Page 1

issue 33 May 2013


Steve White BIBA’s new Chief Executive - see page 12 Insurance People inside include:

Reg Brown

Claire Church

Nick Giddings

Simon Douglas

Chris Guillaume

Richard Norman

Eric Galbraith

Jamie Marchant

Lynden Norman

Tim Webb



in association with



“Utmost good faith” - RIP


In this issue

A charter for fraudsters? Or an overdue infill of a claims loophole that insurers have exploited for too long?


Late news


Market talk


Customer service

he coach and horses of the new Consumer Protection Act tramples “utmost good faith” underfoot – the doctrine that foisted ‘utmost’ disclosure onto the buyer.

Editor and Publisher

Consultant Editor

Andrew Newman

Brian Susman

Insurers may have regressed their claims payment largesse in recent years, but the days are long gone of routine repudiation of, say, a motor claim for undisclosed ‘modification’ (such as a non-factory fitted sun roof).

Commercial Director

Production Director

Jeni Hall

Adrian Susman


Andrew Newman 01892 730539 Design & Production

Adrian Susman 07981 993974 Commercial Director

May 2013

The outcome of the new Act will largely depend on whether an undisclosed material fact was “honest and reasonable” as opposed to “deliberate or reckless”.

Claire Church, Auto Windscreens

The legal profession must be rubbing its hands in anticipation. “Meeting the Growth Challenge” The 2013 BIBA Conference & Exhibition opens its doors at ExCel on May 15-16. Another record footfall is expected at this return to London, with an array of speakers and a wellfilled Exhibition. The only things missing? Manchester’s close-knit, cosy out-of-hours bonhomie and a civilised transportation system.

Jeni Hall 07969 510172


The new Chief Exec at BIBA


Art & Collectables Richard and Lynden Norman, Markel


Ones that got Away Stuart Freeborn, a Star Wars star


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


insurancepeople PO Box 537 Tonbridge Kent TN12 9WG t 01562 862990 m 07981 993974 e

Steve White

Reg Brown Postcard Emporium


Eric Galbraith leaves BIBA in good shape


Claire Church says contact centre staff can be frontline heroes


Market Cycles Jamie Marchant

Also find us on:




On the move

ISSN 2043-9202

Who’s going where?

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.



Richard Norman on the possessions people cherish most


Star Wars... Who does this face remind you of?

On the Road Much change at Royal Exchange MAY 2013 insurancepeople 1


in association with

Late News

Aviva looking at Co-op business? A

viva is reported to be considering a £650m takeover of the Cooperative Insurance business, as one of a number of firms considering a bid after the Co-op put the division up for sale. Others showing interest are said to include Ageas, and a private equity investor.

Co-operative has already sold its life assurance and asset management business to Royal London for £219m. It is reported to be looking for a further capital injection to back its attempt to take over a number of Lloyds bank branches. * * * *

Aviva is also reported to be planning to cut up to 2,000 jobs over the next six months in the UK, Europe and Asia, as it attempts to reduce its costs by more than £400m (results released in March indicated that savings of £275m had already been made). The company says that it will consult with unions and

staff in the UK before job losses are finalised. Mark Wilson, group CEO, says, "I know this is difficult news for our employees, but these changes are essential if we are to remain competitive. Aviva needs to become a more efficient and agile organisation to unlock its potential."

Towergate GWP up to £3.1 billion I

n the 12 months to the end of 2012, Towergate Insurance recorded gross written premiums of £3.1bn, an increase of 5% on 2011. Income was £438.5m, an increase of 2%; the expense ratio was down slightly at 63.3%; the operating margin was 36.7% (36.3%); and the pre-tax loss was reduced from £27.0m to £6.1m. Among the Towergate

divisions, retail income was up 0.5% to £256.8m; underwriting income was up 13% to £87.2m; Paymentshield income was up 7% to £72.2m; and the network division income was down 19% to £16.6m. Mark Hodges, group CEO, comments, “2012 was a year of real progress for Towergate during which we made significant strides towards our strategic goals.

