Biba 2010 Countdown: The sun goes down on Gbiba 1710

Daul Ponaldson

Post has unearthed the centuries old diary of Daul Ponaldson, Sun Insurance employee, revealing details of his first Great British Insurance Brokers' Association conference.

This year marks the 300th birthday of Sun Insurance, a forerunner to RSA. To celebrate the event, Post asked the insurer to scour its archives and discover how insurers and brokers converged to discuss the issues of the day. To both parties surprise, a diary was uncovereed of an employee Mr Daul Ponaldson. Post is pleased to present the fourth and final instalment of this historic document.

The day after and the sun shineth far too brightly today. I am considering patenting a pair of spectacles that block out the sun's evil rays. My first stop today is at Fuzzy's Tavern where I hope a hearty English breakfast will right me and let me go about what is left of my GBiba business.

As mentioned in my previous addresses, I have collected all manner of weird and wonderful trinkets from a whole host of insurance firms. My tally so far reads thus:

One ship in a bottle;

One ship no longer in a bottle, I hope no one will notice but bottles are for liquid refreshment and I am a man of principle. Besides have you ever tried getting the ship back in?

A complimentary copy of the Ye olde Post Magazine, it truly is a cracking pamphlet and the journal of record for every insurance person of note;

Two souvenir 1710 ale flasks. Those should come in handy most every night and some afternoons;

A handful of small pieces of card with the holder's name and company insignia as well as a handy leather-bound wallet for me to carry all my paper parcels around. I doubt they will be required in the years to come but it is agreeable nonetheless. I have even found a useful pocket in it for the keeping of snuff and other such pleasantries.

And so, dear reader, it is with deep regret that the GBiba conference of 1710 draws to a close. With new contacts aplenty and great friendships made — and the odd one destroyed — I do so hope that this is the start of something special for the Sun Insurance Company and I am sure it will be.

I remain your very humble and most obedient servant

Daul Ponaldson Esq

Get to know your biba representatives

With seven weeks to go before the start of the British Insurance Brokers' Association conference, Post has decided to shine a light on some of the perhaps lesser-known staff at the trade body. This week, we talk to Gurmukh Shehri, Biba accounts manager.

Explain your role and how long you have worked at Biba? At the time of writing I have been at Biba for four years, two months, 20 days, one hour and 43 minutes and counting. As the accounts manager I'm responsible for ensuring that all the numbers add up.

How has the organisation changed since you joined? Biba has substantially increased its presence within decision making circles; whether it be the Financial Services Authority, politicians, law makers or the media, they value Biba's input.

What has been your favourite Biba conference moment to date? That would have to be seeing everything perfect on the opening day. It makes you proud that such an important event has been organised by our team and especially Lindsay Campbell. Having the unfortunate job of paying the bills, it's also nice to see how it all comes together.

If an alien spaceship landed on the Excel arena during the 2010 conference and asked you to explain what Biba is, what would you say? I would happily explain the range of benefits and how Biba represents and fights for its members' interests. Then, I would provide a membership pack, ask them to take residence in the UK, become regulated and, hopefully, Biba members. We would need a special membership category, but imagine the niche market in galactic vehicle, travel, health, home (planet), business and the endless list of pet insurance.

Who would be your dream speaker at a Biba conference and why? This may not excite everyone but I would say Sir Alex Ferguson. Can you tell I am a Manchester United fan? On a more serious note, it would be interesting to hear about how he has been successful for so many years. But I'm not sure if delegates would welcome his infamous 'hairdryer' treatment.

Please finish "The Biba Conference is still as relevant as ever because …" It's the number one event for the industry. Not only does it allow members to network and hear relevant speakers but they can attend for free!

Who in your opinion would be the Biba member of staff most likely to go on Britain's Got Talent? And what would they do? First, Peter Staddon. His knowledge of the industry is great and he could honestly make a dead chicken laugh. I cannot disclose whether he initially killed the chicken, as it may affect Mrs Chicken's insurance claim. Secondly, Graeme Trudgill and some form of Choc-a-thon. Guinness has been informed of his exploits and we are awaiting declaration of his records.

Biba 2010: the claims perspective

The Biba conference is well known as a gathering place for UK insurers to court brokers. But what of those associated with claims? Post asked the bosses of a number of these firms what their hopes are for this year's event, continuing with John Sims, CEO, Lorega:

 

Why are you exhibiting at the 2010 Biba conference? All through my career the Biba conference has delivered a unique opportunity to meet with brokers, insurers and service providers from around the country. Lorega attends to meet with existing clients and to win new ones; to date we have seen an excellent return on our investment. Where else can you have a breakfast to discuss a seed of an idea, bring all the parties together over an afternoon coffee and celebrate sealing the deal over a close-of-play beer?

 

What have been your overall impressions of the conference in the past? This year will be my third Biba as CEO of Lorega. Each has been successful for marketing our loss recovery insurance products, but the best so far for me was in Manchester — a great venue, easy access location and fantastic entertaining opportunities with the best Chinese restaurant, the Yang Sing, just a few minutes walk away.


What messages will you be trying to get across to the delegates? I am a customer service fanatic and will, therefore, be talking to broker and insurers alike about the need to provide commercial, high net worth and mid net worth policyholders with independent chartered loss adjusting assistance at the point of need — a claim. As an industry we all believe in delivering claims excellence, but financial restraints make this difficult to achieve unless the policyholder also makes a small financial contribution.


Will you be looking to push any particular products? The Lorega team will be talking to delegates about its full range of commercial and personal lines loss recovery insurance products. Over the past 12 months, we have seen a great take up of our private client contra-adjusting service, which I believe will generate a lot of interest at Excel.


Will you be doing anything special on your stand to entice delegates to stop and chat? We really didn't have a choice as brokers were not at all shy about requesting we hire the Fantasy Imaging system again for 2010; how could we disappoint them? Expect to see extraordinary images of James Bond and Lara Croft on the wall of offices throughout the land when everyone returns to their desks.

 

The theme for the 2010 conference is 'professionalism in a changing world'. What do you think the insurance industry can do to demonstrate this? In some quarters the industry is still only playing lip service to TCF, which is unacceptable. We need to act now to deliver this principle when policyholders call on their cover. This is especially true of commercial claims at the moment, where a lack of available short-term funding from banks can permanently force a company out of business before a claim is settled.

Joanna Lumley, who closes the conference, won much acclaim in 2009 for her successful campaigning on behalf of Gurkha soldiers. If you were to ask her to campaign on behalf of the insurance industry over one issue what would it be and why? We could paraphrase Joanna's campaign as TGF — Treating Gurkhas Fairly. I would, therefore, ask her to campaign for those who suffer when a claim is handled badly and push the entire industry to step up to the mark and focus on TCF.


What would be your dream location for the 2011 Biba conference and what would be the fantasy speaker line up? We should all fly to New Zealand and combine the 2011 Biba conference with a trip to the Rugby World Cup. To continue the theme I would like to see rugby star Jeremy Guscott take to the speakers' platform. As someone we work with closely, he might just name drop us in his speech. From a pure industry perspective, let's bring the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the stage to help us understand the post-election regulatory landscape.

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