Page 1

insurancepeople issue 41 March 2014

Martyn Holman See page 3 Insurance People inside include:

Phil Bayles Ian Bowen Reg Brown Jordan Gregg Jamie Marchant John O’Roarke Lizzie Smith-Foreman


in association with

insurancepeople

leader

www.insurancepeople.uk.com

Is insurance still trapped in its own past? Editor and Publisher

Consultant Editor

Andrew Newman

Brian Susman

T

hat query occurs several times this month at a time when providers are being urged to put the buyer at the heart of everything they do.

● ● ●

Production Director

Jeni Hall

Adrian Susman

Editorial

Andrew Newman FCII, Dip.M andrewnewman@talk21.com 01892 730539 Design & Production

Adrian Susman adrian@insurancepeople.uk.com 07981 993974 Commercial Director

Jeni Hall jeni@insurancepeople.uk.com 07969 510172

In this issue 2

Late news

3

Market talk

8

Broker service

Yet, generally speaking, insurance customers still cannot:●

Commercial Director

March 2014

make a claim without delay, or some form of ‘hassle’ manage their claim seamlessly online, or via their mobile correspond with their insurance provider by social media or find themselves paying for inefficiency in the supply chain

Is “the wacky world of insurance still content to live in the past?” asks Jamie Marchant in his digital media article on page 13. “Can insurers reorganise themselves to accrue the benefits from providing a better customer service?” queries Ian Bowen on page 11.

Phil Bayles, Aviva

10

John O’Roarke, LV=

11

“Will insurers take note of the shift in public sentiment and adjust their product portfolios accordingly?”, asks Ian Bowen, this time on page 7. Moves in these directions are already taking place – but how long will they take?

Fighting fraud

Motor at the crossroads Ian Bowen, Innovation Group

12

Reg Brown’s Postcard Emporium “Please show this to Mother”

www.insurancepeople.uk.com

13

Printers

Pensord Magazines & Periodicals Tram Road, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood NP12 2YA

Jamie Marchant says insurance must get a move-on

insurancepeople PO Box 537 Tonbridge Kent TN12 9WG t 01562 862990 m 07981 993974 e adrian@insurancepeople.uk.com Also find us on:

14

Ones that got away GH Gibbs - a Victorian insurance man

8

Phil Bayles believes client needs come first

10

John O’Roarke faces up to the curse of staged claims

15

Marketing Lizzie Smith-Foreman, Markerstudy Group

15

News

26

On the move

ISSN 2043-9202 Insurance People is published monthly by Buttermere Wedge Publishing Limited. While every attempt has been made to ensure that the information contained within this publication is accurate, the publisher accepts no liability for information published in error, or for views expressed. All rights for Insurance People magazine are reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited.

Into the digital age

Who’s going where?

28

11

Ian Bowen reckons the future is (nearly) here

15

Lizzie Smith-Foreman declares ‘marketing’ is for everyone

On the Road “I like your new car”

MARCH 2014 insurancepeople 1


insurancepeople

Late News

in association with

LMA to launch claims study of Lloyd's market T he Lloyd's Market Association is to pilot a review of the quality of claims management in the Lloyd's market, the first time such a review has been undertaken. The qualitative claims review will use independent expert third party providers to audit claims files and review the available software to find common standards of report writing.

With a pilot project in 2014, the full audit will take place in 2015, run in close collaboration with the Corporation of Lloyd’s. Gary Bass, LMA claims consultant, says, “Over the last decade we’ve gone from a paper-orientated claims environment to one built around good technology, the Electronic Claims Files, claims data warehouse and a whole

new spectrum of management information. These new capabilities for data and analysis are very exciting. We’re very close to where we need to be to provide a world class service across the board; our aim is for continuous improvement. “We’ve been able to improve the whole area of claims in terms of time, data and process and that has

predominantly been a shift of culture and standards. Now is the time to take a much closer look at a client centric claims service. “We want to make the claims experience at Lloyd’s as client focused as possible. Now we’ve reached a stage at which we have the tools and there is a strong commonality of interest in the claims community.”

Winter “washout” warning from Sportscover

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portscover Europe points out that the winter rain and waterlogged pitches have resulted in football league games being postponed while, at semi-pro and amateur level, where every penny counts, treasurers and financial controllers are counting the costs. It also draws attention to potential problems faced by the likes of horse-racing,

worth £3 billion to the UK economy every year. Paul Thomas of Sportscover Europe says, "While we all know that the show must go on, with the best will in the world, it can't if a venue is 5ft under water, which is where event cancellation insurance kicks in. Event cancellation insurance and nonappearance insurance cover

provides financial protection in the event of cancellation due to circumstances beyond your control or nonappearance of pre-booked entertainers that are essential to the event proceeding. “At Sportscover, we have a dedicated team, from both an underwriting and claims perspective, that understands the challenges

currently being faced by sports club owners, treasurers, administrators and volunteers during this difficult time. We work – hand in hand with our insurance broker partners – to provide insurance solutions that ensure the thousands of clubs in operation today can continue to enjoy insurance protection when they perhaps need it most.” with

RSA may cancel dividend

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ational newspaper reports suggest that RSA Group is to axe its dividend for 2013, as it aims to counteract problems at its Irish business and the costs of this winter's floods. The suggestion is also that RSA will also announce the raising of between £300m and £400m of capital. The measures are expected to be announced by the new RSA chief executive, Stephen Hester, who took over as CEO on February 4th. * * * * A statement from RSA Group on February 23rd noted “ … the recent press speculation regarding a potential rights issue” and went on to say: “RSA is considering measures to strengthen its balance sheet including raising capital by way of a rights Issue, however no final decision has been made by the company at this time. “Further details will be given when appropriate.” 2 insurancepeople MARCH 2014

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supreme example of the “Computer says ‘No!” mentality followed by some UK insurers as soon as they hear the word ‘flood’ was cited on 24 February in the letters page of the Daily Telegraph. Enquiring for home cover in Dartmouth, Devon and living near the top of a rise known locally as Cardiac Hill, the letter writer reports that she received the “Computer says ‘No!” brush-off. The culprit was allegedly Esure.


market talk

in association with:

Andrew Newman

Holman joins Markerstudy I

t was in November 2013 that Markerstudy Group announced it had “snapped up” Martyn Holman who was to join as group commercial director early in January after a break in Australia. The new role sees him taking responsibility for identifying and developing new opportunities throughout the group, and strengthening existing relationships. It was these existing relationships

that I was particularly interested in talking about when we met recently in Tunbridge Wells. The one in question was the BDML organisation, which I’d noted as having lost its way somewhat during its period of ownership by Capita (my opinion, not Martyn’s). And yes, the ‘BDML hat’ will be one he will be seen wearing this year, and it’s going to be interesting to see how things pan out.

Martyn Holman Martyn’s overall career spans 35 years, taking him into underwriting, broking, sales, and management. It was my pleasure to know him in the days when he worked at Bishopsgate (which later became Fortis, and then Ageas). Before that he had worked at Cornhill. On leaving Bishopsgate he headed into Lloyd’s with Brockbank/Zenith as head of agency and sales. In 2000 he joined Marsh to direct the SME and bancassurance business, following which he set up Southampton-based CVD Commercial Insurance, which was re-branded as One Business Insurance, part of Group Direct which subsequently became Brightside Plc. During his 12 years at Brightside, he organised the retail insurance broking arm of the business, and became CEO in 2012.

New DAS sponsorship

DAS CEO Paul Asplin with BAWFC players Natasha Harding and Corinne Yorsten

L

egal expenses insurer DAS has always been active in local sport and community involvement around its hometown of Bristol, and this year sees UK Group CEO Paul Asplin stepping up to support the Bristol Academy Women’s Football Club – The Vixens – by becoming the club’s main sponsor for the 2014-2015 season. “Although we employ over 700 staff nationally, the majority of our people are based in Bristol, so being involved in our local community is extremely important to us,” says Paul. “It’s our pleasure to sponsor the Vixens and connect our brand to theirs and the rising popularity of women’s football.” The announcement follows the appointment of Dave Edmondson as the club’s new head coach, and the ability for the club to appoint a full time manager is made possible by the DAS sponsorship. Edmondson was appointed following the departure of Mark Sampson, who took up the role as England Women’s National Team Manager in December. Last year the club had the most successful season in its history, finishing runners up in the FA Cup Final against Arsenal and capping a superb league campaign by finishing second in the 2013 Women’s Super League. The £50k one-year deal is reported to be the largest financial shirt sponsorship for an independent club in the women’s game.

BT Corner

W

hat’s the difference between say, the DAS sports sponsorship featured above, and that of BT, attempting to sweep all before it with its charge into TV sports? The answer? DAS back their investment up with first-rate communication with their customers, where you can expect to get through first time and NOT be thrown out by recorded message loops. MARCH 2014 insurancepeople 3


market talk

‘New Way of Working’ at Commercial Express “Our business is understanding yours”

Commercial Express brings the human touch O

ne of the most problematic tasks in insurance provision these days has to be how to bring the human touch to an existing automated, yet highly efficient online system. A firm that recently embarked on this task is managing general agency Commercial Express, where an important part of its ‘New Way of Working’ programme is to bring the human approach and a flexible underwriting style, and meld that with the existing streamlined online system. I spoke with underwriting manager Jordan Gregg about how they are achieving this.