Aquiline buys Equity Insurance


quiline Capital Partners, a New Yorkbased private equity firm investing in financial services, has acquired Equity Insurance Group, including Equity Red Star and Equity Syndicate Management, with its associated syndicate 218 at Lloyd's, as well as the broking business, Equity Direct Broking. Ian Parker has become chief executive officer of Equity Insurance Group and Patrick 2 insurancepeople MAY 2013

O'Sullivan chairman of Equity Syndicate Management. Mr Parker joins from Hardy Underwriting, where he was COO, having previously been chief executive of direct and partnership European general insurance at Zurich Financial Services. Mr O'Sullivan has decades of experience in insurance and financial services, most recently as vice chairman of Zurich Financial Services.

“We continued to see positive growth in our operating earnings, driven by increased revenues and improved operational efficiency. Our proven ability to source and integrate acquisitions saw us add 27 new businesses in the year. Furthermore, the Change Programme we launched in 2012 contributed to the growth of operating earnings and we

Mark Hodges

will see the benefits increase as these initiatives achieve their full year impact in 2013.”

Queen’s Award for CFC


nderwriting agency CFC has been awarded a Queen’s Award in International Trade, recognising, says the firm, its “ … successful strategy of targeting niche sectors worldwide, adapting services to each market, continually pushing boundaries to provide cover for companies that have historically been underserved and putting service at the centre of everything it does”. Commenting on the award win, CFC managing

director David Walsh says, “I speak on behalf of everyone at CFC in saying that we are proud and honoured to have joined the elite group of companies recognised by Her Majesty the Queen for our contribution to UK business in achieving substantial growth in overseas earnings. This has been a real team effort and I would like to thank everyone within the business for their outstanding contribution as well as our broker partners and capacity providers for their continued support.”

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. 01268 696444 Fax: 01268 510087 Email:

With continued investment and systems development we are able to set the standards that others struggle to achieve. We are the safest hands is salvage. HBC Vehicle Services, HBC House, Charfleets Road, Canvey Island, Essex SS8 0PQ


market talk

Andrew Newman

Galbraith retires as BIBA chief exec Susman Celebs challenge

Eric Galbraith leaves BIBA in good shape T

he BIBA Conference hits town at Excel in London’s Docklands this month, and the most significant landmark is the retirement as chief executive of Eric Galbraith. I asked Eric about the shape of things when he joined BIBA in 2003. What did he see as the most significant things he had to adapt or change? “When I was appointed, the focus and operating structures were not in good shape, and I don’t believe the Board had much confidence in the executive. Identifying what we needed to provide for the membership and building the team to respond was a priority.” My next question was to ask Eric what achievements during his tenure he would name that he believes stand out? Which ones gave him the most personal pleasure?

Eric Galbraith joined BIBA in 2013 as chief executive. His career started at age 16 with Macalister & Alison, part of Bowring, where he rose to become a director. When Marsh & McLennan purchased Bowring he occupied various positions in both the retail and commercial arena, ultimately moving back to Scotland to take over the Marsh Glasgow and Scottish offices. In 1984 he became managing director of the Royal Bank of Scotland Insurance Services. When RBS took over Nat West, he was approached by CGNU to become managing director of Hill House Hammond.

“It will be for others to comment on what legacy we have built during my tenure as chief executive, but I would like to believe we have put general insurance brokers’ interests on the agenda with all the stakeholders; government, regulator, insurers, other trade bodies, and consumer bodies. “We have built a strong executive team (and Steve

Anyone for cricket? The Insurance Celebs could do with a new cricket fixture. Anyone interested? Brian Susman writes:


y way of a brief explanation – the Celebs started back in 1996, when I was challenged by another cricket “nut” of the insurance business, one Michael Bright, to put 4 insurancepeople MAY 2013

together a team to take on Independent Insurance in a “proper” 40-overs-a-side match at Four Elms cricket ground, Edenbridge, Kent. The Celebs were made up of friends and acquaintances of mine in insurance who, I knew, were current cricketers, or

