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OFF BEAT: London insurers offer fashionable umbrella coverage

December 17, 2013 - 9:31am

No savvy London market insurance worker leaves home in the morning without his or her trusty umbrella. And far from being just a necessary piece of equipment, umbrellas are a sought-after accessory for the fashion conscious, recent research has found.

Gracechurch Consulting in early December surveyed 150 underwriters and brokers in the London market to determine the winners of the “umbrella Oscars.”

The consultancy polled insurance workers to find out which company-branded umbrellas they owned and which they coveted.

Catlin Group Ltd.’s umbrella was the most commonly owned, with 39% of those surveyed owning one, while Amlin P.L.C.’s umbrella was owned by 12% of the sample.

One-quarter of those surveyed said they would choose a Catlin umbrella.

Respondents were asked which underwriters’ umbrellas they coveted. Ascot Underwriting Ltd.’s multicolored umbrella came out top with 20% saying they coveted one, followed by Hiscox Ltd.’s model with 9% and Ace Ltd. and Catlin’s umbrellas which both received 7% of the vote.

“Umbrellas metaphorically represent financial coverage and protection against the elements and so are synonymous with insurance,” said Ben Bolton, CEO of Gracechurch, in a statement.

“Wander around the rain-soaked streets of EC3 (the City of London’s insurance district) and you’ll be greeted by a mass of dapper suits topped by the obligatory branded umbrella,” said Mr. Bolton.

Respondents to the survey were very discerning, he noted, with many “strongly held opinions on quantity, size, color and even the shape of the handle.”

The study showed that “the perfect umbrella is any size that folds up small, any color other than black, sturdy and has a curved, comfortable handle,” he said.