November 2, 2011

Not since Robbie Williams stumbled back into the warm and lucrative embrace of omnipresent aural swill merchants Take That was there such a homecoming. Not before Catholic and Orthodox congregations once again reunite to heal the Great Schism of 1054, will we see such another. The announcement that IIB’s Barbara Bradshaw is to lead her small broker flock back into the BIBA fold was bruited this week to near universal approbation.

Twas back in 1987 that Andrew ‘Monty” Paddick first led them out, incensed at the sidelining of small brokers’ interests to those of overbearing often-London-based big brokers. A fiery almost messianic figure, Paddick inspired fierce loyalty among his followers, but died suddenly in January 2008. A more or less decent interval having now elapsed since that tragic event, and the most offensive of the so-called big brokers having since decamped from BIBA to form their own London & International Insurance Brokers’ Association (LIIBA), BIBA and IIB have drawn ever closer and will now become BIIIBBA, or BIBA for short.

Bradshaw now becomes something pretty senior in BIBA reporting directly to chief exec Eric Gallbreath, who attempts a non-triumphalist tone with the assertion that “We have always strongly believed that one voice within the broking sector is needed, and I believe that it is for the benefit of the sector that both organisations come together.”

Bradshaw, meanwhile, maintains that to appreciate the true beauty of this momentous reconjunction, you need to look at it whilst “wearing a cost benefits analysis hat.” The merger will be a good thing for everybody she proudly asserts not least because “taking out duplication of operations and capitalising on each other’s strengths has a clear advantage for all.”

Functionaries and service providers in vulnerably rationalisable roles within and around either body will doubtless now be starting to think about that thing that George Osborne is always refusing to contemplate.

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