White’s internal promotion highlights that) and put in place strong governance; more than doubled membership; successfully promoted the interests of members; strengthened our balance sheet; won some awards; and had some fun. “The success of BIBA is down to the whole team and I think my greatest pleasure is having worked with such a

fantastic team of people. The next stage of BIBA’s development is being progressed as part of our strategic review and I wish Steve and the team all the best for the future. There is still much to be done.” So what’s next for Eric? “Well I am trying not to use the ‘R’ word and will look at any opportunities – perhaps some non executive work.”

ex-cricketers, or cricket lovers, or just nice people to have around. The aim was to play cricket “seriously for fun”. Those criteria for membership, and the Celebs' approach to the great game have not changed one iota since. The Celebs may not be the “winning-est” team ever to set foot on a cricket field - a few years now since we last tasted the delights of a victory

- but they enjoy each other's company and have set up some firm friendships with regular opponents over the years. And that has led to business being done. With no more than a couple of games on the 2013 fixture list, we could do with another. So back to the original question – is there anyone out there in the insurance world interested in hosting a fixture?

Contact me at to discuss details

in association with

Premier Solutions keep track Boswell appoint Chris Gibbs

How safe is a safe? W

hen you pay a visit to the Sevenoaks showrooms of security specialists Premier you cannot fail to note how ‘swish’ modern safes have become. And yet, as director of commercial sales Mike Cripps tells me, at least 25% of the safes Premier are asked to identify are over 120 years old! “As part of our safe identification and training facility we receive around 1,200 safe identification requests a year from UK insurance risk surveyors,” says Mike. “Our archives date back to the mid-1800s and include thousands of brochures and technical specifications of safes of all kinds, many pre-dating petrol driven commercial vehicles, electric tools, and battery-

powered torches – yet policyholders still expect them to secure their cash, precious valuables and vital documents against the modern burglar. “We advise insurance companies on the make, model, age and burglary resistance quality of each safe, working closely with the Association of Insurance Surveyors to recommend maximum overnight cash indemnity levels.” Premier also provide training talks, helping surveyors to recognise makes and models of existing policyholder’s safes, and how to specify safes that match the value of the contents. “We also give practical demonstrations of the ease with which forced entry into older safes is achieved, and

show how modern safes defeat these attacks.” Security Knowledge is Premier’s bi-monthly newsletter to insurers informing on crime trends, new products, and applications. “Our current spotlight is on the withdrawal of local safe deposit facilities, and how this is forcing traditional members of the Asian community to keep their family gold at home, leading to a significant increase in burglaries,” adds Mr Cripps. Another trend is how modern digital locking systems are replacing conventional combination locks. “These incorporate time locking and time delay facilities to deter armed robbery and can even be monitored remotely.”

Mike Cripps

I asked Mike to clarify fact from fiction in the older movies of the black and white era , which often featured the sight of Sydney James, Alfie Bass, or David Lodge with their ear to the safe door. “It’s true the public has been conditioned by movies to believe that it’s easy to manipulate a combination lock by pressing the ear against the safe to listen to the clicks. In reality combination locks don’t click and never have done.”

New MD at Alan Boswell H

aving just completed its 30th anniversary year, Alan Boswell Insurance Brokers (ABIB) promotes former group operations director Chris Gibbs as MD. He joined in 1993 having studied accountancy and then statistics before making his way into insurance. He previously worked for Norwich Winterthur Overseas before joining ABIB in 1993 as office manager. “The company was much smaller then only 25 employees. But I was drawn by the sheer

enthusiasm to focus on clients and to strive to provide the best service possible.” As a chartered insurance broker and CII Fellow he firmly believes in continual training and professional development for both company and individuals. Also joining the ABIB board are Adrian Rayner, current MD of the Bury St Edmunds business, and Heath Alexander-Bew, who heads the personal lines and landlord divisions, and Andy

