Writing about the lively and colourful (not to say downright sexy) world of insurance for a living is a privilege to which not every journalist can hope to aspire.

Sobered as they must be by the weighty responsibilities a role in insurance journalism brings, those lucky few who find themselves in this position, may still of course be forgiven the occasional excursion into levity.

Highly visible casualties of this phenomenon were the countless working hours happily squandered (sorry, invested in social media brand building) on the recent #insurancemovies and #insurancemusic topics on twitter.

Aside from such allotted forums for fun as Penny Black, Backchat and Polly C, insurance trade publications are in fact literally littered with clever in-jokes and knowing references, to the vast majority of which the average reader remains blithely oblivious.

In last week’s edition of Insurance Times, however, Bankstone News believes it spotted one such exercise in internal frivolity. Its position was outrageously daring: the leader column of the 16-22 March Edition of Insurance Times.

Textual analysis carried out by Bankstone News, however, has uncovered a pattern of anomalies in Ellen Bennett’s Editor’s Week piece that can surely admit of no alternative explanation.

Bennett has quite plainly taken a bet with one or more colleagues as to the quantity of clichés she can insert into a 34-line editorial entitled, with artfully split infinitive, “Will Blanc be the man to finally sell Oval?”

The first six-line paragraph alone includes “most wanted man in insurance”, “accession to the Oval throne”, “market’s worst-kept secret”, “fired the starting gun” and “race to buy.” If that doesn’t signal intent, Bankstone News does not know what does.

It carries on in a similarly far-fetched vein. We won’t bore you with a complete list. Suffice to say, it’s a stunning literary tour de force – and yet one, Bankstone News suspects, that many readers might easily have passed over without so much as a second thought.

But could it just be coincidence? Bankstone News suspects not. Comparative analysis of a lengthy feature article on Sian Fisher by Saxon East in the same issue yielded barely a single cliché (indeed, hardly a word not hard at work).

Ellen Bennett’s leader column this week “Feeling the squeeze in personal lines” again yielded little more a reworking of the old Mark Twain thing about not actually being dead.

Based on all of which, Bankstone News can confidently declare Insurance Times’ merry pranksters well and truly rumbled!


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