Tyres, Not Ties: London Market Men and Women Alphas Road Race

The London insurance market is a highly competitive beast. The grey stereotype of pin stripe suited insurers belies the daily jousting between underwriters and brokers, which breeds forceful and driven personalities. So when you insert some of those personalities into a competitive environment at an insurance conference you can be certain that some sparks are going to fly, which is what happened at last week’s London Market Conference organised by Insurance Insider.

DOCOsoft are one of the event sponsors and we regard Insurance Insider as a company friend. So when the magazine’s editorial director Mark Geoghegan suggested an idea for a competition that would drive delegates to our claims management system showcase room, we listened.

“Rollpaluza mate” he pronounced, quite emphatically “is the way forward, it will be perfect for you guys.” Huh, Rollawhat, we thought? A quick Google search informed us, however, that Rollapaluza is an indoor cycle sport like no other. Participants battle it out on bikes over a sprint distance at speeds in excess of 50mph. Often accompanied by music, MC and cheering crowds.

It was a great idea, perfect for our market so we booked the bikes for 12pm on the day of the event, which was held on the 8th November. The bikes are fixed to rollers on the floor and hooked up to an automated system, which records participants’ times over a short 250 metre sprint.

The competition began with a couple of the DOCOsoft team trialling the system when they gingerly clambered onto the bikes, got their instructions and started peddling furiously in a mad dash to the finish. 17 and 23 seconds respectively were the opening times so frankly it seemed we were better off sticking to the claims software development day job! A 12 year old could probably have walked it quicker.

But our own Anthony Freeman soon showed us how it was done by recording what we thought would be the winning time when he raced into the lead with a 12 second sprint. No one’s going to beat that we thought, which would have been embarrassing, winning our very own competition. Bit by bit though, other delegates overcame their initial hesitations and the competition truly began in earnest.

Underwriters, claims adjusters, lawyers and our insurance media friends at Insider started to put themselves through their paces as the competition began to heat up. The times gradually started to come down as uber-fit insurance executives took it in turns to earn bragging rights on the day.

The Insurance Insider gang got in on the act with Mark Geoghegan, Benjamin Bracken, Olly Nevill and Rob Hughes taking their turns to win a Fitbit watch, which was the prize for the ultimate male and female winner. Then the steely-eyed Georgia Macnamara from the same publication kicked off her heels and showed she meant business by putting on her trainers to record a phenonemonally quick time of 13 seconds. That was to be the winning time in the women’s race.

The men’s competition was going to go down to the wire though. Edward Robinson from Atticus Associates and Jason Herriot from MS Amlin blasted through our very own Anthony Freeman’s time to our relief because a) it would have been embarrassing and b) we never would have heard the end of it in the office! He didn’t win top prize but he got top marks for consistency by recording two times that were exactly the same – 12.04 seconds.

Finally, the head to head between the two leading and ridiculously competitive male alphas that had made it their mission to win that Fitbit. As the event started to wind down, Edward and Jason strapped themselves into their pedals, put their heads down and started peddling. Very. Very. Fast.

So fast it seemed at one point that the bikes might uncouple themselves from the rollers beneath their wheels and fly off into the next room! Luckily they didn’t otherwise DOCOsoft might have been looking at a serious liability claim although to be fair, we would have been surrounded by the right people to handle it.

The winning margin was close with the crowd of watching delegates seeing that the fastest time had come down to 11.66 seconds, beating the second place time of 11.68 by a mere two hundredths of a second. Congratulations to Edward Robinson from Atticus Associates on winning first prize. A warm tribute to Jason Herriot from MS Amlin for coming in a gallant second place. Congratulations also to Georgia Macnamara from Insurance Insider on winning the women’s competition.

Finally, our thanks go to Mark Geoghegan for tipping us off about Rollapaluza and the rest of the Insurance Insider team for putting on a brilliant conference, bringing together so many excellent speakers and informative conference panellists. See you at London Market Conference 2019!