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It’s 1975 in Chelsea. A swaggering youth walks into the clothing boutique SEX owned by Malcolm McLaren wearing a homemade t-shirt bearing the legend “I Hate Pink Floyd”, with eyes of the band members scratched out. McLaren, leaping on the promise before him, asks the youngster to audition for a band he’s forming – he asks him to sing ‘Eighteen’ by Alice Cooper. Impromptu audition passed, John Lydon – aka Johnny Rotten - is recruited into the band.

Yet the magical alchemy is not complete until McLaren decides to pair the musically competent Rotten with a certain John Simon Ritchie, who couldn’t play a note but undeniably has the attitude to front the band. It’s only when Ritchie, better known to the world as Sid Vicious, joins Rotten that the legend of ‘The Sex Pistols’ truly begins. A great partnership which for a brief and glorious moment in 1977 propelled punk to cultural centre stage with the single ‘God Save the Queen’, banned by the BBC and practically everyone else, but still reaching number 1. Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious who, together with legendary bassist Glen Matlock, define punk.

Rotten and Vicious, Astaire & Rogers, Lennon & McCartney… you can make your own list of great pairings that have defined a genre. What’s wonderful about such pairings is that indisputable as the greatness of each partner is, together they managed to fuse to produce an even greater magic.

In our corner of the world, however, it has taken some time for the benefits of working together to be properly appreciated. Insurers have historically been adept at working along product-driven lines, with a series of separate P&Ls driving the company.

Yet within a company, when it comes to learning lessons from each other, bringing efforts together and hunting as a pack we have been less successful. I’ll hold my hands up No One Is Innocent, we have all been guilty in the past but I think the industry is now much better attuned to the benefits of working across product lines.

Collaboration across lines could lead to the development of products that could really answer the risk needs of business with potentially more effective cover. After all, when a client is seeking cover for cyber liabilities and business interruption – why not take a holistic view? Or what about a real curve ball:  product liability and D&O? Businesses often have complex risk portfolios, understanding this means the most relevant products and solutions can be designed and the most relevant solution delivered. I am sure Rotten wasn’t anticipating being quoted by a guy commenting on insurance, but hey yes, “Don't accept the old order. Get rid of it.” Perhaps this is what innovation is all about.

This article was originally published in Post magazine on April 16, 2014

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Global Asset Protection Services, LLC, and its affiliates (“AXA XL Risk Consulting”) provides risk assessment reports and other loss prevention services, as requested. This document shall not be construed as indicating the existence or availability under any policy of coverage for any particular type of loss or damage. AXA XL Risk. We specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that compliance with any advice or recommendation in any publication will make a facility or operation safe or healthful, or put it in compliance with any standard, code, law, rule or regulation. Save where expressly agreed in writing, AXA XL Risk Consulting and its related and affiliated companies disclaim all liability for loss or damage suffered by any party arising out of or in connection with this publication, including indirect or consequential loss or damage, howsoever arising. Any party who chooses to rely in any way on the contents of this document does so at their own risk.

US- and Canada-Issued Insurance Policies

In the US, the AXA XL insurance companies are: AXA Insurance Company, Catlin Insurance Company, Inc., Greenwich Insurance Company, Indian Harbor Insurance Company, XL Insurance America, Inc., XL Specialty Insurance Company and T.H.E. Insurance Company. In Canada, coverages are underwritten by XL Specialty Insurance Company - Canadian Branch and AXA Insurance Company - Canadian branch. Coverages may also be underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003. Coverages underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003 are placed on behalf of the member of Syndicate #2003 by Catlin Canada Inc. Lloyd’s ratings are independent of AXA XL.
US domiciled insurance policies can be written by the following AXA XL surplus lines insurers: XL Catlin Insurance Company UK Limited, Syndicates managed by Catlin Underwriting Agencies Limited and Indian Harbor Insurance Company. Enquires from US residents should be directed to a local insurance agent or broker permitted to write business in the relevant state.