Bankers, music and brokers

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Emmanuel KenningBankers just don't get it, but do you?

You might think that bankers in Ireland and the history of HMV have little to teach insurance brokers. But I beg to differ. Last month the EU agreed a loan of €85bn to bail out Ireland from its economic crisis. Earlier this week chancellor George Osborne confirmed the UK's contribution and separate loan could amount to over £7bn.

Which was why it was so nice this morning to read about state-owned Allied Irish Bank's intention to payout €40m (£33.5m) in bonuses to employees. The bankers claim they are due to the money for their 2008 and economic performance. I'm guessing that legally this may well be true.

It just goes to show that no matter which country we are dealing with, bankers just don't get it. Without the bailout there'd be no bank. Without a bank there'd be no bonus. No wonder people seem to be getting angrier.

And so on to HMV. According to reports, five years ago the boss of HMV predicted that the internet would plateau at 10% of the music market sales. This week the company announced like for like sales had fallen 11.5% in the last six months. While the management are strenuous in defending the business model ask yourself one question: when did you last buy music in a shop?

Which leaves us with brokers.

In this year's first Sentiment Survey 88% of brokers told us that trading commercial insurance electronically had a natural ceiling of £10,000. Brokers are not bankers. I don't believe they cannot see what is in front of their face. It is a well worn argument, whether commercial lines will go the same way as personal lines however the figures suggest there is a danger of being like the boss at HMV. Just because you cannot see it coming doesn't mean it won't.

For whatever little my advice is worth, I'd say if you only make one New Year's resolution, then make it to put time aside for some thinking time. A space to consider what you trade electronically now in commercial lines and what you'll be doing in five years' time.

The actions are up to you.
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