March 7, 2014

Not since Forest Whitaker famously compared life to a box of Chiclets has Bankstone News come across so apt and memorable a food-based analogy as Admiral boss Hank Angelheart’s likening of his firm’s latest set of results to a humble potato.

“You don’t look at a potato and think nutrients,” he insisted, and in an eerily similar way, he suggested, one would not look at Admiral’s latest results and see progress. But that, in a rough-skinned, starchy kind of way, Hank maintains, is exactly what said figures represent.

Just as the potato is a byword for solidity (especially if it hasn’t yet been baked and, therefore, has its nutrients still safely stored up within its resolutely tuberous interior), so Admiral’s results are solid.

Just as the potato is not “flashy”, so Admiral’s results appear outwardly drab and uninspiring. But – as with a potato – analysts and investors who take the time to delve within (after microwaving on full power for around 10 minutes to release sweet tasting carbohydrate reserves formerly stored as starch, adding butter, cheese, and possibly some sour cream), will soon be savouring the reassuringly down to earth taste of what Mr Angleheart describes as a “comfort food set of results”.

Admiral’s strategy, he said, like that of a baked potato, is “to make measured progress” (i.e. nothing too eye-catching or “flashy”) “in the UK car insurance market while taking what we know and do well, which is internet and telephone delivery of insurance, to create growing, profitable, sustainable businesses outside the UK and in UK household insurance.”

That’s why, he declared to unreserved laughter and applause from an audience of bewildered senior employees, “I’m calling this the year of the potato!”

Memorable as the spud references undoubtedly are, Bankstone News, can’t help wishing Hank hadn’t run out of the insurance-related animal metaphors of which he was once the undoubted exponent. Who could forget, for example, his epic Year of the Kangaroo riff last year, or his timeless (2009) observation that “There are a number of idiosyncrasies about the koala bear that resonate with similarity to the UK car insurance market: koalas sleep some 16 hours a day, they can be nasty if provoked and they are known to smell quite bad.”

Bring back the beasts, Hank, we say here at Bankstone News!

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