Dowler, MD of the Attleborough business. Despite the changes, chairman Alan Boswell confirms that his role is still very much hands-on. “This new appointment of Chris and the strengthening of our ABIB board exemplifies our commitment to promoting talent from within the Group. It’s an exciting time.” Established in 1982, Alan Boswell Group are sponsors of Norwich City and look after insurance for the Premier League

Chris Gibbs

club. Over 220 staff are employed across six locations - Norwich, Attleborough, Bury St Edmunds, Peterborough, London, and Ely. MAY 2013 insurancepeople 5

market talk

Time for a flexible claims model

New look for motor claims T

he new motor claims legislation is now in effect, and I recently seized the opportunity to ask Tim Webb, commercial director at motor claims solutions experts RTA Solutions for his overview:The significant reforms now sweeping across the claims arena have led to a new dawn in claims handling that’s welcomed by some of us - but not by all.

The Timetable

The timetable is set. April 1st saw the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) implemented and referral fees are banned.

Defendant insurers no longer have to pay a success fee along with any After The Event insurance premium.

Claimant solicitors can deduct 25% of claimants’ damages under a Conditional Fee Agreement or Damage Based Agreement and procedural changes have allowed for a 10% uplift on general damages.

From 1st May 2013 fixed recoverable costs will reduce on cases entered on the RTA portal from £1,200 to £500 and all non portal claims will be processed on a fixed fee basis.

All this results in a need for everyone involved to understand the background, and appreciate the timetable of the reforms. It defines the need to develop a flexible working model offering a variety of different claims handling solutions. Government lobbying, collaborative efforts on the part of insurers to reduce motor premiums and claims spend, and the added spike of recessionary pressures mean that companies within the claims fraternity who are not already adapting their business models and product output are going to find it difficult to cope as each of the new rules begins to crystallise. The unpredictability of our sector remains a constant issue but the ‘future’ is well and truly on its way to supporting a much more scientific approach to claims handling, far away from the limited capacity and substance of the numerous claims farmers that have infiltrated our sector. 6 insurancepeople MAY 2013

Claims companies are going to have to gear themselves to offer more rounded and robust outsourcing services, with in-house claims solutions and an ability to manage claims from cradle to grave. People will still buy cars and people will still have Tim Webb accidents, although it’s widely acknowledged that motor claim frequencies are currently down. The playing field will become level and the demise of those companies that have tarnished our name will open up greater opportunity for businesses with true claims ability experience and innovation. Forward thinking executive planning is a must. The market is in a state of flux and the sooner it surfaces from the murky waters, the better it will be for those of us who share a common set of basic ethics and principles based around ensuring that our primary function is to look after our customers’ needs. Tim Webb

As a result of these changes Mr Webb tells me that RTA Solutions are entering into an alternative business structure (ABS) to allow it to offer its partners a long-term compliant and sustainable means of continuing to work together. “We are shortly launching a number of innovative Before The Event (BTE) motor legal expenses products along with new workable claims handling models,” he adds. “Our approach will be to supply fair and reasonable services to all our referrer clients ensuring short cycle times on claims and a swift resolution of settlement.” “There’s never been a time of greater need for professionally delivered practical claims handling techniques with measurable efficiencies, transparent processes, and an empathetic understanding of client needs, using modern and refined claims methods.” So what message does Tim Webb have for the motor broker market? “Choosing a claims partner carefully is a must for your business, with potentially severe negative consequences if you don’t. With all these new changes, make sure you get help from your claims partner to make sure you make the right decision.” Contact: Tel. 0844 815 8902 or visit

PowerPlace and Open GI unveil new SME strategy

in association with

Letter to the Editor

PowerPlace power up F

ollowing Open GI's acquisition of PowerPlace, Group CEO Chris Guillaume and PowerPlace CEO Nick Giddings recently shared their plans to enhance their SME offering with a B2C online facility for brokers, and an insurer underwriting solution. Nick Giddings says that over the past four years PowerPlace has set its standard for SME business. “We’re approaching £100m annualised premium across 15 SME lines, in conjunction

with 1,200 brokers and 13 insurers. Our new strategy is to offer key brokers free, branded, quote-and-buy B2C websites, a progression

