Week in Post: Rio 2016, diving doggies, a racism row and rejoice, the Insurance Act is finally here!

Rio Olympics logo on a sandcastle

You know you’ve been bitten by the Olympic bug when you find yourself watching the weightlifting at 1:30am in the morning, hours before you have an event and need to be pretty sharp.

But it does only happen once every four years - the Olympics that is - and so you can always find an excuse as you nurse a coffee the next morning, wishing you had gone to bed after the rhythmic gymnastics at midnight.

On the subject of the Olympics; while no UK insurer seems to have embraced Rio 2016 as an excuse to roll out a new marketing campaign, if you have not seen the US insurer Farmers' ‘doggy diving' competition it is definitely worth a watch.

Speaking of making a splash, the Insurance Act is now LIVE. Yes, LIVE.

With a build-up that seems to have gone on as long as the countdown to Rio 2016, it is thus encouraging(ish) that a survey conducted two weeks before the implementation date (12 August) revealed 90% of Airmic members feel prepared for the law change. The same percentage also felt that their brokers are at least 'relatively prepared'.

Meanwhile, the British Insurance Brokers' Association called on insurers to be clear when they 'contract out' of parts of the Act.

To find out how well you know the Act, maybe you should get your canines into this week's Post Quiz to see if you are a Gold medallist, first round loser, or somewhere in between.

Elsewhere, personal injury law firm Thompsons threw a punch or two in the direction of the insurance sector after claiming people who live in multiethnic districts pay an ‘ethnic penalty' in higher-than-average motor premiums of up to £458.

However, the sector hit back with its own riposte, with the ABI's James Dalton responding by saying the validity of the report was undermined by the fact it was paid for by a firm of solicitors with a vested interest in fuelling the compensation culture.

That one is certainly likely to be a marathon, and not a sprint, with many hurdles to be jumped before any agreement can be reached.

In other news a Freedom of Information request has revealed the name of the latest insurance firm to suffer a cyber attack, and the industry won a victory against 21 fraudsters in a private prosecution after bizarre footage was caught on CCTV.

On the results front, Post spoke to Ageas' Andy Watson and Hastings' Richard Hoskins as Zurich showed the green shoots of recovery with a combined operating ratio at 89.5% compared to 98.9% in 2015.

To mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, we looked back at this momentous event and how it shaped the modern insurance market, while coming slap-bang up-to-date, we touched the thorny issue of broker commission disclosure and conflicts of interest. Both well worth a read.

Interestingly, in the same week as the conflicts piece, Post interviewed the London Stock Exchange's risk manager - and former broker - Valeria Calvo, who commented on the need for long-term relationships with brokers and insurers, treating them "as a partner in business rather than a commodity that you use this year, the next year and then bye, bye."

"You build the relationship by placing it on a more personal level. The insurance market is a people's market. So you meet them regularly," she added.

Finally, there were some topical blogs published online that are well worth checking out, tackling such pressing subjects as claims responsibility in an autonomous vehicle world; why the collapse of Enterprise Insurance has revealed long-standing pricing problems in the taxi and self-drive market; and how to sell insurance to Generation Y/Millennials.

A trio of articles with the verve and swagger of Philip Hindes, Jason Kenny and Callum Skinner in the Rio velodrome.

I said I'd expand on what the Post ‘Wall of Shame' is last week, but time is short, so I might leave that for another day. I will just say that as I write this Will Kirkman has a slender one point lead over Rosie Quigley, with Cecile Brisson in the Bronze media position for France.


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