Terminal Services network, which a lot of brokers do
Spoke at a broker software user group conference last year. Very funny, but with a serious message about life/work balance
If youre bored and want to whack penguins, this is the site for you.

Andrew Carrick is broker system administrator at the Insurance Partnership