The vision for the business is to become the leading MGA in our market – specialist commercial schemes. Commercial Express needs to continually evolve and grow in order to enhance both our product offering and our service levels. In the past we have been very much focused on delivering an instant insurance solution and we are very proud of the efficiency of our systems and the speed at which we can provide both quotations and cover. Whilst we continue to deliver an excellent online service for those low premiums where speed is of the essence, we now look to ensure a more human approach and a more flexible underwriting style, in addition to our streamlined online system. We have recently employed a number of highly experienced underwriters and are in the process of recruiting a further two, and this expansion of the underwriting team means that we can take more time considering the larger or more complex cases. By utilising other tools available to us we can then deliver a more competitive package on these cases. Over the past few months we have also been working hard with our insurers to agree increased authority and greater

Jordan Gregg’s insurance career began in 2000 at insurance broker Footman James as an office junior in the private car sales team. He progressed to the sales staff, and joined Commercial Express in 2002. He was responsible for all SME package quotes, property owners renewals, and the checking of cover forms (at that time received by fax). He enjoyed various underwriting and IT roles before taking up the underwriting manager role in September 2012 and installing the ‘New Way of Working’ initiative at the beginning of 2014. underwriting flexibility. This means that we will be able to offer favourable terms beyond the system price, for the right type of risk. Where the premium and risk warrant it, we will apply a bespoke approach to individual cases. Our aim is to attract and retain good quality business. My vision is to set a new benchmark for service, to become an approachable insurance partner, who cares about the service it provides. To sum up, we are digital first, but with human support – we are here when we’re needed. This is certainly an exciting time for the Commercial Express underwriting team.

Expansion at Humberside broker A regret following all my former years on the road is never having been able to penetrate certain areas of Britain. North Lincolnshire came to mind during a recent chat with Chris Harper, managing director of Scunthorpebased Johnstone Insurance Brokers. “Our business is understanding yours” is a good motto for a firm describing itself as Scunthorpe’s only locally owned and independent insurance broker. One of the firm’s specialities is the insurance of jet skis. The business received a fillip last June when Santander

4 insurancepeople MARCH 2014

Corporate & Commercial backed the scheme with the help of the government’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee. The injection of capital has allowed for the expansion of staff and the creation of some new roles. The firm was originally established as a sole trader by Roger Johnstone in 1983 and today the business is owned and operated by Chris Harper and two other directors Mark Broome and Mike Williams who lead a team of 14 people, many of whom have been with the business for over 20 years.


in association with:

Cornhill ‘magic’ may still work – but where does it go?

Cornhill brand remembered R

eaders will find the Editor has hogged page 28 this month for a blatant personalised version of On the Road, featuring memories of Cornhill Insurance when it was still under UK ownership*. With the 32 Cornhill saga on page 28 already in the can, I found myself wondering whatever did happen to Cornhill’s venerable London office with its splendidly carved, double wooden doors depicting mediaeval and other historical scenes? And since that query surfaced as I was heading down Birchin Street

Talk about stability. The Cornhill CEO was Ray Treen who started in the post room and worked his way up to the top. That’s what CEOs did in that era. Things were very consistent. Management was all about continuity and longevity. Compare that concept with today’s not entirely unknown ‘here today, gone tomorrow’, carpetbagging itinerant get-rich-quick mercenary!

in the City, it took but a moment to alter course for Cornhill to go and find out. From a distance, I could see the Cornhill Insurance wrought iron sign, but was the property itself now a wine bar? No it wasn’t. The original doors were still intact, and open, as was the

I left Cornhill just as the cricket sponsorship had been announced, and it may have surprised everyone at the time that it would last for a staggering 22 years. The thing about such sponsorships (as I found out for myself later) is that it’s very difficult to stop them once underway and ‘in the culture’. But when launched, Cornhill’s cricket sponsorship wasn’t welcome everywhere. There were two hostile groups – Cornhill staff and Cornhill brokers. Both were of the opinion that the money Cornhill was to spend would be better served through higher salaries and more commission.

more modern internal glass entrance. And there in the narrow hallway was another piece of Cornhill ironwork displaying the blue and yellow colours of the cornsheafs-on-a-hill badge, even though the property is now let out as offices. So the intangible magic

of the Cornhill brand is still evident. An ad hoc survey over the next few days among non-insurance friends and acquaintances revealed the memories are also tangible. The Cornhill name associated with Test Cricket is still very strong. So, going back to the memorabilia still existent at number 32 Cornhill, it seems any multi-coloured wizardly vapours – invisible to the mortal eye – are still working their magic in the name of customer awareness after all this time. But alas with nowhere to go. What a waste.

policies have Cornhill sold as a direct result of this ridiculous outlay?”. He quickly put the hostile questioner in his place with, “This project and this presentation is about name awareness. It has nothing to do with sales.” Which I thought was rather neat, having worn my own marketing hat for some years and been frustrated with the banality of the lobby that still believed marketing was just a fancy name for selling. The Editor

In fact, Cornhill had just previously offered its staff the choice to become unionised (I recall it was called ASTMS) and that faction took up industrial action at the early Test matches in protest. Which was unfortunate for the successor on my old Cornhill sales patch since his first attendance was not inside the ground, but on the picket line. Not the best way to play host to your broker guests! The broker hostility to the Test Match sponsorship usually manifested itself at annual conference time. About two years into the sponsorship the Cornhill presenter highlighting the tremendous rise in name awareness was asked, “Yes, yes. But how many extra

The Cornhill Insurance Test Series Tie from 1994

MARCH 2014 insurancepeople 5


market talk

Brian Susman Celebs Cricket

17 Years of Cricket played “seriously for fun” Brian Susman writes: ver the years, readers have become used to the fact that, not only is this a highly respected insurance magazine, but it is not averse to the odd bit of cricket reportage.* That's down to the fact that I have strong and longstanding connections with two cricket teams – the Bedouins, of which I am chairman, and the Celebs, of which I am president. That's about to change. The Bedouins go on, but the Celebs team is coming to an end. After 17 enormously enjoyable years, the curtain comes down with a final celebratory dinner at the beginning of April. Why close it down now? The answer lies in my semiretired existence and the fact that insurance people lead such busy lives these days that the really vital things, like the odd game of cricket, tend to take a back seat. It all began, as I recall, at a private City lunch in early 1996. Independent Insurance were being their customary

O

* Editor’s note: IP does indeed receive occasional complaints to the effect that there is not enough cricket within these pages. But this usually emanates from a minority, if highly respected, voices, so it is possible for the Editor to sleep at night when including some insurance items. 6 insurancepeople MARCH 2014

hospitable selves, and I, as the then Editor of another insurance magazine, was enjoying the benefits of it. When the conversation turned to the all-important issue of cricket – my hosts were as much cricket nuts as I was – Mike Bright (yes, that Mike Bright) challenged me to take a cricket team down to Kent for a match against his company – a challenge which I was only too keen to accept. Having thrown down the gauntlet, Mike Bright then left it to fellow lunchtime diner, Andy Hawkes (yes, that Andy Hawkes) to pick it up and make all the arrangements. He went off to do just that, using his not inconsiderable talents as Independent's marketing and publicity man to put together a competitive team from within the company's ranks, for a 40over match on a Friday in late June that year, at Four Elms

Neil Hames and Dave Haynes open the batting at Trent Bridge, June 2003

CC, near Edenbridge in Kent. And that left me to trawl through my contacts, to come up with a team, comprising current cricketers, excricketers, and people who were simply good to have around (I leave it to them to decide who fits into which category). They assembled, under the title of the Brian

The inaugural Celebs XI v Independent at Four Elms CC, Edenbridge, June 1996. Back row, left to right: Adrian Susman, Damian Myles, Dave Haynes, Lloyd Hanks, Malcolm Evans, Jacquie Boast (umpire), Jon Hurley, Nick Pound. Front row, left to right: Andy Laing, John Warner, Brian Susman, Paul Dodds, John Davidson

Susman Insurance Invitation XI, at the compact but attractive Four Elms ground for the inaugural match on June 28, 1996. That first game resulted in a defeat for the Celebs – as we very soon decided to rechristen ourselves – and set the pattern for years to come. We enjoyed ourselves. We never gave less than 100% in our desire to win, but our final playing record works out at – played 42, won 14, lost 28. Throughout, we have received magnificent hospitality. Equally, we have established many good friendships and, just as importantly, been the conduit for new business relationships that have resulted in business being done; plus we have been instrumental in giving the odd career a bit of a push. Next month, the Editor being willing, I'll bring the curtain down on 17 years of “cricket played seriously for fun” with some personal highlights.


in association with:

“Should non-fault claims be used to generate profits?” “Will insurers take note of a shift in public opinion?”

LMA responds to motor investigation T

he Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA) recently responded to the latest consultation from the Competition Commission investigating potential remedies to the insurance problems facing UK motorists. The consultation especially involved the eight Lloyd’s syndicates currently writing UK motor. LMA’s underwriting manager David Powell says two of the proposed solutions have provoked the most discussion. “The first remedy proposes introducing compulsory 1st party cover for replacement vehicles, so that both sides pay for their own replacement cars following an accident, regardless of fault. “This could be complex to introduce, but would remove a layer of middlemen as customers would get hire cars from their own insurers.

It would not, however, tackle the problems with inflated repair bills as non-fault insurers could still manage repairs, and inflate the cost for other insurers. “The main alternative remedy is for claims to be referred directly to the atfault insurer. This would be easier to introduce, and would solve the primary problem of non-fault insurers and other intermediaries manipulating costs. The main disadvantage is that this remedy risks leaving the customer in a worse position if they require immediate assistance - they could end up waiting for help whilst the at-fault insurer is identified.” The LMA states this is a complex situation with no single straightforward solution. “The primary problem is the issue of the split between liability for costs and the control over those costs,” says David.

LMA main recommendations ●

Further detailed discussion with insurers is necessary to produce a workable set of proposals

However the CC chooses to proceed, a very broad prohibition of referral fees is necessary to remove a clear incentive for unnecessary cost inflation

Given the urgent need for reform, the CC should consider which changes could be introduced in the short-term, perhaps by industry agreements or enforcement orders rather than changes to the law

“Where policyholders contact their own insurer following an accident that was not their fault, their insurer will often manage the claim themselves, and then recover the cost from the insurer of the at-fault driver. Some non-fault insurers have exploited this opportunity to generate inflated bills for repair and hire cars, which the at-fault insurer is then obliged to pay.

