“This report of my death was an exaggeration,” Mark Twain once noted laconically, when plainly the phrase he should have employed was the more fruitily ornate “Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”

Now, in a similar vein, Group Armagh chief exec Frank Boisseau has stated that his firm “would be around for a long time,” when he should surely instead have declared, as Gloria Gaynor and countless persons of unsettled personal life have insisted before him, “I will survive!”

Brokers have been getting on the French insurer’s case following various Eurocreek-triggered ratings downgrades. Swiss Re, who famously know loads of stuff and do real research and everything, recently concluded that if the the so-called GIPSI countries (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ireland) were all to write down their debts by 50% it could decimate European insurers’ capital base two and a half times over (i.e. reduce them by 25%). Which would be quite bad.

Insurance Times (which as attentive readers may have noticed by now was the only insurance paper Bankstone News got round to plagiarising this week) noted that whilst insurers view a full-on Euro breakup (like a powerful electric fan in a busy drey) as very much a tail risk, the mere thought of it is putting the wind up many observers.

Cheer up Bankstone News, says, it might never happen!


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