The Intelligent Quarterly from the publishers of The Insurance Insider

Autumn 2017

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The other parrot sketch
The Lloyd's market saw a different side to Lloyd's former chairman John Nelson at his leaving drinks in May, as he retold a classic pet shop joke.
When a punter learns that the first parrot he has enquired about costs £15,000, because it speaks a number of European languages, he enquires after a slightly grubbier, sadder-looking one at the next perch.
"Oh," the pet shop owner exclaims, "he's much more expensive, £25,000 at least."
"Why so expensive?" the punter replies.
"Because he speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, Urdu, Punjabi and a number of other emerging market languages."
The punter turns to the saddest-looking parrot of all.
"Surely this one is cheaper than your other two parrots?"
"No," replies the shop owner, "he's the most expensive of all. I'd want £50,000 for him."
"What on earth does he do?" asks the flabbergasted buyer.
"Nothing at all," says the pet shop owner, "but the other two refer to him as 'the chairman'."

I Catlin: We need to talk about Stephen
As you'd expect from such a raconteur, Stephen Catlin's first book, Risk & Reward, is stuffed with fantastic anecdotes.
Catlin relates how he almost walked away from the industry altogether in the early days, fearing that he was simply a croupier-in-training. He then performed a volte-face by telling naysayers that, when pricing terrorism policies in the wake of 9/11, they should think of him as a bookie, who could spread the risk as long as enough money came in.
He also recalls how Lehman Brothers, one of the lead bookrunners on the $600mn debt raise in the wake of Catlin's acquisition of Wellington, initially encouraged him to settle for $300mn of debt and to wait until later in the year to bring the debt to market. Catlin encouraged them to double the issuance and do it in the summer of 2007. Two months later, the market collapsed...

This article was published as part of issue Autumn 2017

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