“A fundamental question for motor insurers (and regulators) to consider is whether or not non-fault claims should be used to generate profits, or inflict inflated costs on competitors.” The Competition Commission is expected to publish a response to feedback in June 2014 with final recommendations due on 27 September 2014.

New motor report from Innovation Group T he launch of Innovation Group’s The Future Now Report took place in London on 20 February. This examination of the UK motor market looked at the trends that will shape this sector over the next decade. Ian Bowen, director at Innovation Group, believes this research provides a stark reminder to the motor insurance industry that consumers are increasingly looking for more flexibility and more choice from their

policy provider. “It seems certain now that flexible, pay-as-you-drive policies, along with technology such as telematics, will play a pivotal role in the future of the UK motor industry,” says Ian. “The question now is: will insurers take note of this shift in public sentiment and adjust their product portfolio accordingly?” The research reveals that while three quarters of Britain’s drivers are receptive to the idea of insurers monitoring their

driving via telematics in exchange for lower premiums, they have yet to become convinced about the much-heralded robot or driverless cars. “This response to driverless cars is particularly interesting,” says Ian. “Most of the major manufacturers now have an autonomous programme of some sort. With companies like Google getting in on the act it seems certain that it’s a case of when, not if, these vehicles will appear on our

roads. However, as our survey shows, these organisations have a massive job on their hands to convince consumers of the viability of their product. If they can successfully turn the public sentiment around, driverless cars will undoubtedly go on to become the single greatest change to the motor industry in a century.” Ian Bowen’s article about these developments appears on page 11 in this edition of IP MARCH 2014 insurancepeople 7


commercial business

Phil Bayles INTERMEDIARY AND PARTNERSHIPS DIRECTOR AVIVA

Relationships and communication – the key to success Today’s insurers are encouraged to strive to put client needs at the heart of everything they do. IP asked Phil Bayles about the steps Aviva has taken in that direction

I

t’s often said that the world of commercial insurance is dependent on the strength of the relationship between insurer, broker and their client, and it’s certainly something I believe to be true. It is precisely why, when we set about transforming our business, we focused on putting brokers and their clients at the heart of everything we do. We looked to create a more modern structure that goes beyond bricks and mortar, ensuring we can support and communicate with our brokers every possible way – face-to-face, in our branches, over the phone, and online.

that “goesA structure beyond bricks and mortar ” For example, we already knew that having underwriters in brokers’ offices worked. For more than 25 years we’ve successfully 8 insurancepeople MARCH 2014

provided ‘on the spot’ underwriting decisions to our brokers in the form of Broker ONsite Underwriting Solutions (BONUS).

W

e decided to build on this success and create a model that was in keeping with today’s increasingly mobile world, where underwriters no longer have to be tied to their desks. So last year, as well as increasing the number of Bonus underwriters by around 50 to cover over 260 broker sites, within this expansion we created the ‘roving’ underwriter, able to support not just one, but several brokers in their area, giving brokers the sort of immediate, face-to-face access they want from us. A testament to the success of Bonus is that no sooner had we announced our plans than we were inundated with brokers each wanting to have one of our underwriters in their office! And the changes we made aren’t just about putting the right people in the right place, but

about having the right solutions too. Which is why Aviva Premier was created, offering a more personalised range of services for the mid-market, including industry segment wording, expert risk management advice, and a bespoke claims service.

On-the-spot “underwriting for brokers ” We believe that a deeper understanding of our individual broker and client needs and ambitions means we are in a better position to offer the right suite of tools to support them. And that includes making use of increasing developments in technology. We want to be at the forefront of the commercial online market, and see this as a definite enabler in our relationship with brokers and their clients. As a result we created our online portal, Marketplace, for


A model in keeping with today’s mobile world

“ those harder to place risks in niche and specialist markets. We enhanced the functionality for our 15,000 users on our electronic trading platform, Fast Trade, which we’re proud to say is recognised as the industry leader for commercial online trading. When brokers told us they wanted tools to trade remotely, we created the next generation of e-trading with our App for Fast Trade, so that business can be written at clients’ premises, as well as Web Chat which is available when brokers need our advice.

T

he moment of truth for all insurance customers is when they need to make a claim. It’s the proof point to purchasing insurance in the first place, and

this winter has certainly given us plenty of opportunity to demonstrate that, with much of the country struggling with some of the wettest weather on record.

A chance “to shine! ” For Aviva this is a chance to shine and show the quality of the claims service in action. In January commercial property weather-related claims were roughly 50% more than a typical month, and I am pleased to say we have been overwhelmed by the

positive feedback from brokers on the way we are supporting their customers who have been affected by the storms and floods. In fact, Jelf claims director, Mark Green told us he was delighted with our professional claims service and said we were “head and shoulders above the competition”. That’s exactly the sort of feedback that makes me proud of what we have accomplished so far, and shows we are delivering on our promises and fully supporting our broker relationships. We know we are on the right road and we’ll strive to live up to our aspiration of being ‘Number 1’ for our broker partners.

No.1 in the handling and disposing of motor vehicles The handling and disposing of motor vehicle salvage is a constant drain on financial and administrative resources. HBC reduce this by providing an unrivalled service. We are prompt, efficient and fully in accordance with current industry guidelines and environmental legislation. We also require only minimum administration to collect and dispose of your vehicle salvage. With continued investment and systems development we are able to set the standards that others struggle to achieve. We are the safest hands in salvage. HBC Vehicle Services, HBC House, Charfleets Road, Canvey Island, Essex SS8 0PQ

www.hbc.co.uk 01268 696444 Fax: 01268 510087 Email: info@hbc.co.uk BRITISH VEHICLE SALVAGE FEDERATION

MARCH 2014 insurancepeople 9


fraud

John O’Roarke MANAGING DIRECTOR OF LV= GENERAL INSURANCE

Taking a hard line on fraud

Staged accidents E

very year there are tens of thousands of staged accidents – all of them putting the safety of innocent motorists at risk. Fraud is not a victim-less crime and the cost of paying fraudulent claims drives up the cost of car insurance for all. It’s estimated that over 300,000 car accidents were deliberately staged for fraudulent financial gain in the past five years involving thousands of innocent motorists. That’s over 1,000 a week. Over 30,000 people have been a victim of a ‘slam-on’ scam in the past year where the fraudulent driver in front slams on their brakes for no apparent reason causing them to crash. One in 30 drivers believe they were involved in a ‘flash for cash’ scam in 2013, where the fraudster flashes their headlights as a signal for the innocent motorist to pull out, and then deliberately crashes into them. Another fraudster tactic is the fullcar smash where an induced accident involving a car-load of passengers make multiple claims for personal injuries, which often far outweigh the cost of repairing the vehicles involved.

H

ow do I know all this? The data has been painstakingly gathered by LV=’s claims crime prevention team. That team’s role is to investigate suspicious claims to make sure that fraudsters are brought to justice and do not profit from their crime. Each of the scenarios mentioned above usually results in a ‘your word against mine’ situation, making it extremely difficult to allocate blame. Fraudsters select targets who they believe are less 10 insurancepeople MARCH 2014

likely to make a fuss, often female drivers and the under-35s. In addition to the staged accidents, we shouldn’t overlook the marked increase in fraudsters inflating the circumstances of an accident to obtain a higher payout. Exaggeration or even inventing an injury are the problems here. And attempts to claim for vehicle damage that is unrelated to an accident has been an aspect of insurance fraud for many years. In our research, one in three drivers who had been involved in an accident in the past two years say

the other party tried to claim compensation for injuries to passengers who weren’t in the vehicle at the time, or say the other party exaggerated the circumstances of the accident in order to inflate their claim. It’s clear that the insurance industry must take a hard line on fraud, and take on the duty to investigate all suspicious claims, and push for the toughest sentences for those who are prosecuted – not just today, but as an ongoing exercise. Because fraud is never going to go away.

Case study notes Attempted frauds picked up by the LV= claims crime prevention team ●

Claimant reported minor damage accident with another driver carrying three passengers. Third party provided photos of extensive damage to his car, clearly inflicted post-accident. Also three unlikely personal injury claims. The team concluded this was an ‘induced’ accident for financial gain. The claims were formally rejected in writing and the third party subsequently withdrew them.

A road rage fraudster caught red-faced. LV= customer was returning home to find a vehicle blocking the entrance to his road. He sounded the horn to alert the other driver, who got out of his vehicle and assaulted the insured, whose foot slipped off the brake pedal and accidentally drove into the back of the vehicle. The third party claimed for a whiplash injury even though he was not in his vehicle at the time of impact! The fraud team challenged the claim and the driver was convicted for fraud by misrepresentation.

A cash-for-crash scammer slammed on his brakes in front of a van belonging to a CCTV installer who had a video camera in his rearview mirror. He did not realise he was caught on camera driving alone, and his claim for passenger injuries was rejected.


motor

Ian Bowen SALES DIRECTOR INNOVATION GROUP

Motor’s future is now here!

Motor at the Crossroads Innovation Group’s The Future Now Report released on 20th February highlights the plight of UK motor insurance – a potential bright future pinned down by tired legacies, and uncertainty as to how to adapt to the new horizons dictated by the promise of wonderful new technology and the enhanced power of the consumer. Ian Bowen sets the scene

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uring its 115-year history the UK motor insurance industry has never faced such an unparalleled period of change. Gender directive legislation; a first-ever Competition Commission investigation; the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO); evolving vehicle technology (telematics); and perhaps the most significant of all –the changing pattern of consumer buying habits.

