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Busting Myths, New Experiences and Many Surprises – The #IMMERSE Winning Team Trip to London

Simon Walter 21.04.2016
This story starts back in October 2015 when five strangers got grouped together at #IMMERSE, Munich Re’s first annual case study competition for reinsurance. The five strangers were Claudia, Ming, Samuel, Tobias, and your dearest blogger-in-training Simon. They didn’t remain strangers for long but instead formed a team to solve the case on cyber risks and ultimately managed to gain the main prize: a team trip to London. The following is my attempt of giving you an idea of the great time we had in London!
The #Immerse Winner Team at a Sushi restaurant.
Ready for Sushi!

Day 1 or Getting Our Feet Wet

After our individual flights to London, the group met up at the Paternoster Chop House for lunch in the “First Dates” (a British TV dating show set in that same restaurant) edition.

The Munich #IMMERSE Winner Team in London

Now it was time for the main event of the day – a sightseeing speedboat ride on the river Thames! Does it get any better than a speedboat ride?! To look the part, we had to wear oversized rain coats. Looking quite fashionable, aren’t we?

Our boat (or “she”, as the clerk called it) was a brand-new 740 HP Rigid Inflatable Boat with a state of the art sound system. Imagine flying through the London waters with the James Bond theme blasting on maximum volume … (Other sound effects included Max screaming loudly and Philipp laughing hysterically). So yes, it does get better than “just” a regular speedboat ride!

After the ride everyone was a little cold and wet. It was time for a hot shower and some food to warm up from the inside. How about some fancy fish and chips? Add a panoramic view of London’s skyline and live jam music and you end up dining at the OXO tower! Lively conversations, wine and cocktails brought our night at the OXO to perfection.

Day 2 or Busting the “Insurance is Boring” Myth

The next day after breakfast, the group rejoined at Munich Re’s London headquarter. Ben from the local HR team gave an interesting presentation about the so called Square Mile, the 2.9 km² London city centre area, where 2% of the entire UK’s GDP is being produced.

Change of scenery: Just twice round the corner of the Munch Re London office, at the main entrance of Lloyd’s of London, we met our tour guide Peter, a man who had been working in this exact building for decades. Lloyd’s of London originated from a coffee house, a place for ship captains and insurers to meet for business. Today, Lloyd’s of London is not a firm, but a unique and world-renowned specialist insurance market, where business is still conducted face-to-face between brokers and underwriters. The hands of a pianist, the transportation of valuable goods or the precious legs of a famous soccer player: If you can think of a possible risk, you will find a matching underwriter at Lloyd’s of London.

Back at Munich Re, we met for an interactive Q&A session with Daljitt, the Head of Cyber at Munich Re – linking back to the topic of our #IMMERSE case that had earned us this trip.

The Munich Re #IMMERSE Winner Team at night in London

We spent the evening together with a group of graduate trainees from Munich Re’s London office, getting to know their work and experiences with Munich Re. We went from playing ping-pong in a bar to dinner in a restaurant and ended up on a little pub crawl.

Day 3 or “Quite Exquisite”

As if we hadn’t been spoiled already, we were out for quite a treat on the final day! After breakfast the group headed over to the London Eye where we got to enjoy the view from the world’s most famous big wheel. Afterwards, we stopped for lunch at Heron Tower where Sushisamba offered a blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine with a view. Philipp tried Sushi for the first time in his life, while I cowardly chose the excellent lamb chop. - Sorry, Japan!

After a free afternoon, we were in for one final surprise. Max and Philipp seemed quite excited about this one and rightfully so: We were to have “High Tea” at The Langham, Europe’s first Grand Hotel! Imagine the best tea you have (n)ever had, champagne and sandwiches, cones and sweets, that just kept coming and coming. It was delicious … and the best possible way to end our indescribable time in London!

Thank you, Munich Re! Thank you, Max! Thank you, Philipp!  It was a trip I will never forget – and I am quite certain that all of the other participants feel the same!