When mega insurance group HIH sank in March 2001 posting losses of $5.3 billion, causing the biggest shake-up in the Australian insurance industry, and the largest corporate collapse in Australia, the business community literally came to a standstill.
Overnight, many insurances - professional indemnity and public liability - were priced out of reach. Medicos, child care centres, sports clubs - many had to close their doors as no alternative insurer would dare to fill the void.
Greed, backstabbing, obscene fees voted to directors in the dying days of the company and secret deals between mates has transpired into the most incomprehensible story of corporate mismanagement in Australia . . . and the only company shakeup that has ever required its own royal commission.
Mark Westfield, the journalist who broke the story, has exposed perhaps the most shocking example of corporate greed ever seen in this country.