Penny Black's insurance week

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While lunching with her chums at Misys General Insurance, Penny was surprised to see two sides to th...

While lunching with her chums at Misys General Insurance, Penny was surprised to see two sides to the broking software house. The fluffy side is represented by the antics of MGI's press officer, who recently paraded through the company's offices in bunny ears as part of a charity fund-raising drive. The Alan-Sugar-esque side is represented in the form of the company's chief executive, Phillip Bell. Apparently, on his appointment he reorganised the firm's management structure and when asked why replied "so that when someone makes a mistake, I know who to fire". Charming.

One's annual flick through The Sunday Times Rich List revealed the insurance industry's showing is as poor as ever. In the clear lead was Sean Quinn, who came in at a highly respectable 18th with £2bn. The Times reported that his insurance arm, Quinn Direct, could help the group's overall profits - £154m in 2004 - soar in the coming years. Flicking forward a few pages and more than 200 places Penny found Henry Engelhardt's decision to sell £28m worth of shares when Admiral floated in 2004 helped him climb the list to become the UK's 256th wealthiest person with £240m. Benfield chief executive Grahame Chilton's personal wealth is reported to be £92m, putting him 633rd equal and his stock is likely to rise if rumours of a merger with JLT are true. And finally, spare a thought for John Charman, who is stepping down from Axis Capital. Although at 326 with £145m, the newspaper "cautiously values" him at £82m awaiting his divorce settlement.

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