The customer really is now king There’s always been a saying that the “customer is king”, but the insurance industry has traditionally added the modifier, “as long as you do it our way”. The problem is that most of the current processes were not designed around the customer, but built around the supply chain. But today, the balance of power has shifted. Treating the customer like a commodity simply won’t cut it anymore because consumers now have powerful options as to how they want to choose and buy their cover. And the danger is that many insurers who are finding adaptation difficult will be left behind tomorrow. The insurance industry needs to be part of the customer journey, not outside it. And needs to put the customer firmly back into the middle. While price appears to drive everything, in the long run it all comes down to the customer experience. Nothing can make or break a business faster and more dramatically than the opinions of its customers. Yet

at least half of insurers today are still living (and suffering) with legacy decisions. While motor insurance remains a price-led decision making process, fundamentally better customer service will drive lower costs. Motor insurers’ problem is in getting themselves organised to accrue that benefit. Catherine Barton, partner and insurance specialist at professional services firm EY agrees: “The consumer is king today – they’ve never been more prominent, more powerful, or more pertinent than they are now. They have the freedom and platform to air their views about any product or service as they wish, and there’s very little that insurers can do about it.” So, with the balance of power shifting towards the customer, insurers are coming under increasing pressure to discard old legacy processes and transform themselves into listeners rather than dictators. Let’s look at some of the options:The annual contract - Our research shows that almost half of consumers desire a flexible motor insurance policy, but the industry is still rooted in the annualised product. Social media - Social media is no longer a ‘new thing’. It’s established and embedded into everyday life. The mobile effect - As Stephen Sanders, finance director at Confused.com, says, “There’s a definite trend towards mobile and tablet communication that cannot be

ignored. We’re also seeing more users interacting via email on mobile devices as well, showing that consumers are already getting comfortable with the idea of purchasing policies and interacting while on the move.” Telematics - It’s particularly here that innovations are opening up a new frontier for insurers. An era of data, in enormous volume for each consumer. All insurers have to do is capture it, store it, and (here’s the tricky part) analyse the data and apply it speedily, all within the strict framework of privacy and transparency. It’s unfortunate that there is currently a disconnect between manufacturers, insurers, and consumers, with different understandings of what telematics technology actually does. Insurers don’t want to track people’s movements, they want to bring down the cost of car insurance. The result is a need for a major education campaign to bridge this understanding gap, otherwise telematics could face a troubled future.

Conclusion The overall conclusion reached in the Report is that the future is one characterised by more data, and more information. As soon as you start bringing social media and the other strides in technology into the equation, things start looking very interesting for motor insurers over the next few years. MARCH 2014 insurancepeople 11


The Men from... the Pru “Please give this to mother”

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n undated card from the Reg Brown collection, with the simple message, “Please give this to mother”. And it helpfully tells us that these are the men from the Prudential Assurance office in Frome, Somerset. Under the magnifying glass, the windows reveal certain words like Life, Fire, Accident & Burglary, Employers Liability, Motor & General Liability. And while the word ‘Prudential’ cannot be seen anywhere completely, enough of the letters can be identified behind the group. The 17-strong staff (surely there must have been some women working there?) have brought two office chairs and a bench out onto the pavement. One of them has presumably asked one of his siblings to pass on the photo.

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postcard photo like this one above offers plenty of scope for adventures with Google, and on this occasion the target homes in on Catherine Street, Frome. The road incline helps, and the reflections in the Pru’s windows of the buildings opposite confirms this is a narrow street. But today there’s plenty of new frontages in that street, so the exact location is somewhat uncertain. Also a piece of social history revolution in the variety of the men’s collars and neckwear, with at least two characters in the seated row displaying a pressed crease in the front of their trousers, a fashion allegedly created by Queen Victoria’s son Edward, the Prince of Wales.

The Men from... the Pearl

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nlike many of the Edwardian postcards in the Reg Brown collection, this one discourages any real sleuthing attempts. The reverse is blank, and there’s no date. The ‘Pearl OO Division Official Staff’ nomenclature is unfamiliar, but the use of the word ‘official’ as a status factor would have applied in this era. (In fact, even in the 1960s it was still usual for insurance people of a certain age to describe their occupation on their passport as ‘Insurance Official’!). Having been founded in 1857 as The Pearl Loan Company, the name Pearl Assurance didn’t appear until 1914, by which time – who knows? – many of the younger faces in the group would have found themselves carrying a rifle. The preponderance of Welsh names in the caption 12 insurancepeople MARCH 2014

suggests a possible location. There’s five Evans, four Lewis, and two each of Williams, Jenkins, and James. The man 4th from left in the front row appears to be balancing a door-stop on his head, while the one in the same row, far right, seems to have brought some foliage to the photo shoot.


digital communication

Jamie Marchant

Is insurance still living in the past?

Let's get digital Jamie Marchant believes insurance still appears content to live in the past, and highlights the looming threat of languishing in the digital dark ages. Can the sleepy world of insurance transform itself into a digital player?

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s my friends and family will confirm, I'm no technology whizz. Yet, like millions of others, I now read my newspaper on a tablet; my books on a Kindle; buy music digitally; and communicate and keep up-to-date via Twitter and other social media. I also do mobile banking; use a wide variety of apps to check the weather and keep fit; and I 'Skype' my children when we're abroad. I even get my regular fix of insurance news via digital applications, and buy the weekly shopping on the web (OK. My wife does the last bit; but at least I unpack it all when it arrives). Yet the wacky world of insurance still appears content to live in the past. I still can't report and manage claims seamlessly online, or on my mobile. Nor can I engage with my insurers interactively via social media. And I get reams of paper when I renew or switch my cover, even though there are bespoke digital alternatives. Ernst & Young recently completed a major study of the attitude of insurance providers to the development and application of digital. Frankly, (given the hundreds of millions spent annually on IT and marketing) the conclusions are disturbing. Nearly 60% of respondents admitted that their current operations do not support such solutions. 80% said they're only “playing the digital game”, And of greatest concern, almost half still have no digital strategy at all.

But just take a look at the impact on retail businesses and the perils of remaining in the digital dark ages is plain. Here customers continue to choose 'e-alternatives' at an absolutely frightening rate. And they're never going back.

Half of today’s “insurance providers have no digital strategy

So can the sleepy world of insurance transform itself to join the digital revolution? That’s a big ask, given the sector's snail-like tendencies and historic resistance to change. If so, it will certainly need less reliance on past glories and “the way things are done around here” and an immediate response to the seismic level of adjustment necessary to step into the future. Insurance will also need to rapidly embrace new thinking, genuine innovation and accelerate the pace of delivery. The careful, evolutionary approach that has been so favoured in the past will no longer cut the mustard. And taking little steps, while competitors make giant leaps to boost efficiency and enhance customer satisfaction will only be a recipe for failure.

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obile and tablet use is growing exponentially and the insurance world must meet the challenge. Similarly, there is a pressing need to regard social media much more seriously. It's relatively inexpensive to adopt and improves customer engagement and communication - especially with a media-savvy younger generation who remain sceptical about the value of insurance. The sector is currently missing out on valuable opportunities to cultivate and improve relationships. According to research by Autoglass, only 40% of insurers actively respond to customers through social media and 50% still have no resources dedicated to managing queries emanating from digital channels. Today's consumer expects to be cherished. Yet in insurance, customer satisfaction and treating them fairly often falls behind profit making, with business acquisition still being valued ahead of building loyalty. Yet with competition increasing, and the cost of gaining new clients on the rise, a change in culture to boost retention is a must and an area where digital can offer new tools to control and enhance the customer's experience. “The speed of digital change is so fast that standing still means falling further behind,” says EY's report. It's revolutionising the way we all live. It's time for insurance to get digital. MARCH 2014 insurancepeople 13


“The ones that got away” This month’s escapee from the shackles of insurance goes back in time a lot further than usual. A man born into insurance in the family business who, while never entirely divorcing himself from those responsibilities, managed to concentrate the latter part of his 57year life to helping build and run the biggest train-set on Earth at that time, in 1:1 scale – Brunel’s Great Western Railway

George Henry Gibbs G

eorge Henry Gibbs was born in Exeter in 1785. His father, Antony Gibbs, had established the merchant banking firm of the same name, and George joined the firm in London as a partner in 1808. His father died in 1815 when he, and his brother William, became the senior partners. The brothers worked hard, driven by a desire to pay off all their father’s debts accrued back in 1789 when a Spanish trading venture failed. Antony Gibbs & Sons progressed into other areas beyond the confines of merchant banking, including insurance, and Gibbs became involved with the London Assurance Corporation of which he was a director for the last twenty years of his life. But his ‘escape’ came in 1833 at the birth of the (then) wild idea of digging a railway from Bristol to London. And it was exactly that – digging. The only aids were the horse and the wheel. Everything else relied on human muscle power and the shovel – at least until some track, locomotives, and wagons were to hand to help shift the spoil. GH Gibbs had a cousin, also called George, who was active at the Bristol end of the new venture, and since no one had ever built a railway of this length before, it was decided to start at both ends simultaneously, and GH became a director at the London end – and a major shareholder. The first meeting of the two committees took place

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1785-1842

“in the counting house of Antony Gibbs & Sons in a fine Jacobean house at 47 Lime Street” which miraculously had escaped the 1666 Great Fire of London. It was in this building in the City’s famous Lime Street where Lloyd's now stands that the ‘Bristol and London Railroad’ chose the Great Western Railway name in 1833 – the GWR itself to last another 115 years. GH Gibbs kept a diary from 1836 to 1840 which provides a unique historical insight into the life of the famous engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Although ultimately triumphant, those years proved very wearing for both Brunel and Gibbs. Brunel wasn’t infallible, and made many mistakes, but he was, after all, “going boldly where no man had gone before”. Brunel’s innovations and desire to control everything himself didn’t appeal to a significant number of shareholders, but at every pitfall GH Gibbs was Brunel’s most loyal supporter. GH suffered from illness throughout this period, and on being offered the chairmanship of the GWR, had to turn it down for these reasons. The diary reveals the workload he endured. At the start, all travel to sites had to be by horsepower, but as the rails, tunnels, bridges, embankments, and cuttings expanded, a director of a great railway could at least travel First Class free of charge. His diary comes to an abrupt halt in 1840 and he died in Venice two years later.


