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Is it you doing all this North Korean business?

Dear friend,

I’ve just found a very entertaining story on the Fox News Network – all about alleged reinsurance wrongdoing worth up to $150m from the much-maligned government of North Korea.

Now I know Fox has a bit of a reputation for sensationalism, but I must say the article looks well-researched, balanced and seems very plausible.

I love the bits about beautifully-produced death certificates and inventories of goods lost in fires and accidents being produced in double-quick time, when they would take ages to be processed in the West. I love the bit where underwriters wanted to send a diver out to check a ferry wreck, but were flatly refused - these guys have style!

It just goes to show that in matters of utmost good faith, it pays to look into who you’re doing business with.

How things have changed — to think I used to sometimes find it difficult placing blue-chip Spanish business due to the innate mistrust of many London underwriters! The Spaniards may have taken forever to send documentation and proposal forms over, but none of my clients ever set out to defraud underwriters either.

These days it seems anywhere is fair game — but honestly, I imagined there were limits to what even the most silver-tongued brokers could achieve - the communist dictatorship of North Korea being one of them.

So, it’s time to come clean — have you placed any of this stuff?

Did you knowingly pay for a production broker to fly out to Pyongyang to see the guys at the state-run insurance monopoly, the Korea National Insurance Corporation (KNIC)?

I do hope it was a worthwhile trip!

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