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It's a tiger-eat-hyena market out there!

Dear Friend,

I’ve been reading a great book this week. It’s called “The life of Pi” — I suppose it’s the latest in the long line of the school of magical realism, invented and popularised by Gabriel García Marquez back in the seventies and eighties and expanded upon by authors such as Patrick Suskind, Isabel Allende and Louis de Bernieres.

Anyway, it contains a superb yarn at its heart and I’d thoroughly recommend you read it. Our hero, the “Pi” of the title, is the son of an Indian zookeeper who somewhat fantastically finds himself shipwrecked in the middle of the Pacific. So far so “Survive the Savage Sea” — until I tell you that in the lifeboat with the teenage boy is a zebra with a broken leg, a large female orang-utan, a hyena and a magnificent Bengal tiger!

It struck me that this action adventure might make quite a fun allegory for the state of today’s market. Reinsurers do often seem to be cast adrift on a vast ocean, at the mercy of the elements. They’re all in the same boat, yet they also compete with each other for food and water. Occasionally one lashes out and takes one of the others out of the game — others die of their wounds, or succumb to dehydration or starvation.

I won’t spoil the book by telling you exactly what happens, but the end result is perhaps inevitably one animal on top and a lot of blood and bones at the bottom of the boat.

Do try not to have nightmares!

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