(Under)Writer in Residence

Punk poet John Cooper Clarke releases new poetry series, inspired by insurance claims 

John Cooper Clarke tackles his most challenging role yet as '(Under)Writer in Residence' for insurance company Hiscox  

  • From thieving baboons and a pilfering poltergeist to a claim over a prize bull’s semen, Cooper Clarke shares five new poems1 inspired by extraordinary insurance claims 
  • New data commissioned by Hiscox reveals that almost one in four (23%) small business owners have made an insurance claim for something they could never have predicted  
  • To hear and see John Cooper Clarke (aka the bard of Salford) with his poetic take on the world of insurance, please visit: https://www.hiscox.co.uk/JCC

London, UK (21 March 2024):  In celebration of World Poetry Day today, the original punk poet John Cooper Clarke has released his most unexpected body of work yet; a series of poems inspired by unusual insurance claims. 

In a move that sees two very different writing worlds collide, the ‘bard of Salford’ has been appointed by Hiscox as its first ‘(Under)Writer in Residence’. In his new role, Cooper Clarke has composed five original poems, inspired by some of the most colourful claims handled by the insurer – from a wildlife photographer who had his equipment stolen by baboons to a thieving poltergeist and a farmer who claimed for the loss of his prize bull’s semen. 

The appointment of the wordsmith follows new data2 revealing that almost one in four (23%) small business owners have made claims for events or mishaps that they would never have expected. 

Commenting on his new role as Hiscox’s (Under)Writer in Residence, John Cooper Clarke said: “Just as nobody would have predicted that I’d end up in the insurance bracket, it turns out there’s not much that you can safely predict in running a small business. Insurance may seem like a mundane realm, but as the poems show, it’s a rich tapestry of human chaos, from tragedy to comedy and beyond.”  

Fiona Mayo, Chief Marketing Officer at Hiscox UK, added: “We're delighted to welcome John Cooper Clarke to the Hiscox family as our (Under)Writer in Residence. His passion for understanding people and their stories really resonates with us, and it's been fascinating to observe his creative take on our customer claims. His new poems are there to be enjoyed but are also a great reminder of how important it is to be ready for life's unexpected challenges. 

Are business owners ready for the unexpected? 

New data released by the insurer highlights that a quarter (26%) of small businesses don't have business insurance to help when things go wrong and amongst those that do, 23% have made a claim for something they could never have predicted would happen. 

Further statistics showed that in the continued tough economic climate, 40% of small business owners who do have insurance are thinking about making cuts to it and over a third (36%) felt a business should be generating more than £25,000 a year before getting cover. Despite being a legal requirement3 for most businesses that employ staff, 34% don’t think insurance is a necessary outlay until a business takes on a second employee.  

To hear and see John Cooper Clarke’s claims-inspired poems please visit https://www.hiscox.co.uk/JCC 




For interview requests, further information and imagery, please contact Romy Gardiner or James Richards at COW. Tel: 0207 234 9150 or email [email protected] 


Notes to editors  

  1. The (Under)Writer in Residence anthology 

The bull and the farmer  

A farmer whose prize bull suddenly dies 
Must say his goodbye to next year's prize  
The best in the biz  
They were selling his fizz 
Then everything went in the red 
It's spermatazoa  
Isn’t a goer  
Now the poor animal's dead  
But the farmer’s earnings  
May yet be returning  

The insurance paid up instead.  


The baboon and the photographer 

A wildlife snapper in the Kenyan greenery 
Figured baboons were just part of the scenery 
Until they swiped all the fella’s machinery 
Cheeky monkeys or what? 
Still Hiscox paid on the spot. 


Cat and cat 

They fought like cat and cat - who's that? 
This client’s two kittens in a spat  
A cup of coffee got spilt - evidence of their destructive guilt  
There disabled on the kitchen table  
His laptop sabotaged it can't be rebuilt  
Hiscox responded with admirable haste  
And instantly the machine replaced  
So put this on your blog 
It wouldn't have happened with a dog.  


Electric fence   

For a citizen in the countryside  
It could have been worse he might have died  
Most people would rather suspend their suspense  
Than put to the test an electric fence  
This one guy however had no common sense  
He sued the landowner who claimed recompense  
and was fortunately covered for just such events  
A nasty shock then a pleasant surprise  
for no one is, at all times, wise.  


Poltergeist and the jewellery   

A few years ago a jewellery heist 
was carried out by a poltergeist  
gone was the gelt and away went the ice  
Then the items returned  
Lessons were learned  
And the compo refunded all legal and nice. 

  1. The research was conducted by Censuswide with UK SME Owners between 28.02.24 to 06.03.24 
  2. Employers' Liability (EL) insurance is a legal requirement for most businesses as soon as they become an employer  

About John Cooper Clarke 

John Cooper Clarke, is an English performance poet, author and musician from Salford, Manchester. Often hailed as the “bard of Salford”, John rose to fame in the 1970s amidst the burgeoning punk rock scene.  

His distinctive poetry style combines rapid-fire delivery, razor-sharp wit, and a keen observation of urban life. His poetry often explores themes of urban decay, working-class life, and the absurdities of modern society, delivered with a blend of cynicism and dark humour.  

Over the years the Punk Poet has collaborated with various musicians and bands including the Arctic Monkeys, Joy Division and the Sex Pistols, and his influence extends far beyond the punk movement, inspiring generations of poets and performers with his approach to art and expression.  

John continues to be a prominent figure in British culture and regularly appears on television and radio. Just last month he released his third book, WHAT, a collection of new, enchanting poems. 


About The Hiscox Group 

Hiscox is a global specialist insurer, headquartered in Bermuda and listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:HSX). Our ambition is to be a respected specialist insurer with a diverse portfolio by product and geography. We believe that building balance between catastrophe-exposed business and less volatile local specialty business gives us opportunities for profitable growth throughout the insurance cycle. 

The Hiscox Group employs over 3,000 people in 14 countries, and has customers worldwide. Through the retail businesses in the UK, Europe, Asia and the USA, we offer a range of specialist insurance products in commercial and personal lines. Internationally traded, bigger ticket business and reinsurance is underwritten through Hiscox London Market and Hiscox Re & ILS. 

Our values define our business, with a focus on people, courage, ownership and integrity. We pride ourselves on being true to our word and our award-winning claims service is testament to that. For more information, visit www.hiscoxgroup.com. 

For more information, visit www.hiscoxgroup.com

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