from the publisher of reinsurance and fac magazines

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Winning words

Dear friend,

They say that truth is stranger than fiction.

It must be true — after all, I can testify that the life of a journalist is sometimes a strange one.

Take this week — on Wednesday night the great and the good of the UK’s insurance sector once again thronged the palatial surroundings of London’s Royal Albert Hall for the annual British Insurance Awards.

These awards are organised to the company that publishes Reinsurance and so we get to bring guests along to our own private box to witness the night’s entertainment.

It’s a lavish evening, with everyone in black tie and best evening dresses, top musical acts and a stand-up comedian booked as the London Philharmonic plays the tunes.

But it’s never that easy is it?

There’s always some sort of payback, and we end up having to sing for our supper.

Being the journalists on hand we are each allocated a prize winner and forced to interview them for a special printed magazine supplement that we publish a week later.

It’s all a bit of a rush.

The official advice is to grab your winner early — before he or she has had the customary none or ten too many celebratory drinks.

Interviewing a befuddled and tuxedo’d CEO in the middle of the Royal Albert Hall at midnight while an orchestra is belting out top show tunes from yesteryear is not an experience I’d wish on anyone.

I’m not saying that such a thing happened to me exactly, but let’s just say that after four such galas, I have learned that it’s usually best to grab your quarry’s business card and arrange an interview in the more sober and subdued climate of the morning after.

And speaking of the morning after the night before, have you read the SEC sub-prime report into S&P Fitch and Moody’s?

As the Feds pumped the credit and spiked the rum punch of global capitalism, oh how the party swung.

The people were flipping condos like burgers in a fast food joint and realtors and mortgage brokers were doing the conga down every main street. Bankers were shaking their booties and filling their boots while the hedge fund floosies were dancing on tables and baring their assets to random strangers.

The ratings agencies were the nerdy waiters handing out the drinks and breaking bar-tab records.

But all good things come to an end.

Just as nobody who was at the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday could face a drink yesterday, we bet no-one at S&P Fitch or Moody’s was in the mood for dancing.

But those guys over at AM Best were probably feeling right as rain. It seems they had overslept and arrived at the party far too late!

Now let’s get onto the news before we do something we regret.

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