marketing

Use marketing to put fun into insurance

Jump on the Marketing bandwagon! It’s a powerful tool at everyone’s disposal

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nsurance is creative. Was I alone in awaiting with interest the next instalment to the meerkat saga? (And I wasn’t disappointed!) Just look around – insurance is chockfull of carefully crafted logos and memorable mascots, from said families of small furry mammals to talking robots. We all know why we need insurance – so helping the policyholder identify YOU in a sea of opportunity has got to be the primary objective. If they can achieve some level of pleasure into the bargain then you can be happy that your job is done. Yes, insurance is calculated and researched by underwriters, but the whole business is based on risk. And that’s what makes it special for those of us gainfully employed in this exciting sector. Far from its public reputation of being ‘dull and boring’, insurance is anything but. I’m not advocating marketing for the sake of it, however. Your identity,

insurancepeople

your strategy, your goals should all be intrinsic to your business. And marketing is the platform from which you leap. An inspiring campaign is all very well, but what’s the point unless it has a clear objective? The key to good marketing is working out what you want to achieve and putting measures in place to record success. Do you want to raise your brand awareness among consumers, increase sales or motivate staff internally? How will you measure it – by analysing website statistics or monitoring customer enquiries and sales? Eschew the norm! Presenting a ‘witty’, ‘funny’ or ‘cheeky’ face to attract attention is a great idea, especially in an industry like ours where there is so much choice. The recent pun-filled conversation between a Sainsbury’s customer and a member of the supermarket’s social media team is an excellent

Lizzie Smith-Foreman HEAD OF GROUP MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS MARKERSTUDY GROUP

example, (and one worth looking up) but it’s important to be mindful of situations when only ‘efficient and consummate professional’ will do. In my experience, the combination of online and offline marketing alongside PR provides the most impact. Furthermore, it doesn’t have to be a multi-million pound communications campaign. Sometimes the smallest ideas speak the loudest. Jump on the Marketing bandwagon. It’s a powerful tool at everyone’s disposal. Market what’s great about your company and help us change public perceptions - put fun into insurance.

News

DAS welcomes ABI code on RT injuries D AS reports that it welcomes the ABI code, “Support for customers with road traffic injuries”, which aims to ensure that the interests of customers with genuine injury claims are protected. Richard Harris, chief claims officer at DAS UK, says, “This is an incredibly responsible move by the ABI and one we fully

support. The legal expenses industry should, for our part, all be aligned to this level of thinking. DAS believes that an insurance policy should give 100% protection and we do not entertain cover that prejudices the policyholder in exchange for benefitting commercial entities. “In recent times, due to varying distribution

models, there has been a reduction in the take up of MLEI, which based upon the importance of the message detailed in this code we feel should really be addressed. It is heartening to hear that BIBA are also looking to follow the ABI’s lead and launch their own code. We would obviously encourage insurers and brokers to recognise how

their customers are left vulnerable without MLEI, and the risks they face from DBA deductions.”

Richard Harris MARCH 2014 insurancepeople 15


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News

Multi-car classic policy from Carole Nash C

arole Nash has extended its Cherished Cars portfolio with the launch of a multi-car classic policy, responding, says the company, to customer demand., with cover for from two to seven vehicles. “We’re launching our Classic Multi-Car policy in

direct response to feedback from enthusiasts at the many shows and events we’ve attended. We’ve also polled owners’ clubs who’ve told us that some 21 percent of their members own more than one vehicle,” says Peter McIlvenny, director of

MGAA members back delegated authority plans

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t a recent meeting of the Managing General Agents' Association, the head of delegated authorities at Lloyd's, Peter Montanaro, spoke about the role of delegated authority business in the changing regulatory landscape and outlined plans to improve distribution. The new Lloyd’s market initiatives outlined included the Consumer Product Binding Authority project, which combines coverholder auditing, the introduction of a new level of underwriting authority, enhanced due diligence and a fifth minimum standard for delegated underwriting focussed on conduct risk. Peter Montanaro said, “MGAs are an important part of the Lloyd’s distribution chain. The market must therefore continue to ensure these entrepreneurial 16 insurancepeople MARCH 2014

businesses are able to operate effectively while ensuring they manage their relationships to appropriate standards and respond appropriately to the increased regulatory focus on conduct risk.” Peter Staddon, managing director of the MGAA, said, “Our members understand the importance of appropriate regulation. The association is working with all regulators to ensure that the distinctive position of the MGA in the distribution chain is recognised, understood and reflected in their thinking. “We welcome the Lloyd’s market’s proposals for delegated authority business. They are in line with our focus on professionalism and will help to ensure the benefits MGAs bring to the market are clearly identified.”

Carole Nash’s Cherished Cars division. “They want the convenience of a single policy and, naturally, to pay less. Our figures indicate that on average they can cut over £90 from their annual insurance bill by switching to our multi-car cover.”

Peter McIlvenny

Flooding poses health risk for Somerset livestock

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rolonged flooding on the Somerset Levels poses threats for the region's livestock. Sophie Dunkerley, class underwriter for livestock at AEGIS London, points out that flood water: can spoil stored animal feeds like hay or render it harmful; kills the vegetation that farmers use for grazing and feed production; contains harmful chemicals, bacteria and pollutants, which will be deposited on fields and pastures; contains plastic and metal debris that will injure animals, especially if swallowed; creates the conditions in which disease becomes a higher risk; and encourages parasites and insect pests. She adds, “While short-term flooding can be beneficial for farm land, this prolonged flooding with increasingly contaminated water significantly increases the risks livestock will face in the months ahead. “In addition to any stress caused by transportation, cattle and sheep may be grazing on land that is polluted or stripped of its natural vegetation, thus encouraging them to venture further to find food, possibly resorting to (potentially poisonous) plants outside their normal diet. “In addition, we may see increased occurrences of diseases such as pneumonia, listeria and black leg in cattle.”


Charity lock-up in Manchester

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he president of the Insurance Institute of Manchester, Barry Thompson, has persuaded insurance executives to be locked up in the Victorian cells of the Greater Manchester Police Museum to raise money for cancer patients at The Christie. He has organised the “Lock up your bosses” initiative as part of his Project 150 to raise £150,000 towards a specialist room in The Christie's new young oncology unit and haematology and transplant unit, currently being built. He has persuaded more than 20 directors and senior managers from businesses across Manchester to be ‘charged’ by magistrates before going behind bars for crimes ranging from dad dancing, not liking cheese and excessive grumpiness. The event takes place on March 5th and 6th, companies will have to raise £1,500 before the bosses are released. Those already signed up take part include Paul Moors, CEO of the Bollington Group; Stuart Payne, VP of Chubb Insurance; Simon Gallimore, UK senior manager of AIG; and Karen Adegoke, head of office at Aon Risk Solutions. Barry Thompson, director of Thompson Brothers Insurance, based in Stockport, will be acting as magistrate for the event in the courtroom at the museum.

TV ople n o n e As se urance Pe in Ins

Burgess backs mortgage insurance outsourcing

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imon Burgess from British Money is calling for lenders to outsource their mortgage insurance to a thirdparty. In doing so, he says, they will relinquish the regulatory, financial and reputational risks associated with what is now considered to be a toxic product and stabilise future compensatory reserves. He believes outsourcing is the only way to tackle the protection drought and

give consumers access to a new excess and exclusion-period free product that is designed to pay claims in the event of a lost income. He comments: “Industry stats show around 96% of people with mortgages have no financial support mechanism to pay their bills if their salary goes and with fewer lenders offering a solution, it’s time for a specialist to step in and rectify the situation.”

Carol Newman artwork

Insurance People’s in-house artist, Carol Newman, is now taking commissions for original, pencil-drawn artwork, mounted 35x45cm Simply send photo of reasonable resolution to: adrian@insurancepeople.uk.com using ‘Artwork’ as the subject for quotation without obligation MARCH 2014 insurancepeople 17


insurancepeople

News

“Positive outlook” for pet insurers T

he outlook for UK and North America pet insurers remains positive over the next five years, according to insurance technology company Aquarium Software and its clients. Recent industry analysis suggest that over the period 2008-2012 the UK market has increased by 35% and, despite the recessionary environment and the squeeze on household incomes, pet insurance has been the fastest growing category in insurance sales, says Aquarium. This trend is set to continue for the foreseeable future according to Aquarium’s sales & marketing director, Mark Colonnese, who says, “With market penetration running at around 35% in the UK and gross written premium forecast to hit $1.5 billion per annum by 2017, compared to less than 2% penetration in the US, it is easy to appreciate the commercial opportunity the North American markets represent - even in the UK there is plenty still to go at.”

Pictured: Mark Colonnese (right), sales & marketing director of Aquarium Software of Hale, Cheshire (near Manchester), with Aquarium USA’s David Goodnight.

Three charity partners for Aon

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on has announced its three charity partners for 2014/15. The company's staff members across the UK took part in nominating and voting for charities to

receive support from the Aon UK Charitable Foundation. The winners are: Cancer Research UK, Dementia UK, and Little Havens Hospice.

Aon's Charity and Community Affairs Programme includes mentoring, volunteering and fund-raising. The company also participates

annually in a Global Service Day, where, in 2013, more than 400 Aon people volunteered, donating a total of 2,500 hours.

Sterling and BMG partner for pet insurance

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terling Insurance and BMG Insurance Brokers have formed a new partnership, Sterling Pet Solutions, which aims to provide “ … an independent facility and white label end to end solution for providers of pet insurance in the UK”.

