People and Business: Help, I need an insurer

HELPHIRE, a company that provides practical and financial help to people involved in road accidents, is raising nearly pounds 9m for an acquisition, just six years after being formed - on a squash court.

Mark Jackson, a GP, met Michael Symons, a solicitor, while pounding around the squash court at Combe Grove Manor Hotel, near Bath, in 1992. The duo started off by providing car hire and repair services on credit to motorists involved in accidents which weren't their fault.

The company made its money from the car hire charges and the repair charges, which it recovered from the other drivers' insurers.

Now Helphire is raising pounds 8.9m through a placing and open offer in order to buy Countrywide Assistance, a motor insurer. Mr Symons, chief executive of Helphire, says the acquisition will give them a larger client base and a new income stream.

THE RIPPLES continue to spread from Germany's annexing of the British motor industry. Rolls-Royce, now under the wing of Volkswagen, has poached Doug Dickson, managing director of Rover Oxford - part, of course, of the BMW family - to be its new board member for manufacturing.

Rover assures us that Mr Dickson's defection will have no effect on production of the R75, the new retro model from Cowley on which so many of its hopes are pinned.

THE FOLLOWING story about one of Her Majesty the Queen's previous visits to the Bank of England may be apocryphal, but a senior banking source assures me it is true.

Observing yesterday's Royal tour of the City, which included the Queen and Prince Phillip being introduced to the Monetary Policy Committee in Threadneedle Street, the banker recalls a previous Royal visit. The powers that be in the Bank decided to install a Royal loo within the building, just in case, and one of the few female staffers was pushed into the loo to test it out. In the event it wasn't used, and passed into general use.

A Bank spokesman yesterday was unable to confirm or deny this charming story. It did, however, jolt his own memories of a press trip to the opening of a North Sea gas field some 20-odd years ago.

The Queen was there to open the field. "British Gas had constructed a Royal loo in a marquee within the main marquee - literally a throne," the Bank spokesman recalls.

The sight was "absolutely surreal", he says. They don't have this kind of fun in republics, do they ...

ADDRESSING THE much-depleted ranks of Barclays Capital's staff on Tuesday night, chief executive Bob Diamond told the Christmas party throng that experiencing the turmoil in global markets recently was like "the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan." Let's hope Barclays Capital makes it through the present strife safe and sound.

BRITISH AEROSPACE is taking the technology it used for the EuroFighter to design, build and test a series of revolutionary carbon-fibre "wing" masts for the UK's yachtsmen entering the next Olympics.

The Royal Yachting Association is delighted by a deal it has just clinched with BAe worth around a quarter of a million pounds which will provide masts for Richard Stenhouse, 32, and Iain Percy, 22, for their Sydney 2000 campaigns.

Mr Stenhouse came twelfth in the Atlanta Olympics two years ago. Mr Percy, who has just graduated from Bristol University in economics, is already ranked third in Europe and seventh in the world.

BAe is providing a Cray supercomputer and its military aircraft and operations faculty at Farnborough to help develop the new masts.

MARY LOU Carrington has left Liffe where she was business development director, to join the Prudential as new business development director of its corporate pensions division.

And Paribas has poached Guy Hart to its fixed income syndicate desk in London. Mr Hart will report to David Ovenden, global head of syndicate at Paribas.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea