I mean, this is not what we were promised at all.  The most scandalous example of misselling since Chelsea bought Fernando Torres after being told he was a footballer.

What a united state to have got yourselves into

We should probably just share a few passing thoughts on the happenings in our former colonies over the last week or so.

  1. I want a set of those horns and have commissioned CIAB’s very own Blaire Bartlett to source a pair for me.  Roll on the return to face to face meetings.  After three attempts to get the message through to Lloyd’s on any one of a myriad of topics, it will be head down and charge.
  2. This was the most polite attempted coup in history.  The police held the doors open for the revolutionaries who even kept to the roped off walkways across the rotunda.
  3. The attempts of the insurgents to capture Mike Pence and hang him from the Washington Monument were foiled because every time they got near him it made the bee that lives on the top of his head really angry and they got stung.
  4. To those of you saying that the events of last week were extraordinary and incongruous, I say this.  They weren’t.  They were extraordinary and in Congress.
  5. Say what you like, but Twitter just isn’t the same anymore.  SAD!
  6. How is John Sopel going to cope?  His natural resting sour face will be so inappropriate when discussing the actions of a president whose name he doesn’t have to spit to get out of his mouth.  And how long after 20th January before he has referred to President Biden as “President Biden” more times in this term than he referred to President Trump as “President Trump” ever?  I have 21st January in the office sweepstake and I am confident.
  7. Whilst The Donald not attending the inauguration is as churlish as it is expected, he is in reasonably good company.  After all, neither of the two men who generally vie for the title of greatest ever president – Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt – attended their successor’s inauguration either and not much was said about that.
  8. We now have US corporations falling over themselves to be the loudest about how they will no longer fund the campaigns of those congressmen and senators that voted not to ratify the election result.  Bit of an odd time to introduce an element of morality into your utterly corrupt system of outright bribery, but you do you.
  9. Trump decamped to Texas and started drawing on a wall.  Strange moment for Banksy to decide to out his true self.
  10. We can now start a new fun game – when will Caracas Joe resign to let Kamala have a go?  I am thinking end 2022/Q1 2023?  Gives her a good run into the 2024 election, the Venezuelan can take the hit for any losses in the 2022 mid-terms and Kamala can appear all Presidential whilst the Republicans conduct what will probably be an extraordinarily divisive primary campaign, even by recent American standards.
  11. There is a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the future of the Republican party.  But this time four years ago it was all “whither the Democrats?” “Have they lost the rust belt for a generation?”.  Give it a month and Sean Hannity will have found something else to be angry about and we can all move on.
  12. Trump is now apparently holed up in the White House sulking and blaming Rudy Giuliani for his second impeachment.  The most revealing aspect of which is the news that “Sir” Rudy is paid $20k a day to be Trump’s personal attorney.  With money like that he could surely afford a better dye job?  I have sent him Mikel Arteta’s contact details.  That colour doesn’t run even in a thunderstorm.
  13. Should I get the tattoos to go with the horns?

No more hanging on

The happening today has been the judgement passed down in the FCA Business Interruption test cases by the Supremes Court.  This has delivered a substantial victory for FCA.  In particular the court has ruled that policies that provided cover for an occurrence of an infectious disease within a certain radius should respond (insurers had argued that the closures were caused by the widespread pandemic and not individual cases and so these clauses should not lead to a pay out).  The Court also ruled that the Prime Minister saying people had to stay at home and that certain types of business should shut was sufficient to trigger denial of access claims even though it did not have the backing of law at that point.  And the Court overturned the “Orient Expressl” judgement (where a New Orleans hotel did not receive cover for damages from a hurricane because the court ruled they would not have generated any income anyway even without the damages) thus de facto dismissing the “but for” principle for calculating losses.

The fact that we now have clarity around these cases is to be welcomed – and we should congratulate FCA on devising a process that has reached this point so (relatively) swiftly.  But there is no doubt that the industry’s reputation has been damaged by this episode.  Clients deserve products that simply and clearly show what is and isn’t covered.  Obviously using a broker is the best way to ensure that any client has this understanding (anecdotally – and I can never find any data to back this up – SME BI insurance shows relatively high levels of direct sales).  So our community has a key role to play in making this market better in the future.  But for now I think our reflections should be on a good outcome for clients.  Not automatically sunshine, but not bad.

You can find a more detailed summary of the judgement here.

Developing a Rash

Remember the days when the Prime Minister used to claim he had never heard of Marcus Rashford and tried to pretend he didn’t exist? Now he seems to spend almost every waking hour on the phone to the canonised one.  Maybe he has finally accepted he is his father after all? After all, the little we know of El Padre Rash is that he dumped the saintly Mel soon after little M came on the scene and was never heard from again.  Which is very much the Prime Minister’s MO in similar circumstances.  So there must be a chance. So how do we suppose these conversations go?

“Yo Rashy, Bozzer here, what gives?”

“I’ve told you dad, I don’t like being called ‘Rashy’.  My name is Marcus”

“Oh! Soz M-Force just wanting to relate”

“Are we going to talk about starving kids or not?”