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Sterling will provide sales, fulfilment, website design and dedicated pet claims handling. Underwriting capacity will be sourced by BMG. David Seel of BMG says, “The pet market has been seriously impacted as a result of various underwriting events and the consolidation of certain administrators in the market. This has reduced capacity and competition in the market and retailers of pet insurance have much less choice in offering an end to end solution for their customers. In recognition of this, Sterling Pet Solutions has been created to provide increased capacity to the market and to give those retailers increased choice in the white label arena.” The management team of Sterling Pet Solutions consists of John Blundell, managing director of Sterling Insurance Company; David Seel, previous founder and architect of Thornside Pet Healthcare; Simon Hall, CEO of BMG Insurance Brokers, who historically worked with BDML to provide underwriting capacity; and Steve Williams, director of life & protection, Sterling Insurance Group.


Amlin backs research on systemic risk of modelling

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mlin believes that the use of models by the insurance industry has contributed to a greater understanding of risk and more efficient use of capital, but that, as the use of models becomes ever more prevalent, there is greater scope for systemic risk within individual companies and across the (re)insurance market. To promote a better understanding of this complex field, the company has commissioned the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) at Oxford University’s Oxford Martin School to research the systemic risk of modelling. Commenting on the three-year programme,

Simon Beale, group chief underwriting officer at Amlin, says, “We believe that the idea of ‘systemic risk of modelling’ resonates with many people in our industry, and like any systemic issue, it is complex and addressing it will require strong collaboration across the industry and academia. Amlin is not just funding the research but also taking an active role, with insurance practitioners testing academic ideas. “We hope that funding public research will help bring the best minds together, so that as an industry we find ways to manage and mitigate this risk for the benefit of our clients and stakeholders.”

Willis reports 5% growth

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illis Group is reporting fourth quarter of 2013 commissions and fees up 5.15%, with organic growth up 3.7%. For the full year 2013, commissions and fees grew by 5.1% and organic growth by 4.9%. Group CEO Dominic Casserley says, “Willis closed 2013 with another quarter of solid organic revenue growth, and each of our businesses achieved our goal of midsingle digit organic growth for the full year. In addition, we delivered strong earnings per share growth and grew cash flow

from operations during the year. “Based on that performance, and confidence in our strategy, we are increasing our dividend by 7%. We also announced a share buyback to offset the increase in shares outstanding resulting from the exercise of employee stock options. As the new year begins, we are committed across the firm to our goals of growing revenues with positive operating leverage to improve cash flow and create strong shareholder returns.”

Bollington sponsors young golfer

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ollington Insurance Brokers is to sponsor 22year-old golf professional Tyrrell Hatton, of Marlow, on the European Tour this year. He has progressed quickly since turning professional in 2011 to qualify for the European Tour this year. In January he finished joint 10th in the Abu Dhabi Golf Classic, and a 16-under-par total gave him joint 2nd in the recent Joburg Open in South Africa. His world ranking has improved from 800 to 208 in 12 months. Bollington CEO Paul Moors comments, “Bollington is proud to support Tyrrell, a talented young sportsman who demonstrates real commitment and application to achieving success. We have always backed talent at Bollington, and Tyrrell is an outstanding young prospect who is already showing big signs of what he is capable of on the European Tour.”

MARCH 2014 insurancepeople 19


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News

HomeServe fined £30m by FCA T

he FCA has issued its largest ever retail fine of over £30m to HomeServe Membership Ltd, an intermediary selling home emergency and repairs insurance cover. The authority found that “ … HomeServe had serious, systemic and long running failings, extending across many key aspects of its business. In particular, during the period January

2005 to October 2011 it missold insurance policies, failed to investigate complaints adequately, its Board was insufficiently engaged with compliance matters and its senior management were reluctant to address risks to customers if there was a cost implication involved.” To date, HomeServe has paid approximately £12.9 million to affected

customers in redress and is expected to pay a total of £16.8 million. Tracey McDermott, the FCA’s director of enforcement and financial crime, says, “This is a serious case, one that has warranted our largest retail conduct fine and generated a sizeable bill for consumer redress. “HomeServe is another example of a firm that has

acted without proper regard for its customers over a long period of time. HomeServe promises to provide customers with peace of mind when things go wrong. In fact the firm’s culture, controls and remuneration structures meant that staff were focussed on quantity not quality and there were customers that paid the price for that.”

Flood insurers at number 10 F

ollowing the meeting with government in Downing Street on February 18th, Paul Evans, group CEO of AXA UK, said: “Our message to Government today was that supporting our customers through the trauma of flooding is exactly what we are here to do; we are very experienced at it and we are all extremely focused on the immediate and long term needs of our customers. “We have assured Ministers that from the perspective of the claims of our customers, everything is under control. “There are absolutely no indications at this stage of any issues of capacity within our supply chains that might delay the safe return of our customers to

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their homes. We have managed the immediate needs of our customers, and our priority today was to ensure Government understand what the next steps will be for their claims. Every claim is unique, and unfortunately many will take months to complete the necessary drying out, decontamination, and repairs. “Flood waters may not yet have receded from the latest events, but flood claims from the East Coast event in early December are already well progressed – the homes of many of AXA’s customers have already been dried and will have builders on site; many businesses are already up and running with their claims settled in full. Customers have no reason to fear their insurers will let them down,

nor that our interests are not fully aligned in seeking a speedy resolution of their claim. “The sad reality is that flood repairs take time and after the immediate trauma of the floods, the hard work lies ahead of us – in AXA our teams will work tirelessly to ensure our customers are returned to their homes as fast as possible.” * * * * The CEO of Ageas UK, Andy Watson, said: “Ageas is doing all it can to help customers get back on their feet during the floods and storms through access to emergency payments, alternative accommodation, support through its loss adjuster network and by significantly increasing the number of employees on

Andy Watson

the phones to handle claims. We have already paid out nearly £5 million in claims and made over 7,000 interim payments to help affected customers. We know from experience that there is a long road to recovery for those unfortunate enough to suffer serious flood damage to their homes and businesses and we will continue to support customers to return them to their pre-flood state as best and as quickly as we possibly can.”


Flexible commission on AXA “Simple Landlords”

Annuity market “not working well”

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XA has introduced commission flexibility to the Landlords product from its Simple range. The new function allows brokers to control their remuneration on a case by case level on new business or at renewal. The commission can be set between zero and 40 per cent and will be reflected in the gross written premium charged. Currently available on AXA’s Simple e-trading platform and to all brokers on the Acturis system, the functionality will be added to other software providers and will be incorporated into other Simple products during the course of 2014. Matthew Reed, MD of commercial intermediary, says, “In a highly competitive market it is important we give brokers the control over our products that they need and they have told us that the ability to flex commission levels is a vital part of this. “This enhancement to our product suite is further evidence of our commitment to meeting our brokers’ evolving needs and is the first of a number of exciting enhancements to our Simple product range planned for this year.”

he annuities market is not working well for consumers, a review by the Financial Conduct Authority has found. The FCA will now use its new remit to launch a competition market study to get to the heart of the issue and make recommendations that will have wider implications as to how the market operates. The authority says: “Of those who do not switch, eight out of ten people could get a more generous retirement income by shopping around and buying an annuity from a different provider; “On average the benefit of switching is equivalent to having an extra £1500 saved into a pension just before retirement; and “This situation is worse for people with small pension pots (less than £5000 saved at retirement) – they have less choice when shopping around as only a handful of providers offer them annuities.”

Two acquisitions for Innovation Group

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Suspended sentence for ghost broker

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21-year-old London man has been given an eight-month custodial sentence, suspended for two years, and 200 hours unpaid work for acting as a ghost broker by attempting to sell worthless car insurance on Gumtree. Mohammed Samad Ali was sentenced at the Old Bailey after he admitted posting five adverts offering cheap car insurance on the classifieds website. The poorly worded adverts offered cover to all drivers, with discounts for anyone who brought him more customers. They attracted the attention of the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Bureau, and he was arrested by City of London detectives.

nnovation Group, a provider of business process services and software to the insurance, fleet, motor and property industries, has announced two acquisitions – LAS Claims Management Ltd and its associated companies for £35m cash, and Crashworth Ltd, which manages a motor repair network. Commenting on the LAS Claims Management purchase, Innovation Group says, “The combined business will generate significant revenue synergies and operational leverage.

Adding 'wet' perils to the group’s existing dry perils claims management portfolio will increase the addressable market in the UK by a further 60 per cent and enable the group to transport the business model to its other geographies.” Of Crashworth, Innovation says, “Crashworth manages an established and efficient motor repair network. Its clients include Enterprise Rent a Car and two of the three largest insurance brokers in the UK, representing more than 40 different insurance brands.” MARCH 2014 insurancepeople 21


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News

SSP reports “bumper 12 months” S

SP says that its “bumper 12 months”, in which it signed up eight new clients, has been topped off with some praise in the recently published Celent reports on policy administration systems. The reports said of SSP Pure and SSP Select that, in terms of technology and functionality, “ … any insurer

with a complex modernisation requirement would do well to consider SSP Select Insurance”. Stephen Lathrope, managing director of SSP's insurer division, comments, ““The growth in SSP’s customer base and positive Celent rankings reflect our commitment to continuously enhance our solutions, and

provide insurers with the tools and solutions they need to enable future growth and innovation. With Celent also ranking SSP against its peers in terms of the service provided, based on customer interviews, the positive feedback provided demonstrates the confidence insurers have in the solutions we provide.”

Stephen Lathrope

Yorkshire BS customers to get refunds

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orkshire Building Society Group (YBS) will voluntarily refund all administration fees for mortgage arrears since January 2009. The decision was made after the FCA raised concerns that some YBS customers had been charged incorrectly as a consequence of its procedures not being robust enough. The total bill is expected to reach £8.4m with approximately 33,900 current and former customers receiving an average of £247 back in refunded fees.

L&G in direct motor

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egal & General, in partnership with Junction, the affinity arm of the BGL Group, has launched a direct motor proposition, underwritten by a panel of 14 insurers, with a target of 100,000 customers in the next three years. As well as direct, the L&G product will be offered via price comparison sites. John Hyde, managing director of “direct to consumer” at Legal & General, says, “We are delighted to extend our existing relationship with

22 insurancepeople MARCH 2014

BGL Group and to harness its motor insurance expertise in developing our offering. Our customer research will inform the development of some exciting car insurance propositions, proving that we really do put our customers at the heart of our business. We look forward with confidence to a highly effective and profitable partnership, combining marketing and distribution expertise from both sides to deliver market leading products and services.”

