Well that was all very nice.  It may have been just me but I felt there was a lack of clarity as to how long we were supposed to go on for?  Which led to a couple of false ends followed by a very British petering out and shuffling back inside.  Still, something to perfect for next week.




So the Prime Minister has the virus.  Just about trumping not so bonny Prince Charlie as Britain’s most prominent sufferer (sorry Idris Elba).   Now the key question is who gave it to him.  I have ruled out Carrie as I doubt he has been anywhere near her since she got pregnant.  Cummings does not look like a man that washes his hands often.  But dogs can be carriers, so don’t rule out Dylan.  Or is it Henry, the mild mannered janitor?


However the news that Boris’s meals are to be left outside his door is significant.  In our house, any food left outside a door would be in the stomach of a spaniel in microseconds.  Dylan has a primary motive.


Where BI can help…


The real BI – Brokers Ireland, our Dublin based sister organisation – has produced the attached rather helpful summary on coronavirus issues.  Obviously some of the guidance is quite Ireland specific but a helpful amalgamation.


Raising the PAR


BI-PAR has also been collating coronavirus  news from around our member associations which is set out in the attached email.  We are liaising closely with BIPAR colleagues  and World Federation of Insurance Intermediaries to ensure we understand and can help with challenges in each other’s markets.


Remote but not cut off


I am sure you are all forming your own opinions about the dos and don’t of remote working.  But a few observations from the LIIBA team.


If you can encourage your IT team to make the configuration adjustments necessary to allow you to connect to the various conferencing platforms like Teams and Zoom that is really worth it.  Calling in by mobile – given how overloaded the networks are – rarely works.  We have also seen that meetings have been most successful when:


  • Joined by wifi allowing entrance to the various, proprietary means (but no using your microwave whilst on the call)
  • If having to use a phone, use a landline rather than mobile (if you can find where you left it when you last used it in 2008)
  • Use audio rather than video if more than 5 participants, due to extra bandwidth required (some firms are insisting staff do not use video settings, which is fair enough)
  • Where you are using video, have something interesting in the background that other participants can mock
  • Use headphones wherever possible to cut down background noise (although my dogs snoring has enriched many meetings)
  • When not speaking, apply the mute setting again to cut down on background noise (cf dogs point above)
  • When speaking, announce name first – and if you are going to say something controversial or provocative, use someone else’s name


And if any of you have other tips that it might help to share round the community, let me know?


Avoid VAT


Drink gin instead.


But tax wise, attached is an email from HMRC on the potential to take a VAT holiday in March which you may find helpful.  In order to qualify you just have to not pay, it seems.


Corona Information Institute


CII has created a helpful coronavirus hub that is a good source for the latest developments.


A little bit of Brexit


Oh for the days when it was all we talked about.  But worth noting that EU Financial Affairs Sub Committee of the House of lords has written to the Chancellor.  The note references an LMG letter that had a specific section on the challenge for brokers that we wrote.  It is good that there is recognition that equivalence is not a panacea.   But HMT has other things to be getting on with for the moment.




And this bumper edition should keep you all going over the weekend.  I’m off to queue to get into the supermarket.  Expected back sometime Sunday.