Online editor Tom Flack reviews all the latest analysis, features and interviews at

Biba will be dancing in the aisles following the overwhelming response to its research into aggregators, which claimed that 94% of consumers believe policies listed on price comparison sites are not explained fully.

Though the findings of its report were not exactly revelatory, the response of the FSA, which promised to look into the findings, spawned a flood of online coverage from consumer, financial and general news websites, including the BBC, The Guardian and thisismoney.

The story was also among the most popular of the week on, where it first broke. Any other time, perhaps, it would have topped the list.

However, CNBC’s report that Willis had made another approach to its bitter rival Marsh not only dwarfed all others except one, but proved the sixth most popular story in Insurance Times’ history. Combining the traffic of the original and subsequent reports of the news, it rises to second.

This may be explained by the weight of online coverage the story received from the likes of The New York Times and Forbes, as well as innumerable financial blogs, which speculated on what could happen to the various parts of parent company, MMC, if it were bought. Much of the coverage emphasised the regulatory hurdles the deal could face.

Arguably no less significant was the news that billionaire investor Warren Buffett had taken a 3% stake in the world’s largest reinsurer, Swiss Re.

This was seen not only a massive opportunity for the sharing of business and expertise, but a vote of confidence in Swiss Re after it was forced to write off more than half a billion pounds in sub-prime related losses last year.

Elsewhere in cyberspace, the stock market crash dominated the financial news. The Insurance Times report that around £2bn had been wiped off insurance stocks last week proved of particular interest to our online readership.

More popular though was the appointment of Steve McGuinness as personal lines motor manager at Chubb. In a year that has already seen considerable senior movement in the industry, it is clear that stories about people remain the most attractive to readers.

Finally, no starker illustration of the point that insurance is about relationships – and people – could be needed than the reaction to the tragic death of Andrew Paddick, director general of the Institute of Insurance Brokers.

Within hours of the news breaking, thousands of users flocked to the website. Paddick will be sadly missed.

Favourite Websites – Mike Williams

Fantastic example of how to balance image and text to sell you a dream. The product is pretty amazing also

Particularly effective use of multimedia content. Always a great place to look for the art of what is possible online.

You should always listen to the views of the next generation and observe their online behaviour. The view from the next generation in the Williams Household in the form of Ellie Williams, age 12, is Bebo is the best social networking site, combining all the features of other sites such as YouTube in one fun, secure place.

Online education at its best. The site tranforms homework from a dull task to fun using unconscious learning.

I was inspired by Apple chief executive, Steve Jobs in 1996 when I worked for NeXT Software and continue to admire his vision for information technology (Apple), music (iTunes) and movies (Pixar). demonstrates the ultimate in bringing style with a capital ‘S’ to infomation technology.

Mike Williams is chief executive of edgeIPK

Going Places


United Insurance Brokers (UIB) has appointed Neil Daws as manager of financial institutions.

Daws has worked with Lonsdale Insurance Brokers, Besso, Aon and Bradstock Blunt & Thompson.

Woodgate & Clark

Woodgate & Clark has appointed John Ferguson as loss adjuster for Manchester.

He is joined by Chris Stevens, a liability specialist.

Kevin Winkworth joins the Leed’s office as a senior adjuster. Winkworth is joined by Garry Sheerins, an injury liability specialist who joins from Questgates.


Collegiate has appointed Mark Gibbon as managing director of Collegiate Management Services.

Gibbon was previously group finance director at Collegiate.


Beachcroft has appointed Howard Dean as head of its claims validation team in Manchester.

Most Read

1. Andrew Paddick dies: IIB director general passes away

2. Willis poised to launch MMC bid: CNBC claims broker has made an approach to larger rival

3. Chubb poaches NIG motor chief: Steve McGuinness becomes new head of motor

4. Biba calls for tougher regulation of aggregators: 94% of consumers believe policies listed on online comparison sites are not explained fully

5. 2bn wiped off insurers as global stocks slump: And theres worse news to come, say analysts preparing for recession