When I’m writing RISKbitz copy I always try to think about the most absurd or embarrassing or idiotic thing that could happen in the industry.
But there are times when I wonder whether it is worth the effort, when fact is more embarrassing and more idiotic than fiction.
If I had written last week that a subsidiary of one of the most highly respected reinsurance companies in the business had hired a troupe of hookers (is there a better collective noun?) to service its top producers as a way of incentivising them, it would have been funny (though “not a lot” as British TV’s Paul Daniels used to say.)
That Munich Re’s Ergo wrote up the event in their company newsletter is even more absurd.
And yet as the whole world knows by now, that is precisely what happened. Bang goes another RISKbitz story line.
Then in the same week it happened again. A headline straight out of RISKbitz appeared, thanks to a brilliant public information release from the highly respected Centers For Disease Control & Prevention: “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse”
Here’s how the bulletin starts: “There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.”
After a brief run-down of what constitutes a zombie apocalypse (“Although its meaning has changed slightly over the years, it refers to a human corpse mysteriously reanimated to serve the undead”) the CDC outlines advice on how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse giving advice on emergency kits and meeting points.
It also explains what the CDC would do during the outbreak (If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consultation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control…)
The CDC’s zombie risk management guide is of course a clever way of getting people to read up on disaster preparedness. But it had all the ingredients of a RISKbitz story.
But it and Munich Re’s Roman orgy were not the only RISKbitz-style stories to emerge during the week. To join the ranks of Mocha Re and Hapless Insurance we welcomethe new pop-up reinsurer - Accordion Re. Accordion Re? What next – Banjo Re? Both are routinely described as instruments of torture. Personally, I like the piano accordion but naming a special purpose vehicle after it is asking for trouble in the shape of rotten puns in headlines to do with ‘playing a different tune’ or ‘striking the right note’, or ‘feeling the squeeze’.
Guys, go for something more anodyne in future. How about Anodyne Re?