© Bloomberg

Hiscox: Bronek, call Brunswick!

Bronek Masojada, boss of insurer Hiscox, likes digital comms. He once showed City Insider a home-security app that let him track his dogs’ whereabouts from his office in EC3. But he may be less enthusiastic about the online updates emanating from PR firm Media Zoo, which is not only an angry Hiscox customer that has been refused a claim for Covid-19 business interruption but also an award-winning publicity machine that counts billionaire Jim Ratcliffe as a client and boasts ex-BBC consumer champion Mark Killick as a director. Killick ran the Watchdog programme for five years, launched business-shaming show Rogue Traders and spent a decade on Panorama. All of which helps explain how he mobilised a 200-strong Hiscox action group in days, and plastered the story all over the media. By contrast, legal action against RSA by a bunch of holiday let owners featured only in industry newsletter Insurance Post. But to paraphrase one witty spinner: “cottage industries can’t do PR”. Masojada’s PR firm, Brunswick, said he’s been too focused on resolving any disputes to make statements. And he may yet find a way out of the doghouse: if Media Zoo’s campaign is any more successful, it could win too much new business to make a valid interruption claim.

Barnardo’s: What a Chalmer

Who said bankers were only in it for themselves? In between coping with the coronavirus crisis, William Chalmers, finance director of Lloyds Bank, has teamed up with some old chums — Alison Rose, Nathan Bostock and David Duffy, the bosses of RBS, Santander UK and Virgin Money respectively — for a spot of charity work. In 2017, Chalmers set up the Banking on Barnardos dinner, buttressed by Andrew Bailey, now the Bank of England governor, as a keynote speaker. It raised £300,000 for the children’s charity in each of the past two years. Another dinner had been pencilled in for 2021. But Chalmers is now running an emergency, dinner-free fundraiser, again aided by his trio of banker lieutenants, and endorsed by Bailey. He’s asking the 30-plus previous donors to stump up £5,000-£10,000 apiece. Among the targets are the high street banks plus UBS and Morgan Stanley, as well as insurer Aviva and headhunter Russell Reynolds. The aim is to raise as much as £200,000 to help Barnardos’ digital outreach programme for vulnerable children in lockdown. Dig deep, financiers, dig deep.

Curve: Nixon’s U-turn

The revolving door between regulators and the regulated still turns. Next to go through 180 degrees is Hannah Nixon, who is joining the fintech Curve after five years running the Payment Systems Regulator. Her impeccably sticklerish CV includes stints at Ofgem, the Office of Rail Regulation and the Regulatory Policy Institute. But her new employer reckons it is “to banking what Netflix is to TV and Spotify to Music”. Let’s hope Curve colleagues don’t think Nixon is too, er, square.

Sky News: King versus Kelly

When they schedule business news in the same slot as breakfast TV celeb-fests, you know we live in strange times. And now Sky is doing just that: adding a morning show at 9.30 before its lunchtime bulletin. Self-effacing presenter Ian King said it will “double the opportunities to admire the bookshelves of business people” on video calls. But the big question is: will it also halve Lorraine Kelly’s audience?

Get alerts on UK companies when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2020. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)

Follow the topics in this article