Our jet-setting inside man has no time for pencil pushers. And that includes those wags at Beazley
You want risk? I’ll give you risk
My round-the-world expedition began with a rendez-vous in the Middle East for a conference with my pals from Global Reinsurance in Qatar. And what a place it is! There were stories of soft markets, client duress, international capital, captives and cross-brand synergy. But, while that was all very interesting,
I was busy talking to a certain Jonathan Biles from a company called Culver. My old mate Bilesey is the only broker in Baghdad, and Lloyd’s accredited too. He works from the army green zone, dodges mortar bombs, assesses risk and has his own special bat phone to Lime Street. Nice work if you can get it, right? Perhaps not.
While in Qatar, I popped in on a presentation from Swiss Re’s chief risk officer Raj Singh. Raj’s take is a measured one – his basic stance is that risk management is a boardroom issue and should be treated as such. And far be it from me to argue with this brainiac. But I spent a bit of time studying his slide showing a gigantic matrix structure of the Swiss Re senior management team and how Raj sits in the middle of the organogram. Bringing to mind a big wobbly game of Jenga, it got me thinking … What happens if something happens to Raj? Oh well, I’m sure they’ve got it covered.
Biba the revolution
Those of you who know me well are aware that I simply can’t stand trade associations of any description. So when I heard the news that the Bermuda International Business Association is to be rebranded as Business Bermuda, I was about as excited as a broker at a book club. The chaps at the British Insurance Brokers Association are, apparently, thrilled to bits, however, as it stops all the confusion surrounding their annual conference. Sorry, that’s two minutes of your life that you’ll never get back …
2B or not 2B rebranded?
Beazley chief executive Andrew Horton is proud as punch of the company’s pencil-sketch style branding. But Monty hears that things have gone a little Irish since the company relocated to Dublin last year. What my pal Horton doesn’t know is that a shopping list of a Beazley staffer, complete with doodles closely resembling the corporate letterhead, is buzzing from the London to Dublin office as ‘official paperwork’. So immature.
So there I am again in the airport lounge, glass of Chablis in one hand, frequent flyer card in the other, and I’m happily dreaming of a fish supper with Charles Dupplin in the Bermudan sun, or at least pie and chips with Lord Levene in Leadenhall, when one of my clients turns to me and says: “Monty, why is Joe Plumeri so angry about contingent commissions then, do you think?” I thought about it for a while, and knowing Joe as I do, simply replied: “I dunno, but I’m more of an Eliot Spitzer kinda guy.” He knew precisely what I meant …
That Bermuda triangle
Onwards and upwards, and a short trip in first class later, I found myself in Hamilton. Now, I like Bermuda: sun, sand, reinsurers anxious to do business everywhere you turn, and champagne at $100 a glass. That’s my kind of place. And when I did bother to pop my head round the door of the World Insurance Forum, I was gleefully told by one of my old muckers that Stefan Lippe had suffered the indignity of having his luggage lost en route and having to tog himself up from the country club gift shop. The old chap took it in good spirits though. I also thought I saw Ajit Jain at the back of the room a couple of times, but every time I went over to say “wotcha”, he seemed to have disappeared. He’s a slippery one. GR