Chris Guillaume

that’s only possible with technology from Open GI.” Chris Guillaume adds that PowerPlace and Open GI are a natural fit together. “Our strategy is a simple one: build on the existing benefits PowerPlace offers to brokers whilst providing access to new distribution channels for the whole market. In parallel we'll be enabling insurers to control, manage and distribute their products via a web-based, PowerPlace underwriting solution. This will enable them to build once and distribute to

Nick Giddings

multiple channels. For the low premium, low margin SME sub-sector this will take PowerPlace to the next level and further cement it as the standard for SME trading.”

An industry or a profession? I

P’s contributor Jamie Marchant posed the above question on page 9 in the April 2013 edition of Insurance People.

Dear Editor, by Jamie In reference to the article e that stat to have d woul I , Marchant . stry indu an is e insuranc e are As with all industry, ther we must professionals involved, and with recognise this to be the case r industries, insurance. But as with othe minority. It the professionals are in the employ the needs the industrialists to onals to make vast number of non-professi the products available. insurer CEOs I am more than happy to hear as long as we refer to “our industry” just the loss professionals, the brokers, within this assessors, the actuaries etc. s and dard industry maintain our stan promote our professionalism. one step further In fact I would take this falsely not ld shou we that e and stat essional, prof not are who e thos promote one gets fit bene the ing tify iden clearly for onal essi prof a to g rrin from refe ng from the advice, versus simply buyi factory gate. Kind regards Ian Mantel, Director Manor Insurance, Hastings

Jamie Marchant writes: It's always great to get feedback and it's kind of Ian to add his views to what continues to be an interesting debate. I should add that there's been some very positive responses too, and only recently someone contacted me via Twitter to say how much they agreed with me - so I guess everyone's entitled to their opinion. For what it's worth, (and I suspect from Ian's comments he might concur) I do think the insurance business needs to continue to sharpen up its act. In my view, all insurance firms and their people should look to demonstrate their professionalism by aspiring to Chartered status, and only in this way will we finally be able to truly convince customers that we deserve such elevated status. Pleasingly, interest across the sector seems to be on the rise, with the number of Chartered brokers increasing 40% since the beginning of last year. In addition, 30 insurers (including nine out of the UK's top ten) have now signed the market's Aldermanbury Declaration - so things are clearly looking up. At a practical level this means that many, many thousands of insurance employees across 500 locations are now being guided by the necessary technical standards and influenced by appropriate behaviours and ethics too. As a very proud Fellow and Chartered Insurer I can probably agree with Ian that much more still needs to be done. But a decent and committed effort is certainly being made to boost the market's professionalism. And for me it's enough to continue to promote insurance as a profession to be valued and respected. MAY 2013 insurancepeople 7

market talk New signing for Thomas Carroll Accolade for IP Editor

Former Chelsea signing for Thomas Carroll T

homas Carroll Group has further strengthened its sporting connections among its staff. Former Wales and British Lions rugby stars Brynmor Williams and Robert Jones are both directors, and are now joined by Geza Hajgato who becomes an account executive in the commercial insurance division. A former Welsh Football League player/coach, Geza was a trainee at Chelsea where he roomed with John Terry. He was later on the books of Cardiff City for 18 months. Leaving the fulltime game in 2000, he decided upon a career in

insurance, specifically in the motor trade, construction and general commercial insurance. He joins from Morgan Brokers where he operated throughout South Wales and the South West. Brynmor Williams is a group board director primarily responsible for client relationship management and business development. Both during and after his rugby days, he maintained a full-time career, spending the first sixteen years as a manager in the building society sector. He continues his rugby involvement as a commentator and studio analyst for S4C, BBC, and

