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Chatham van man

Dear friend,

“So it’s come to this has it? 30 years and thrown on the scrapheap.

Tossed in the bin like a used anky.

‘Surplus to requirements’, so they say.

What am I going to do now? I can’t very well retrain at my age, it’s like what my missus always says ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’.

And I’m an old dog alright.

Fair dos, everyfing’s on computers now innit?

That Mr Ward says it’s gonna appen so it will appen, won’t it?

He’s not like them other ones wot they ad before — all mouth and no trousers.

I remember that EPS malarkey back in the 90s — proper Mariah Carey that was?

Come again? Mariah Carey — scary. Cockney rhyming slang, that is.

Well, I’ve still got me pride. I’ll go out with dignity — down the A2 one last time, then I’ll do the knowledge… At least I won’t have to work in one of those poncey wine bars in Leadenhall market!”

Dear friend, pity the poor Chatham Van man, deliverer of premium advice notes and slips to the LPSO, then Xchanging.

His battered old van is getting emptier by the minute. And by next year he will be no more.

If seventeen percent of all Lloyd’s business can be accounted for and settled electronically today, then there is no earthly reason for 100% of it to be settled that way tomorrow. Especially when the van is withdrawn. That will focus any Luddite’s mind.

I remember the plaintiff cries from technicians on cold winter days as I prepared to go out to the market…

“Mark, please, please, please would you drop this off to the Lloyd’s post room? There’s a premium payment warranty and it has to make the 5 o’clock van.”

“Can’t you take it yourself?”

“It’s freezing outside — please Mark”

Oh, the joys of working at a small broker.

And so is the writing on the wall for all non-added value people — claims brokers just there to shift duplicate files around, not negotiate. Placing brokers sent out merely to block the market.

Magazine editors?

This is progress, but it is sometimes a little sad.

We’re a nostalgic lot in London. It’s one of our greatest vices, but in many ways it is also a great virtue.

PS. I already wrote about Friday the thirteenth last year.

Comments (1)

Peter Wood:


With reference to your article of today, I have the following observation;

While we are being nostalgic and remembering fondly the fine medium known as paper, I have been a little exposed to this new electronic postman.

I like the principal of phasing out the paper - save trees and reduce the carbon footprint etc and of course congratulations are due and I wish a happy retirement to the van man.

We kept paper records for their resilience, legal proof, instant dispute resolution, etc etc etc.

I am not sure the new age electronic postman has thought about the need for durable proof of authenticity here.

This data forms the core of the contract and is what the entire market bases it's decisions on. I understand that xchanging seem to think protection from a freeware digital signature will provide the durable authenticity needed to protect this data against unauthorised alteration be that in error or for a darker reason, but moreover when the records are to be relied upon either now or many years in the future, the way in which it is being proposed will fail legally every time.

I bet the market is not aware of this flim-flam suggestion to a very serious issue, I know they are planning to use the freeware from Adobe which has only one redeeming factor - it's free.

Can it really be considered as improvement if the result is a weakened process. Bring back the van man - we know he can deliver a resolute service!

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