Our man in the know is enjoying his moment in the limelight – on the Lloyd’s third floor, that is

One good Hearn deserves another

It’s all change over at Willis Re. Or is it? Peter Hearn has stepped up to become chairman, leaving the way open for Steve, erm, Hearn. The powers-that-be at Willis assure me that they are not related, but I can’t help thinking this is going to cause some confusion. At least there’ll be less retooling needed for the brass nameplates, which has got to be good news in these tough times.

Don’t leave us this way, Matson

Speaking of change, I note with some sadness that my old mate Peter Matson has hung up his underwriting pen over at Novae. With him going, the London market has lost one of its real characters. He’s done a fine job on fixing up Novae, but I guess he felt that with those pesky open underwriting years now closed, it was ‘job done’ and he has decided to put his feet up for a while.

That said, I don’t think he’s the kind to stay out of the market for long. He’ll get bored sitting at home, I reckon. I hear he has a couple of ideas on the go, but he is playing his cards very close to his chest. Come back, Peter, your market needs you.

A cash-in-Hands job

Those of you with memories that go back further than the last renewals season will recall that Novae was once in the running to buy Chaucer, but backed off when it saw the mess its investment portfolio was in. Well, since Bob Stuchbery has done his spring cleaning, the stakes have clearly risen: who’d have thought that the likes of Guy Hands would be interested in our little market?

Still, I suppose now the banks have taken one of his toys away – namely EMI – he needed something else to play with. Unlike music, at least you can’t get insurance for free on the internet – although price comparison sites are certainly working on that one.

A baffling flight of fancy

It’s no secret that I like the odd drink or two. Let’s face it, I’m down the pub most lunchtimes oiling the cogs of commerce, but I’m always in control. That said, something I saw in Lloyd’s the other day made me ask if I’d finally had one too many. On venturing up to the new third floor, I could have sworn that the escalator lights up there were green, rather than the usual yellow all the other floors are known for. However, on questioning those in the know at Lloyd’s about this, I was told in no uncertain terms that the lights on all floors were the same colour. Now I’m really confused …

Game for anything (except underwriting)

Regular readers of my words of wisdom will no doubt recall my pleasure at seeing iPads spreading like wildfire in the market. A number of big hitters have them on their desks, including Miller’s Graham Clarke and Canopius’s Michael Watson. However, I hear some are not convinced that they are all that good for underwriting – partly because it’s tough to compare two documents side by side. My response to this? Why are you trying to use them for work? Surely they’re designed for playing daft games on. That said, I’ve yet to spot Messrs Clarke and Watson’s names on the online gaming leaderboards.

Copious plans of Canopius

Speaking of Canopius, its name has been linked to yet another potential takeover at Lloyd’s. This time it’s Jubilee Group, and Michael Watson is understood to be squaring off against Pat Ryan’s Ryan Specialty Group to take control of the firm. It’s still unclear whether the Omega bid will come off, so I’m guessing Michael is keeping his options open. GR