Government in IT delivery failure shock.


It is not often this column agrees with Dominic Cummings.  But to describe an investigation that concluded that the Prime Minister may have enjoyed intimate relations with a woman other than his then wife comprehensively meets the test of “a complete waste of police time”.  Later this week the Met is poised to reveal that Luxembourg is small and that certain residents of the Vatican believe in the literal truth of transubstantiation.

Where are we now?

A quick summary of the position on a number of topics.

  • Wordings – there is now a dedicated LMA mailbox – – for feedback on the various Covid-19 related wordings in the market.  Or, if you would prefer for us to pursue matters on your behalf, please fill in the attached form and send it to
  • Issues around liability insurance especially for care homes and hotels accommodating key workers.  We are in discussions with HM Treasury plus IUA, LMA and Lloyd’s around possible difficulties in accessing capacity in this market.  We appreciate that this is an urgent question and hope to find a resolution in the next week.
  • Government trade credit insurance backstop.  We have had a discussion with Treasury and BEIS officials over the design of this facility.  They are still in the early stages of their deliberations on this.
  • Lloyd’s Brussels TOBA.  We are aware that a number of you are in individual discussions with Lloyd’s over the proposed new TOBAs for dealing with its EU subsidiary.  It is worth remembering that the draft you have is just a model that can be amended!
  • Back to the office preparations.  We have discussed plans both at our Operations Committee and with the equivalent IUA and LMA committees.  There is general consensus on approach (not anytime soon being the gist) and we are considering making a joint statement with the other Associations once we have had further discussions.  More detail to follow.
  • Industry response.  There have been meetings of both Lloyd’s global and London advisory boards in the last week (Richard Dudley and I sit on the latter) to discuss ideas for initiatives the industry could pursue to respond to this and future crises.  Again, more detail to follow.

Mon Dieu! C’est serieux!

There was a time when people used to somewhat joke about coronavirus.  Back in February comments about Mexican lager that in retrospect appear ill judged even made an appearance in this column’s predecessor missive.  But gradually it has dawned on all of us that this is a crisis of unique magnitude.  When was that point for you?  Was it the cancellation of the Euros or the Olympics?  Was it the fact that you could have had glorious days at the Chelsea Flower Show this week?  Or was it the fact that things are so bad that the French are considering, only considering mind, but still, considering not swanning off for four months on holiday over the summer.  One of Europe’s most reliable traditions is that time in late May when our Gallic friends turn the A7 into a car park as they head south not to be seen again until October.  But maybe this year, non.

These are desperate times for a nation and its people.  It requires desperate measures.  And Stephane Distinguin has the answer.  No need to shorten holidays to boost productivity if you sell the Mona Lisa for €50 billion.  Limited potential purchaser list – Zuckerberg, Xi, Putin – granted.  Plus the long term effect on takings at the Louvre may not have been fully factored in.  And if the money proves not to be enough what would be next? David? I mean give a (dav) inchy and some people might take a mile.

Compliance in a Covid world

A reminder that, in conjunction with the fine people at EY, we are running a seminar on COVID-19: Risk and compliance considerations for London Market brokers on Thursday 4th June at 8am.  Email if you are interested in attending.

I know this much is true

Today’s Singapore story features Muhammad Shalehan.  Muhammad works till he’s muscle bound all night long on the Singaporean underground.  To cut a long story short, Mo entered a competition on the appropriately named Gold 905 radio station to win $10,000.  It involved recognising 14 celebrity voices.  Over a matter of weeks, Mo studied everybody’s attempts, even though he did not need that pressure on.  Eventually he got the instinct (ion) that he had all 14 right.  He rang in, read out his list and was told he only had 13.  A couple of weeks later someone else read out the same list and won.  Mo complained and was told that he had mispronounced “Tony Hadley” and thus had been deemed to be wrong.  He disputed this but was flat batted by Gold for some time.  However he fought through those barricades to pursue his claim.  And now, a lifeline.  Tony himself has sent a video confirming that he considers the pronunciation to be acceptable.  Mo has an offer of settlement of $5,000.  Something but not everything he could have had.  Communication let him down and he is left here.

It’s time for my does of hydroxychloroquine

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