From a shiny iPad 2 to a rump steak cooked medium rare, our man seeks the finer things in life

Lloyd’s goes to the next level

So the iPad continues its unlikely march through the otherwise technophobic world of Lloyd’s, aided and abetted by the recent launch of the iPad 2 (which I naturally have my beady eye on). These marvels have even caught the attention of none other than top man Richard Ward himself. He was overheard joking at a conference the other day that with the latest model, which sports a pair of cameras, market participants could take pictures of themselves while doing business at the box. Nice. Still, you’d expect the man who kick-started electronic trading in his old workplace at the International Petroleum Exchange to keep abreast of the latest technological trends.

No cred to Clinton rumour

On the subject of top jobs at Lloyd’s, there was a rumour doing the rounds in the city that none other than former US president Bill Clinton was in the running to take over from Peter Levene when he slings his hook later this year. Being the inquisitive type, I took this one to the top (well, almost) to find out if there was anything in it. I was rather disappointed to learn that this story has about as much credibility as some of the yarns I spin down the pub. Even so, hats off to whoever started that – it had me going.

Cushioning the blows

Some may think it is early to start talking about Monte Carlo, but I’m already looking forward to it. I do have a good excuse for bringing it up so soon, though. The Lloyd’s Cycling Club, complete with fetching blue outfits, will be cycling from Lloyd’s to Monte Carlo to arrive in time for this year’s Rendez-Vous. The ride will raise money for charities Combat Stress and Fishing for Heroes by seeking industry sponsorship. Guy Carpenter and Swiss Re are already backing the team. One of the participants is Barlow Lyde & Gilbert lawyer and all-round good bloke Clive O’Connell. I just hope he’s careful. I understand he injured himself in an (ahem) unfortunate place falling off his bike a while ago. Clive, if you’re reading this – pack a cushion, mate.

Big hit down under

From cycling to rally driving … Many congrats to XL London Market aviation underwriter James Owen and his co-driver for completing the Targa Tasmania tarmac rally down under in early April. James, who was racing his 1968 Triumph TR5, came 58th in the Late Classic Handicap event, and 73rd in the Classic Outright. Not bad for a man whose aim was merely to make it across the finish line. As the sole European participants, James and co-driver became minor celebrities in Tasmania, apparently speaking on ABC Radio Hobart within 10 minutes of arriving. And they say insurance is boring.

Contingent complaints

As many of you will have noticed, contingent commissions have reared their ugly heads again. I remember what it was like last time around, and I can’t say I’m happy about it. I’m a bit tired of brokers always getting the stick when something goes wrong. Okay, some brokers accept contingent commissions or whatever pseudonym they’re going under these days. But we can’t pay them to ourselves, you know. Try as we might, we’ve not yet managed to tap directly into underwriters’ bank accounts.

Steak-out

Like every red-blooded man, I love a good juicy steak cooked medium rare. So in a recent wander and natter round Leadenhall with Markel’s Jeremy Brazil, I was more than thrilled to find out he spends his weekends slaving away on his own cattle farm. With the weather warming up and barbeque season looming, I can ask Jeremy to send a few fresh steaks my way. The rump is best, mate, and maybe some sirloin will do too. GR