Editor shortlisted in BIBA awards Brian Susman writes:


am delighted to be able to report that our esteemed Editor, Andrew Newman, has been shortlisted in the Trade Feature Award section of the BIBA Journalist of the Year Awards, 2013. Andrew's article in our March edition, headed “In the Oflag”, which gave a fascinating insight into the way prisoners-of-war continued with CII studies while behind barbed wire

8 insurancepeople MAY 2013

during World War II, rightly grabbed the judges' attention. An insurance man through and through – he's just received recognition from the CII for his 50 years as a qualified Fellow of the Institute – Andrew brings many years' experience in the insurance company market, with the likes of National Employers Mutual, Cornhill, and Drake Insurance, and as many years in insurance journalism, to his

Real Radio and is well known in business and sporting events as an afterdinner speaker. He has worked in insurance since 1985 and joined Thomas Carroll in 2006. Another after dinner speaking circuit entertainer is regional director Robert Jones, MBE. He joined Thomas Carroll in 2009 taking responsibility for the new Swansea office. His more recent experience in professional rugby was as a coach for Llanelli Scarlets. The majority of his rugby career was spent with Swansea, before going on to represent Wales and the British Lions. His MBE was authoritative writing as IP Editor. Just one snag. He won't be there in early July for the “And the winner is…” day. He's already booked a bit of holiday to visit family in Canada at that time. But IP will be represented, in the expectation of having to collect his award for him, continuing an outstanding record for the IP team in the

flag In the O Editor by The

dthis han a look at g Take a d depictin e. postcar al scen drawn tion l semi-rur peacefu VII-B’ cap not ‘Oflag ht Only the the scene mig s g’ was suggest UK. (An ‘Ofla camp be in the an POW Germ 2 a WW shown) y Esq FCII ior British 13 ers). card (not W Humphre for offic The Sen B, postmarked rse of the ed to E comes from reve VII The it rlager address ry and g it to be ef-Offizie be takin reveals in Aldermanbu ung, Kriegsg already s at the CII Lager-Bezeichn will now s, or clue at lications message Officer the imp 1943. hidden ping er t codes, such a Novemb e readers gras ing. Wha ponder the k home? So, thos the draw for those bac place to freedom and at sant look of plea If you a closer sketch conceal Library is a rced lack s ago. CII the enfo 70 year future could the day, the reminder of the ured y with end On a sunna significant to convey the call, ecessors and our pred answered ld you contrive puzzle, that some of having e wou broker of hop haven’t iter or hardship t message underwr If you still ting for ds. were an but certain, wha the clou be more uplif e? look at ld anything ple back hom tted it, t else cou ady spo n. Wha to the peo n’t alre ide dow If you havethe page ups turn e? incial, seen it, back hom eral, Prov ential, tutes rt & Gen the folks CII Insti ins, Prud rpool Transpo in well ick Coll tence of barbed wire Live he exis 2 Sedgew Caledonian, stry was NFU. the WW 1943-45 was , rance indu an FCII con land, and trac in behind insu Bea ths Italy be New Zea re was And the a few mon any and ves can ACIIs from t d The Victoria VII

minees ed CII exa l horror Season occasiona n atio recall the I Examin in the “CI known” s I have exam Centre ing an tak But genre. guest of ag as a in an Ofl 2 surely zis in WW re Na the , the me ses say toes in surpas ten frostbit threat of dra g Alexan don in a freezin North Lon 3 in Palace 196 ths of the ades the dep dec just two winter, about to events after the ted be rela


Geza Hajgato (right) with Brynmor Williams

awarded in 1996 for his services to rugby. He maintains his involvement through media work and is a regular contributor to BBC Scrum V and BBC Radio 5 Live. BIBA Journalist of the Year Awards – though modesty forbids me from saying just who it was received the ultimate accolade (twice) in the past! Editor’s Note: The Susman modesty is perhaps natural enough. After all, one doesn’t like to overdo it, does one? The fact is Mr Brian Susman won this Award twice!! – once in 1990 and again in 1995. And… we’re not talking about the Trade Press prize. It was the whole shooting match… BIBA Journalist of the Year… sweeping aside all the nationals, weeklies… everyone. Well done Brian.

