Penny Black's guide to the 2016 Biba conference

Pint of beer

With many delegates already in Manchester ahead of the 2016 British Insurance Brokers’ Association conference, one thought it might be worth penning a few thoughts about what Penny will be looking out for at the event to the tune of a few local favourites.

Love will tear us apart
This will be the first British Insurance Broker's Association conference after Zurich and RSA so publicly almost got hitched, so it will be interesting to see if both parties keep their distance or happily chat through what could have been and what they did with the hat they never got to use.

Talking of broken hearts, there is also the small issue of this being Towergate CEO David Ross' first Biba since leaving Arthur J Gallagher alongside a number of high profile colleagues. Throw in the fact that the event kicks off with a discussion about whether Britain should divorce from Europe in June, and one predicts tensions might be running a little high on the conference floor.

Some might say
Having gone through one cycle of broker consolidation, with Oval, Jelf and Giles now off the table and in new homes the market stands on the cusp of another buying bonanza, with a number of brokers actively looking to grow through acquisition.

With the likes of GRP, Highbridge, PIB and Integro in the mix alongside the old favourites, there will no doubt be plenty of interesting deal chat and gossip to keep Biba attendees awake into the early hours. How much of it is true is another matter entirely...

Fool's Gold
Silly hats, stress balls, cuddly toys, inflatable sheep and fluorescent shoe laces - Biba has seen it all.

And those eager attendees who hanker for the return of Supermarket Sweep will literally be able to fill their boots [or branded bags] with enough stuff to make Coleen Rooney blush with envy.

Of course, most of it is rubbish and will end up in the bin within a month; it won't make you choose one insurer over another; but there are always a few gems to be found in the mix, and those who get there early on Wednesday will get the pick of the booty.

Penny will be keeping an eye on you bargain hunters ... so watch your bag!!!

24 Hour Party People
And finally, some of you might mourn the days when Biba conferences were full of scantily clad women [and the odd man for equality] enticing brokers to drinks vodka shots before 9:00am, but as a dignified lady (until at least noon) one doesn't. Much!

Having said that, drink can be found, and in abundance at Biba, so you just have to make sure you pace yourself and eat that jacket potato at the lunch break, no matter how under cooked it is. It could be difference between a memorable night on the tiles, or leaving your memories on the tiles - along with the morning breakfast you should have topped up.

Enjoy Biba 2016.

I may or may not be on the Post - stand B50 - but my colleagues will be and several of them are attending for the first time, so please come and say hello.

Toodle pip dear friends,

Penny Black


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