Our new columnist, writing exclusively for CATEX Reports, promises an off-beat look at the world of insurance.
Greetings, CATEX readers. My name is Roger and I'll be your columnist today.
Some of you might know me from previous experience in the wide worlds of insurance and publishing, most recently in Risk & Insurance. For those who haven't run across me, I thought I'd take the time to introduce myself and explain the raison d'être for this column. Apparently, I'm an acquired taste; here's your chance to acquire it. I'll be appearing monthly in this space until no more cats need exchanging or the earth spins off its axis.
That's me up top and this is my story. Well, it's a story.
I write insurance humour, on a good day, and bilious rants when something gets on my nerves. The appeal of the column is akin to that of a train wreck: you have to check it out, in case there's blood and guts on the tracks. I am pre-eminent in the field of insurance humour, perhaps in part because no one else operates in that field.
This column offers a guarantee unique in all of the history of the written word. If I can't make you laugh out loud sooner or later, I guarantee there's something wrong with you.
What qualifications do I have for the job? I got buckets of 'em. I'm more qualified than the audit report of the European Union. I have qualifications up the ying-yang, which is a bad place to have 'em.
I'm English. Do you need to know anything more? I'm a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. I'm a Member of the Chartered Institute of Management. And I'm a Fellow of the Institute of Financial Accountants. The eagle-eyed will have noticed that it must be my birthday, for I'm two jolly good fellows.
So much for the book-larnin'. Insurance is in my blood. Or in my refrigerator. Or somewhere. I was the CFO of a life insurance company at 23 years old, and the managing director of a shipping and commodity trading company based in Bermuda by the time I hit 35.
Looking in the mirror one day, I decided that I hadn't set out to be a middle-aged businessman, and couldn't think of a single reason why I should be one. So I stopped being one. For a few years, a Swiss girlfriend and I lived in a Volkswagen van in North America and friends' houses throughout Europe. Best years of my life.
Near the end of this idyll, I wrote a novel, Oliver's Travels. It was declared "the worst piece of fiction ever written" by all my literate pals in Bermuda. One of them, a newspaper editor, said that, since I could write, but couldn't make it up, I would make a good newspaper reporter. Did I want to be one? Did I!
Soon after I started work as a middle-aged cub reporter, the first of the giant Bermuda property cats arrived on the Island, in 1993. Despite my best efforts to steer clear of the business world, I was corralled into accepting what became, in the succeeding 20 years, a front row seat and a backstage pass to the creation in Bermuda of a global insurance industry.
Pretty much ever since, I have made a living working both sides of the street. Newspapers and magazines buy my work, as do insurance companies, banks and professional firms. I've written about 25,000 published articles; more annual reports than there are years in my age; menus; political speeches; videoscripts; corporate histories and humour books. I've worked online, offline, out of line and on radio and TV; and inspired a fan following numbering into double figures (just). I tell you this humbly so that you will know how grate I am.
In my time, I've met them all. Hank Greenberg gave me half an hour a couple of times; Joe Plumeri half a day once. I really liked both of them, even though they were softies. In Bermuda, the US, UK and the Caribbean, I offered financial insight to the public in the newspapers and in person. All the while, I followed Damon Runyan's sage advice: "Always try to rub up against money, for if you rub up against money long enough, some of it may rub off on you". (Runyon also wrote that he "long ago came to the conclusion that all life is six to five against".)
The rule of law in Bermuda is intermittent. Near the end of 2001, I was deported to London in a most gentlemanly manner, and a year later denied re-entry. My reporting of the truth had apparently upset a corrupt member of what was then a deeply corrupt government. I thus became the very first official enemy of the state of Bermuda, an honour I wear proudly to this day, especially because I am honest Bermuda's greatest friend. I continue to derive a small living from the Bermuda market that I have always served.
I'm referred to as 'sideways', 'off-the-wall' and 'Roger who?' In this hallowed space, I'll try to make you laugh about some of the foibles that attend the insurance industry. If nothing else, it'll take your mind off exchanging all those cats. I think we all know there's nothing worse than having a couple of tabbies on your hands when what you really want is a Siamese Blue.
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Roger Crombie is an American Society of Business Publication Editors national award winner. An English chartered accountant who lives in London, he writes and broadcasts news and opinion in the US, UK, Bermuda and the Caribbean, in print and online. His main beat is insurance and financial services, with 30-year sidelines in music and humour. Contact Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright CATEX Reports
September 11, 2012-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------