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Just what is a reinsurer to wear this season?

Dear friend,

What to pack for Monte Carlo? It’s the vexed question everyone is asking themselves as they prepare for the greatest show on reinsurance earth.

It’s all a little confusing — this world is a little topsy turvy. Everything is turned upon its head — I mean normally you wear a suit during the day and put on casual gear when you get home — not so in Monte.

Here everyone slums it in Ray-Bans, Chinos, and docksiders by day, like aging rock stars trying to go incognito, yet but night a mass pupation occurs and the day’s caterpillars emerge like a rampant flock of rare and beautiful butterflies.

Pausing only to dry their wings in Casino Square, they flit off into the night, dispersing to private functions and pre- and post-dinner drinks in a cloud of champagne bubbles and canapés.

Knowing what to bring and how to behave can be quite a challenge. What is a respectable reinsurer to do?

Well ladies, this season I have compiled a guide that will suit all styles, dress sizes and budgets:

Old continental reinsurers — this year, you’re going to have to hitch up your hemlines a notch or two, show a bit of leg and try something a little more risqué than you’re used to — it’s time to live a little.

If you don’t, someone more daring is likely to run off with all your usual dance partners and leave you a dull old maid, sitting out the foxtrot whilst gossiping with the other discarded flotsam and jetsam. And that won’t be much fun, will it?

Necklines will be plunging too, so cleavage should be readied for display. Dig out a few diamonds and liven up that old frock by sewing a few sequins in here or there. But don’t go overboard, keep it fairly classical and just a trifle understated.

That’s the old birds sorted out, now for the Bermudians — let me break you down by class:

Any class pre-2001 — you know the score – you’ve been here before. Start with the footwear — you want to be smart, but sensible — leave the high heels for the start-ups. You’ve already made a splash, so you don’t have to overdo it — there’s no need for ostentation.

I’d keep a beady eye out for rogues, promising riches if you let them run your Zurich or London offices. Pack a can of mace in your handbag, just in case they don’t get the message.

Start-ups and debutantes — don’t overdo it — it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Wear what you’re comfortable in. You’re young and impulsive, so don’t go making a fool of yourself.

I don’t expect you to heed my advice, but don’t expect any sympathy at 2am after the big Aon party telling me that your high heels are killing you and you don’t think you can make it back up the hill to the Casino! Oh, and bring some Alka Seltzer.

Now for the ladies from Lloyd’s — I’d go for something provocative — get all the boys hot under the collar on the first night and then spend the rest of the week playing hard to get.

But don’t forget to get formally paired off with someone before you leave and make sure they visit the jewellers and hand over a big rock — this may be your last chance to bag a top-dollar beau before the easy money runs out.

And brokers, bring a brolly — if it rains you’ll want to be chivalrous and lend it to your best market and/or best customer! Actually I feel sorry for you this year — you’re going to have you work cut out, hanging on to your best accounts as they come under relentless soft market attack, and your best staff will be wooed by the opposition.

Still, look on the bright side, maybe the dollar will strengthen in 2008 and help mask your inevitable sliding brokerage?

And do remember to try and have fun — I look forward to meeting you all once again

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