DAS in Norwegian partnership

T

he DAS UK Group has launched into partnership with Norwegian insurance agency, Legal24, to underwrite a product for homebuyers. Home Buyer Insurance enables the purchasers of property in Norway to be able to exercise their legal rights to claim against the seller should any problems arise after purchase. In Norway, the seller of a residential property is personally liable for 5 years after the sale for any undisclosed defects in the property that could have affected the purchase or the purchase price. Mark Robson, strategic underwriting manager, DAS UK Group commented: “Whilst there has been insurance available for the seller for a number of years, a product for the purchaser is a relatively new development in the Norwegian market. DAS were approached by Legal 24 with a proposal to enter into partnership with them on this new venture. It is an exciting development and our underwriting experience together with the fact that we already hold a licence to underwrite business anywhere in the EEA made this a perfect opportunity for the DAS UK Group.”


insurancepeople

News

“Customer inertia” on annuities F

ollowing the announcement by the FCA of their thematic review into the pensions annuity industry, PwC life insurance leader, Philippe Guijarro, comments: "The FCA comment that 80% of customers could be better off by shopping around for their annuity supports the view that there may be some customer inertia within the pensions annuity market, but the devil is in the detail the statistics also show that customers who buy their annuity through an existing pension provider have significantly smaller pots on average. It costs firms more to manage lots of small pensions compared with a few large ones and the FCA found no evidence of differential pricing. Lower annuity rates could just reflect the high cost of running small pension pots. "This complexity is clearly the reason why the FCA is now going to look in more detail at whether competition is working in the interests of customers. It looks like the FCA could be considering some novel options around improving the way people shop around and, in turn, whether this might in practice improve annuity rates. While the thematic review focussed on annuities, the FCA's follow-up market study will look at retirement income more broadly and so will include income drawdown. Clearly this could be an area of regulatory focus for a while yet.”

The Panel says it appreciates the complexity of this dysfunctional market and welcomes a full market study, including a review of pension providers’ pricing, selling practices, and retention strategies. It adds, “While more work is needed on aspects of the market, the Panel believes the FCA should act immediately to introduce a robust code of conduct for firms selling annuities on a non-advised basis.”

Profitable growth for Ageas UK

FCA wins case against Capital Alternatives

I

T

n the year 2013, Ageas UK saw net profit increase by 2.8% to £85.2 million (£82.9m in 2012), with the overall combined ratio improving from 99.8% to 98.4%. Total income was up 5.2% to £2,116.8m, including non-life GWP up 6.3% at £1,848.0m, total inflows from retail businesses down 13.2% to £177.0m, and protection GWP up 32.3% to £91.8m. Andy Watson, chief executive of Ageas UK, says, “It’s been another good year for Ageas,

delivering improvements in our income, profit and combined ratio. The integration of Groupama Insurance Company Limited has gone very well and we’re delighted that brokers are able to take advantage of the wider product choice now available to them, alongside the quality service that they continue to recognise us for. We’ve maintained our underwriting discipline as rates have come under pressure throughout the year and we are in good shape for 2014.”

* * * * The Financial Services Consumer Panel has welcomed the publication of the FCA thematic review of annuities. It says, “The FCA’s findings echo our own: ●

the market does not work well, especially for the most vulnerable customers: those with smaller pension pots and those who could qualify for enhancements due to health conditions;

firms that sell annuities via non-advice websites often provide misleading or incomplete information to consumers; and

more needs to be done to ensure people get the best pension they can”.

he High Court has ruled that two investment schemes, promoted by Capital Alternatives and a number of other firms, were collective investment schemes. They were promoted and operated without Financial Conduct Authority authorisation. The FCA launched legal action in July 2013 in respect of two investment schemes: ●

African Land (also known as Agri Capital) which offered investments in rice farm harvests in Sierra Leone as run by African Land Limited. Reforestation Projects (also known as Capital Carbon Credits) which offered investments in carbon credits intended to be generated from land in Sierra Leone, Brazil and Australia and run by Reforestation Projects Limited”.

The defendants in the case had structured their schemes to try to avoid the need to be regulated by the FCA. However, the High Court agreed with the FCA that the schemes were unauthorised collective investment schemes and could not be lawfully operated by the defendants. MARCH 2014 insurancepeople 23


insurancepeople

News

Claims management company numbers down by a third W

ith closer supervision, the number of claims management companies has fallen by a third from a peak of 3,000 three years ago, says a report in the Telegraph, which goes on to say that the MoJ has

revoked the licences of 200 firms during the last year, taking to more than 1,100 the total number of claims businesses shut down since it began regulating the sector seven years ago. Shailesh Vara, the Justice minister, said the

Fund management buy for Legal & General egal & General has bought a $16 billion index fund manager in the US — its first purchase of an asset management business — as it moves into an expanding US retirement market. It is buying Global Index Advisors from its owner-managers for an initial payment of $30.8 million. This could rise to $50.4 million if certain business targets are met over the next three years, including growth in assets under management. Upon completion, expected in the next few months, the deal will take assets under management in Legal & General Investment Management America to $50 billion, up from $33 billion reported in its interim results in August.

L

PPI claims yet to peak

A

ccording to reports, Mark Neale, chief executive of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, has said that claims over mis-sold PPI will carry on for years, in spite of the bill already topping £13 billion since 2008. PPI claims handled by the FSCS are expected to increase by 20% in 2014 to more than 16,000.

24 insurancepeople MARCH 2014

decline in numbers was a sign of the department’s “rigorous” approach to root out “rogue firms”. “Continued action to remove licences from companies with poor practices alongside forthcoming claims

management regulation reforms, prove just how much work is going on to get tough on companies that defy the rules and bombard the public with unwelcome calls and misleading information,” she said.

Hiscox reports “very good year”

H

iscox reports gross written premiums for 2013 up by 8.5% to £1,699.5m and a pre-tax profit of £244.5m (£217.5m in 2012). The group combined ratio improved from 85.5% to 83.0%. Hiscox London Market's profit was £116.m (£121.9m); Hiscox UK's profit was £45.4m (£45.2m); Hiscox Europe had record profits of £10.9m (£3.9m); and Hiscox USA premiums were up by 31.1% at £189.5m. Bronek Masojada, chief

executive of Hiscox Ltd, says, "2013 was a very good year for Hiscox. Our long term strategy of building local retail businesses in Europe, the UK, Guernsey and the US to balance internationally traded business in London and Bermuda continues to deliver. We are excited about the opportunities we see in many retail markets where we have room to grow profitably. In our big ticket areas, discipline and opportunism will guide us."

Post-accident assistance for fleet businesses

A

ccident management company Winn Group has set up Winn Assist, which aims to help “fleet partners” by managing the post-accident process. As well as Winn's team of specialist solicitors, they will be able to use the group's network of repairers, vehicle hire companies and medical services.

Chris Birkett, sales director at Winn Assist, points out that, for many businesses, keeping fleets working at full capacity is essential to success and adds, “At the end of winter, when roads are particularly treacherous and conditions can significantly slow down logistics and increase journey times, it is even more important.”


Rise and rise of pet cover A

quarium Software, and its client Markerstudy, say that it will be insurers who are “in touch with their sensitive side” who will benefit from the expected growth in the UK pet insurance market over the next five years. This follows research from Timetric that reports a 35% increase in the last five years in consumers taking out pet cover. Mark Colonnese, sales and marketing director, Aquarium Software, comments, “As a nation of pet lovers we simply can’t bear the thought of losing a cat or dog that’s part of the family unit, and will invest in a future that protects them as much as possible. Our own health, on the other hand, seems to be something we take more for granted and will put off dealing with until another time. So apart from rising vets’ bills and falling

policy prices, human nature is the other prime reason for the increasing popularity of pet insurance.” Rachel Mulheron, director at Markerstudyowned BDML Connect and an Aquarium technology customer, is also a fully qualified former head veterinary nurse. She says: “While we can say using Aquarium’s software has improved efficiency and helped us to identify fraudulent claims, the real benefit is better engagement with the customer. Being able to walk them through their pet claim as sensitively and quickly as possible can have a dramatic and powerful effect on brand loyalty. It’s truly amazing what letters of thanks and tweets of

endorsement we’ve had after helping to ‘save’ someone’s ‘best friend’.” She concludes: “The best pet insurance brands are harnessing the power of management information and business intelligence for more effective customer and risk profiling, not only to decide how to market in the future, but to give an exemplary customer service

at a time when the customer needs it most – in their pet’s hour of need. “With the pet-owner bond seemingly stronger than ever, this is all good news for those in the pet insurance sector who can integrate an understanding of human behaviours into their workflows, and offer the most human response possible.”

The Editor writes Director at BDML Connect Rachel Mulheron, mentioned above, came to insurance in 1996, a move she describes as the ‘building block’ for her career. Fully intending to ‘give it a year’ in the business world and return to train as a vet, she was promoted three times within 12 months, and found she enjoyed working in insurance, and says she has “never looked back”. She previously worked at AXA Assistance and Mondial Assistance. Her current role at BDML involves responsibility for development and management of new and existing accounts in pet, home, motor, and telematics. And needless to say, she enjoys her own menagerie of two cats, three guinea pigs, two horses, three guinea fowl and seven chickens. ● Another person ringing the changes at BDML is operations director Ross Barrington who now runs the BDML Connect site in Portsmouth with responsibility for improving efficiency, reducing costs and driving the results. He sees telematics as the ‘one to watch’.

