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Sir Nobby Johnson accused of "wilful blindness"

Sir Norbert "Nobby" Johnson is not fit to run a major international company, according to a cross-party parliamentary committee, citing incompetence, lack of credibility, and accusing the 81-year-old head of Mocha Re of ?wilful blindness'. Sir Norbert was also accused of misleading Parliament over the premium rate scandal. Mocha Re has faced accusations of trying to increase premiums and instigating a so-called "hard market". Sir Nobby has constantly denied any knowledge of attempts by underwriters to increase premium rates, stating that this sort of practice is not acceptable in the market.

A spokesperson for Mocha Re said: "The soft market has been with us for years, and we would never knowingly attempt to undermine the on-going suicidal rating levels. We're not the sort of company to go around raising prices willy-nilly. We believe that charging unsustainable rates is the way forward, as do our many competitors. We provide a service - we are not here to make money."

However, the spokesperson added that extensive investigations within the company had discovered a single ?rogue' underwriter who had been involved in hacking up rates. "This is not company policy, he acted alone and has been summarily dismissed for breaching the company's strict ?underwriting for market share' policy," he said.

It has been widely reported, however, that the culture of rate increasing was widespread at Mocha Re, and involved large numbers of underwriters. "This was not an isolated incident, it is a widespread move to try and create a hard market," said Ed Vertorial, Global Rebore's undercover reinsurance reporter. "I witnessed attempts to push through rate increases across the board, not just in catastrophe business."

Sir Nob has apologised for not dealing with the issue sooner, but said that he had acted decisively once he was aware of the situation. He sacked a number of underwriters and closed down the entire property-casualty catastrophe team. Sir Noblet's performance in front of the very cross committee has been criticised by many.

He repeatedly drank from a carafe of red wine, and was unable to remember any of the facts of the scandal, or indeed his name or who he worked for. "I'm afraid I have no idea what you are on about" he replied to a number of questions, before adding "Must be time for a spot of lunch. Groucho's anyone?"

He later claimed to have been kept in the dark by his staff. "They sent me off to Tuscany for a couple of months, which was awfully pleasant, Lady Johnson and I stayed with dear old ?Dumbo' Duddleston and his good lady wife. When I got back, it has all kicked orf! Buggered if I know what's been going on. We have worked very hard not to make an underwriting profit and have succeeded every year for the last 35 years."

He added, "Why anyone would want to go against history and tradition is beyond me. Our underwriting losses are legendary and we're bloody proud of our inability to price anything correctly. Our combined ratio for the last ten years of 647% is unmatched in the market."

Other news from May 2012
Travelating the Wave of Insurability
the serious stuff
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