19 October 2023

Comment: Skinning Insurance Asset Risk's look

There is something romantic about print media, as if the essence of journalism is encapsulated in the purity of ink pressed on paper. And perhaps also because there is a feeling that 'print' is disappearing, leading to some nostalgia.

So even though our magazine has had a short life compared to some others, one could be inclined to be regretful, but one shouldn't be!

It is a cliché, but today, information, or 'content' can be disseminated in a wide range of ways, mostly empowered by advances in technology. For example, X (formerly Twitter) has served as a direct channel between journalists and their audience for over a decade.

But we've also seen some established, award-winning journalists leaving mainstream organisations to launch their own media platforms by taking advantage of that 'direct' access to their audience. These have taken the shape of podcasts, newsletters and even cartoons.

A new digital world offering a wealth of opportunities... but that is not entirely true. As with everything, history keeps reinventing itself. Decades ago, a Mozambican journalist, Carlos Cadoso, made the most of a gadget called the fax machine (remember those?), to create a newsletter.

News – as a commodity – wasn't born out of Johann Gutenberg's (and Johann Fust's) printing press, it was simply 'invented' – in Italy, of course, where else? – centuries before out of mail exchanges.

Merchants received news from across the world from their ships' captains through the mail. And in time, they sold these letters to other merchants. The price – an old Venetian coin called a Gazzetta – went on to lend its name to 'Gazzette', or newspaper.

Despite the romantism around print, news and journalism was never, and will never be, defined by the medium through which it is distributed.

For this reason, this 14th and last quarterly issue of Insurance Asset Risk, will quickly be 'water under the bridge'.

We will continue to print our annual and specialist reports, as well as our events guide, which will be revamped.

Without print magazines, our work will continue to flow in new or upgraded channels, reinviting its look but keeping the seriousness, objectivity and professionalism that underpins the content we deliver by aiming to inform, and entertain, our audience.

We peel off a skin, but the Insurance Asset Risk onion is still whole and firm.

Judging a book by its cover

Insurance Asset Risk 2023 Autumn issue can be downloaded in a PDF format here.

Don't judge a book by its cover the idiom says.... Whilst it's meaning holds true in the context of judging someone's appearance/look, when it comes to an actual book, why not?

Let's be honest, most of us do.

It's that first encounter, that first feeling that grabs our attention or doesn't. It's what makes us pick up a book in the first place, and sometimes it is the only thing that a book gives us. For the last 25 years, I've carried in my luggage Paul Nizan's Aden Arabie. The orange sand dunes contrasting with the blue sky on the cover and the first sentence – a literary masterpiece – is all I ever looked at. The rest was way too intellectual for me. Yet it is a faithful 'friend'.

All this is to say that covers do matter.

That's why at Insurance Asset Risk we've tried – within the remit of being an insurance trade publication – to be creative; instilling some humour, quirkiness or sometimes a sense of seriousness, into our covers.

We had some success along the way, and to celebrate our last issue as a quarterly magazine, some of the FieldGibson Media team have picked their favourite.

Mine is issue 7: Just because I had told Marc – our designer – can we have Cupid shooting an arrow at a 0%-heart shaped target, and he came back with the % sign as the arrow –nothing short of genius! Incidentally, Marc, without consultation – and perhaps tellingly – also picked Cupid!

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Issue 3

Megan: The simplicity of the image is highly effective at symbolising the global spread of the COVID-19 virus whilst conveying its impact on markets worldwide.

Peter: I have just recovered from a bad bout of COVID, and by coincidence (or not) I really like IAR's COVID cover.

Ronan: It viscerally reminds just how dark and distressing Spring 2020 was as COVID-19 swept the world. The cover reminds us COVID has not gone away and insurers must stay agile in a world that has become riskier.

Tony: COVID sent a chill through the world and the investment community and the image evokes that element of fear. The hangover from COVID still exists from an investment perspective.

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Issue 6

Josh G.: A good pun in a mag title is always appreciated.

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Issue 7

Marc: Issue 7 obviously! Who doesn't love Cupid!

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Issue 8

Simon: Issue 8 is my favourite – purely because I like the pop-art style and the strong colours used.

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Issue 10

Rob: I would pick Issue 10. Lincoln and COVID. It's a good juxtaposition of images, suggesting that history is really just a succession of crises that an investor playing the long game will have to manage.

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Issue 11

Sarfraz: Featuring the classic shot of the Brooklyn Bridge and echoing the film Once Upon a Time in America – a theme close to my heart.

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Issue 12

Chris: An arresting image playing on the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, which emphasises one of the strengths of Insurance Asset Risk – candid interviews with leading chief investment officers from all around the world.

Josh A.: I really like the look of this cover, plus how succinct the cover line is – tells you everything you need to know and makes a pun at the same time. Everything a magazine cover should be!

Rachel: How can I choose any other over Issue 12 – CIO's carved into Mount Rushmore – iconic!!

Izzi: Mount Rushmore. Of course!

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Issue 13

David: Issue 13 – Because it is creative, inventive, thoughtful and humorous / quirky.

Oli: Issue 13 – I really like that IAR manages to tackle an important but fairly dry subject whilst remaining light hearted via the use of clean imagery that is appealing to the eye.