Rachel Mulheron, Kai (cat) and Ruby, Shadow and Darwin

He previously worked for Alliance & Leicester and Nationwide for ten years, and moved to Capita Insurance Distribution in Ross Barrington 2011. He tells me he relishes the opportunity to add value to insurance and believes in the importance of focusing on customer service. The Editor MARCH 2014 insurancepeople 25


On the move Who’s going where? AXA

Bluefin

Axa appoints Laurent Matras as managing director of the personal lines intermediary division. He returns to Axa where he was previously finance director for Axa Insurance UK and Axa PPP. Until 1999 he was a financial analyst for Axa’s group corporate finance team in Paris before a move to the UK as head of actuarial. He became head of personal lines in 2002 and finance director in 2005.

Bluefin appoints Kenny Hogg as head of corporate. He joins from Towergate where he was most recently regional managing director of the Scotland and Northern Ireland region and has also worked at Standard Life, Wesleyan Assurance Society, and Zurich Financial Services.

Laurent Matras

He worked at Groupama Insurances from 2008 as managing director in the role previously held by François-Xavier Boisseau who became CEO in 2007.

Amlin

Barbon

Amlin appoints Ole K. Enevoldsen as group head of underwriting assurance. He was previously director of underwriting and reinsurance at Jubilee Managing Agency and held various roles at Munich Re AG, most recently head of corporate underwriting MGA.

Barbon Insurance appoints Simon Ellen as chairman. He is chairman and non-executive director of several businesses such as First Assist Group Holdings, Garwyn Group and SBJ Group.

MGB Rural Rural Insurance appoints Sarah Robinson as an underwriter. She joins from FarmWeb where she spent six years as an underwriter. 26 insurancepeople MARCH 2014

Markham Private Clients appoints Patrick Peters to head their kidnap and ransom facility. He previously worked at the European parliament in Strasbourg and the United Nations in Geneva.

Towergate Towergate appoints James Tugendhat as CEO of Towergate Direct. He joins from Bupa where he worked in various roles, including commercial director of their international health insurance and CEO of their US health service business. Andrew Richmond joins as group head of customer experience from SSE where he was senior customer experience manager.

Assurant Solutions Assurant Solutions appoints Simon Hudson as UK business development manager. He joins from Warranty Group and was previously an account manager for Domestic & General.

Sarah Robinson

Markham

James Tugendhat

MGB Insurance Brokers appoints Pat Boreham as broker development and marketing manager. With over 20 years’ experience, he has previously worked at Nelson Hurst, Alexander Forbes and Prime Professions.

Bollington Patrick Peters

Chase Templeton Chase Templeton appoints Terry Shelbourne as head of SME. He joins from BUPA Health Funding and Consultancy where he was most recently senior business development manager, was previously a business manager at ATOS healthcare and held various managerial roles over 18 years with Mersey Regional Ambulance Service.

Bollington Insurance Brokers appoints Paul Hughes as director of direct sales. He joins from Direct Line Group where he worked for nearly 20 years as regional manager and centre manager.

Paul Hughes


In association with

VEHICLE SERVICES Collection, storage and sales

ICAB Insurance Claims Accommodation Bureau (ICAB) appoints Tim Allsopp as head of finance. He was previously financial controller at A Fulton Ltd and European financial controller at Universal Aviation.

CFC

Nick Woodward

Aqua Aqua Underwriting appoints Matthew Webb as a senior underwriter. He joins from Hiscox where he was most recently head of motor underwriting and has also worked at Chubb. Matthew Webb

Argenta Argenta Holdings appoints Paul Hunt as a nonexecutive director of Argenta Syndicate Management Ltd (ASML). With over four decades’ experience, he has been underwriting director of ASML, active underwriter of Argenta Syndicate 2121 and active underwriter of Hiscox Syndicate 52.

Nick Hillman

Nick James

Markel Markel International appoints Nick Hillman as a senior underwriter in its specialty division. He joined Markel in 2004 on the graduate scheme and started as a trainee underwriter. Nick James is appointed as a senior underwriter in the specialty division. He was previously an underwriter with Markel and has also worked at Ace Tempest and Aon.

CFC appoints Nick Woodward as claims and products director. He joins from HCC International and previously worked at Eversheds, CMS Cameron McKenna, and Davies Arnold Cooper.

Commercial Express Commercial Express appoints Clare Nash as operations manager. She was previously regional manager at Dollond & Aitchinson Opticians and Boots Opticians and flagship manager at Optical Express. Andy Lees is appointed as business development manager for North London and Essex. He was previously head of commercial products at Premium Choice, sales manager at Fresh! Insurance and senior underwriter at Express Insurance. Shalman Ahmed is appointed as business development manager support and was previously an underwriting assistant at AIG Insurance and specialist sales and service consultant and team leader at RBS Insurance. Sharmina Rahman is appointed as an underwriter. She joins from Ecclesiastical where she was a property owners and liability underwriter. Siobhan Penlington is appointed as an underwriter and joins from Aviva where she was a bonus underwriter.

Michael Pratten

Canopius Canopius appoints Michael Pratten as chief investment officer. He joins from Coal Pension Trustees Services where he was chief investment officer and director, has also worked at Equitas as investment strategist and chief investment officer and held senior positions at Wellington Management and Prudential Portfolio Management.

RWA RWA Compliance Services appoints Peter Stokes as compliance support manager. He joins from Jelf where he was regulatory consultant and has also worked at The Finance Planning Group as business standards officer.

Peter Stokes MARCH 2014 insurancepeople 27


by Andrew Newman

“I like your new car” my career zoomed to wider horizons. I thought the bombshell secreted in my pocket, waiting to be unleashed, would simply prove that Newman is not one to be messed with by the corporate machinery. In fact, it changed my whole life. ere’s 32 – a Cornhill Insurance house mag from 1977. That title came from the door number in Cornhill EC4. (When Munich took over Cornhill, that link was broken).

H

How did it come to this?

It leapt out of the archive thanks to a Chelmsford branch profile, where I worked 1971-77.

I always enjoyed working at Cornhill Chelmsford. I’d joined to head the motor underwriting department, and progressed to become an inspector with two years’ business targets under my belt. Likewise, a colleague (not shown in the photo), making the two of us senior to two new starters, and another ‘intermediate’ with one year’s sales figures.

And there I am (front right) with my ‘on the road’ team colleagues. Get those haircuts! With a wistful look at that 1977 hair, I was just about to return ‘32’ to its resting place, when… is that a twinkle of mischief in my eye? Is that what they call a sardonic smile? Whoosh! I’m suddenly back there in the photo. I realise now the flash of light wasn’t from the camera – it was the big-bang moment

So when the hierarchy decided that Chelmsford should have a Senior Inspector, things looked good. The two front runners were good friends (we still exchange Christmas cards) so no problems there. But… and this is where treacle got into the corporate machinery… instead of just

quietly appointing one of us, the episode was turned into a beauty contest. Bets were even placed! Two weeks of uncertainty dragged by, and the branch hierarchy didn’t even have the guts to tell the losers. They got the winner to do that – the ‘intermediate’ candidate who was highly uncomfortable about the whole thing. (He left shortly after). So there it was. Neither of the two favourites was happy. I spotted a job elsewhere and applied, but with no real intention of leaving. I’d just work even harder. My fellow loser got a transfer to another branch, and I put my name forward for a similar move now that there was no short-term opportunity at Chelmsford. I was granted an interview with the Agency Manager himself in 32 Cornhill. Wow! He saw my situation, and asked me to postpone any move, but take the senior inspector grade at Chelmsford without the title. Double wow! I returned that afternoon to Chelmsford on a high… but alas. More sand in the works. The agency manager had agreed all this without consulting the branch manager, who went ape (not at me of course) and asked if I would mind backing off for a while. I refused. (The bravado of youth etc.).

28 insurancepeople MARCH 2014

in association with:

Next morning I called on my manager, apologised, and of course I would let him off the hook and give him time to sort out his problem. So the day came when the inspector team moved down into the main body of the office, under the vulgar gaze of all. How would snubbed Newman react on return from holiday to find his desk moved, and not getting the one with the visitor’s chair? I think the photo confirms all was sweetness and light. But then I knew that my letter of resignation was in my pocket as the photo was being taken, to be handed in after lunch (and causing a bit of a stir). You see, I was fortified on my return from holiday to find… surprise, surprise… a letter of appointment waiting for me on the doormat. A bigger job, a higher salary, and a better car. It was like winning the lottery! The branch manager called me in one day while I was working my notice, and said he didn’t blame me for leaving “after being messed about. I like your new car, by the way.” Believe it or not, my new employer had given me my new car to use before I had even joined them! Things were a lot more genteel in that era.


How do you

S TAY C O N F I D E N T in a world where

change is constant?

At HCC we understand that every day carries c risk. That’s why through our specialty insurance we give our clients the freedom to take on opportunity o with confidence. A process of insurance we call Mind d over risk.

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Ä…Ä€ ! !./ +"" +*-1!.%*#Ĺ?%/' HCC International Interna ational mail@hccint .com or +44 (0)20 7702 4700 0 mail@hccint.com A subsidiary of HCC C Insurance Holdings, Inc.

hcc.com/international

@HCC_Casualty @HCC_Ca asualty


Understanding the things that are important to you and your customers can only be achieved by listening and getting closer to you - our brokers. This means that we can provide even more innovative and flexible insurance solutions designed to help your business grow and increase profitability. Our executive range of high net worth and commercial products are designed to the highest standards, backed up with excellent service; as evidenced by the many industry awards we have recently won. Our immediate access to decision makers and our ongoing commitment to exceptional customer service, competitive pricing and fast, fair claims settlement makes Sterling a company that truly makes a difference in the marketplace.

To find out more, contact: Broker Operations Manager, Mark Arends on 0845 2711445 or marends@Sterlinginsurancegroup.com

Sterling Insurance Company Limited and Sterling Life Limited are incorporated and registered in England and Wales under numbers 498605 and 911235 respectively. They are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Insurance People March 2014