Funny old name, Jelf.

Along with being an abbreviation of Japanese elf, and the name (pronounced ‘yelf’) of a species of pungent Norwegian cheese that is wrapped in reindeer stomach lining and buried in soil for up to three years prior to consumption, Jelf is also a venerable old English surname.

Improbably, based on the physical appearance of most contemporary bearers of the name, Jelf derives (via things like Joly, Jolif and Joliffe) from the same root as the modern French word Jolie, meaning fair of mien. Thus, noted sock-puppet maker Gladys Jelf and Tomb Raider star Angelina Jolie (sort of) share a surname.

Jelf has been the surname of many illustrious Brits down the years including judge Arthur Richard “Judge” Jelf (1837–1917), churchman and academic William Edward “Teddy” Jelf (1811–1875), and lawyer Ernest Arthur Jelf (1868–1949) who served as King’s Remembrancer during WWII. Not to mention Christopher Mordred “Chris” Jelf who founded the insurance broking firm of that name way back in 1989.

To no-one’s surprise whatsoever, US broking giant Marshall McLuhan (aka Marsh) recently announced that the funny old name Jelf will henceforth be the collective brand name for the combined operations of Jelf itself, purchased by ‘Marsh’ in 2015, and Bluefin, a broking operation bought by Marsh from AXA the following year.

Apparently the re-brand will take place in piecemeal fashion starting sometime next year (eventually encompassing the vast majority of Bluefin, excepting odd bits and pieces like Bluefin Sport and Bluefin Knitwear).

Marsh CEO UK and Ireland, Mark Vile says that “Building on the Jelf name – synonymous with community broking for almost 30 years – gives us a well-known and highly-respected platform from which to help the SME and mid-size companies that drive Britain’s economy.”

Long quotes are great (even when they are just standard corporate guff about platforms and building and driving etc.) They make a story look quite long enough to wrap it up and move on to the next one.

The sooner this is finished, the sooner we’ll all be down the Badgers!


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