Post Blog: The fictional world of insurance

The insurance sector and its staff have been lampooned, loved and loathed on TV and in movies. Post Online looks at five moments where the industry and popular culture collide.

Groundhog Day - Ned Ryerson (1993)

Harold Ramis' classic comedy flick Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray, featured the irritating Ned Ryerson an insurance salesman and forgettable nerd who won't take no for an answer. Ryerson, also known as Needle nose Ned and Ned the Head, has made little impression on Phil Connors (played by Murray) despite going to school with him, almost failing to graduate with a nasty case of shingles, performing a whistling belly button trick in the local talent show and dating his sister.

Memorable moment - Phil is unimpressed with Ned's career choice

Phil: So did you turn pro with that belly button thing, Ned?
Ned: No, I sell insurance
Phil: What a shock

The Incredibles - Gilbert Huph (2004)

The Oscar winning Pixar animation has many themes; vigilantism, the litigious nature of American society and the ability of insurance companies to fleece their customers. After being forced into hiding following several law suits against super heroes Bob Parr - aka Mr Incredible - takes up a job with Insuricare. However, his diminutive boss, Gilbert Huph takes exception to his refusal to use policy loopholes to repudiate claims.

Memorable moment - Gilbert cannot stand Bob's customer friendly approach

Gilbert: What I can't handle is your customers' inexplicable knowledge of Insuricare's inner workings. They're experts. Experts, Bob. Exploiting every loophole. Dodging every obstacle. They're penetrating the bureaucracy!

Peep Show - Farrell's (2006)

Mark Corrigan, loveable bore of comedy hit Peep Show, is considering a number of jobs to provide for his pregnant ex-partner Sophie after the UK office of JLB Credit closes leaving him unemployed. However, he has to consider putting his dreams on hold when Sophie tells him that there are jobs available at Farrell's - a local loss adjuster.

Memorable moments - Mark ponders a life in loss adjusting

Mark: Loss adjustment, I can do that. My entire life has been one big adjustment to loss (at 2.01)
Mark: The loss adjustment application was just insurance, if you pardon the pun. (at 21.47)

Cemetery Junction - Freddie Taylor and Mike Ramsay (2010)

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's 1970s based comedy features three working class lads growing up in Reading, looking for better themselves. Freddie, the main protagonist, becomes a door-to-door life insurance salesman, where he encounters Mike, the company's top seller, who has no qualms about exploiting the fears of local residents in order to push policies.

Memorable moment - Short on sales, Freddie asks his friend Brian to take out life cover

Mike: I need a favour you're my last resort
Brian: Any spare cash I have I spend on porn
Mike: You need insurance
Brian: Nah, I need porn

Cedar Rapids - Brownstar Insurance (2011)

Miguel Arteta and Tim Johnson - the duo behind the underrated comedy Cedar Rapids starring Ed Helms and John C Reilly - think insurance is boring. The theme of insurance as a grey, unfulfilling industry runs throughout the film from the clothing and appearance of Helms' character Tim Lippe to the branding of fictional insurance firm Brownstar. Lippe, and industry pals Dean Ziegler (played by Reilly) and Ronald Wilkes (played by Isiah Whitlock Jr), break the shackles of their mundane day jobs to create mayhem at the annual insurance convention at Cedar Rapids - the American answer to the Biba conference.

Memorable moment: Tim earns the respect of an air hostess on the way home from the convention

Stewardess: What happened?
Tim: I got beat up, completely blottoed and befriended a prostitute. It was awesome.
Stewardess: Someone deserves two bags of honey roasted peanuts.
Tim: Two bags? Super awesome

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