“Sure, sure Fordster.  Plenty of time for that.  After all, no-one has ever accused The Boz of having a substandard sized food parcel, I can tell you!  Just ask your mother!  Woof!  Now, dime, what’s hot on the wheels of steel ahora for you kidz?”

“I haven’t got time for this, I’ve got a match”

“A match?  Never did PE on a Friday at Eton in my day”

“I’m not at Eton, dad.  I play for Manchester Utd”

“Manchester! Heavens! A red brick?! The shame! How has a child of mine not gone to Oxford? I’ll get straight on to the Chancellor!”

“Bye dad.  And do us a favour.  Feed some kids…”

Everybody wants to run (off) the world

More news from the threadbare patchwork that is emergency run off legislation In the 27 nations that remain a member of the European Union.  Attached is the latest detail as we know it (that is me and Isabelle BIPAR who hasn’t appeared in these pages for a while but who I can confirm has made a tremendous journey as she is now sitting in front of some mildly pretentious painting over the other side of her dining table from the Chas n Dave style stand up Joanna that was her initial lockdown backdrop).

Relatively good stuff from the Irish and Belgians (although not without their foibles).  Not great from anybody else.  But my understanding from unofficial conversations with regulators both here and in EU is that they would still expect you to err on the side of doing the right thing by your client.  So take that into account as you navigate these challenges.  Always happy to chat through your options if that would help.

Stop the pigeon

As if we didn’t always suspect it, the Australians have revealed themselves as real life Dick Dastardlys.  A brave pigeon has made the hazardous journey from Oregon to Melbourne.  And the reaction of the Australian authorities?  Kill it.

That would be callous even if that was the sum of it.  But consider the following additional achievements.  Joe, the poor mite, is from Alabama – so it (no preferred pronouns listed) had already made quite a hike to make it to the Beaver State (no sniggering).  So it’s sentence seems doubly harsh.  And then there is this passage from the Sky report:

the pigeon, which he named Joe after the US president-elect, Joe Biden, had disappeared from a race in the US state of Oregon on 29 October and later tried unsuccessfully to contact its owner in Alabama”.

I mean that is pretty amazing.  Because those talons are no aid to trying to dial a number or ping a text.  Unless Joe tried to use its wings? I mean, unsuccessful, so we will never know how close it got to getting through.  But just having the resourcefulness to try is incredible in itself.

Still, I suppose it is a natural assumption for the authorities to believe that any new émigré to Australia is guilty of something…


Allow me to take this opportunity to point you at some excellent upcoming sessions we have for you on a variety of topics.

Next Wednesday (20th) at 9:15am we have award winning author Chris Hirst talking about “Leadership in the time of Covid”.  I can promise this will be a very interesting session.  Chris is an excellent speaker now that the broad Geordie of his youth has been so ground down by years as an advertising executive that it makes him actually comprehensible.  So it comes highly recommended.  Contact sophia.lane@liiba.co.uk if you haven’t yet registered.

Then on 25th January we have “Data Protection & Privacy Challenges for Insurance Brokers – The Sequel!” – who would have thought it – a follow up to the excellent session that Grant Thornton ran for us at the end of last year on this crucial topic for all of you.  Contact jo.brady@liiba.co.uk for this one.

Moving into February we will have sessions on claims (5th); client money (week of 8th Feb tbc) and employment issues in a remote working world (23rd).  Look out for more detail on these in the coming weeks.

And if there are areas or topics you would like us to cover as part of our training schedule do let us know.

Bit thick?

The fancy dans of the new technological era are always keen to emphasise their affected sophistication.  None more so than those who seemingly make unimaginable fortunes dabbling in crypto currencies.  Us mere mortals are supposed to bow and scrape before this new nobility.  Accepting their dominance in a society reshaped by concepts they assume we will never understand.

But are they all that?  After all, German born San Franciscan Stefan James currently can’t get to his $220m fortune because he has forgotten his password.  And Newport’s James Howells spends his spare time rummaging through landfill sites because he threw away the hard drive holding £200m of bitcoin eight years ago.  And it is estimated that 20% of the world’s crypto currency fortunes are unclaimed because they have been lost or the owner is locked out of the account.  I mean, honestly, do these people have no system.  Presidents in order from Washington1 onwards?* Name and shirt numbers from the All Blacks who chucked the 2007 World Cup quarter (the darkest day in the history of the Croft household.  Domestic tranquillity was not restored for months.  Never mention Wayne Barnes)? Password 12?

So take your la de da quasi Ponzi schemes and come back when you have begun to deal with the basics.  Be less bit coin, more bit coy.

*on a point of order, is it acceptable/sufficiently secure to use both Cleveland22 and Cleveland24 or should one switch to McKinley25 straight after Harrison23?  And what should you do about the Bushes?  Or can you have Trump48 (probably) as well as Trump45?

I am off to Brazil.  As far as I can see it will soon be the only place where the Brazilian variant is not rampant.


Brexit run off