BIBA back to London

in association with

Stirring claims day at Sterling What classic gems lurk under the pile?

Stop press on BIBA 2013: Back in the capital Sterling Claims Day T

he BIBA Conference comes back to town on 15-16 May and I quizzed one of the many veterans of numerous BIBA conferences David Ross, director of communications at the CII, for his thoughts.

After two years in Manchester, this year’s BIBA event returns to London and Excel. I must say that I much prefer being in the vibrantly beating heart of Manchester than the relatively soulless London docklands. The advantage of Manchester is that outside of the venue itself the industry comes together socially and you get a genuine feeling of being part of something that extends beyond your own organisation. Walking through a hotel bar you’ll see the great and the good of the profession – many of them fierce competitors – sharing a

David Ross

drink and chatting away. It’s a reminder that first and foremost this remains a people business. With the pressure on costs I suspect this year’s BIBA will be a more sedate affair. In recent years BIBA appears to have grown up a lot. The days of stands populated with bikini-clad girls seem to have gone and exhibitors are being increasingly creative in their stand designs. The quality of the speakers and the fringe sessions are also much improved. Even the CII has upped its game with the opportunity to play the professional snooker player Steve Davis at pool and to sit in a DeLorean from the Back to the Future movie proving that you have to work hard to attract delegates to your stand. This year though I suspect the expenditure that has been steadily increasing in recent years will plateau and the stands themselves will be more conservative. Yet with a conference programme brimming with fascinating and thought provoking presentations, seminars and sessions I’m looking forward to a great two days. Please come along for a chat, we’d love to see you.

The CII can be found at stand A41, next to BIBA’s stand and media zone


day out in Kent took place just before this edition of IP closed for press. Sterling Insurance hosted a claims conference on 19th April 2013 with over 100 brokers, exhibitors, and staff in attendance. A fuller report will have to wait for next time, but just space to cite Sterling’s head of property & liability claims Garry Simmons for Quote of the Conference: “Just because a loss adjuster has a string

Garry Simmons

of an alphabet after his name, doesn't mean he knows how to talk to customers."

Oh! And a warning from a modern soothsayer. Watch out for stormy weather in the fourth week of May! More on this next month…if it comes true.

What’s under the scrap metal mountain?


ere’s a teaser for all classic car and motor cycle nutters – an insurance sector renowned for being infected with a range of enthusiasm for the ‘subject matter of the insurance’ that you won’t see in many other classes. Imagine a 100 foot high mountain of scrap metal, built solely to wait for prices to rise. Some of them existed for years. Here’s the punch line. Prices rise, the mountain is demolished. Inspired by the (as yet apparently unproven) existence of as-new Spitfires buried in Burma, what ‘classic’ classic would you

love to find, intact at the bottom of the pile? A pre-war Singer? A 1940s Lea-Francis? A 1930 Morris Minor, or a Daimler Regency perhaps? And it doesn’t just apply to cars. Speaking recently with an aviation enthusiast in Lloyd's on this theme, he plumped for an original 1917 Sopwith Camel in a crate. And a steam locomotive fan broking boiler business in the heritage sector opted for ‘2750’ – a sister loco to the preserved Flying Scotsman “and just as famous as the Scotsman in its 1930s’ heyday”. MAY 2013 insurancepeople 9

market talk in association with

Flood - Time is running out “Innovation is being stifled”

Flood – how has it come to this? W

hatever the good and evils about youngsters spending their lives at computer games, the one major life-lesson they learn – at least from the ‘civilisation strategy’ genre – is to sort your priorities. When building your ‘empire’ always build your flood defences before, say, a millennium dome ‘wonder’ or a controversial high speed railway duplicating existing routes. The question of the Government’s apparent lack of urgency on flood prevention was recently taken up by AA Insurance, who remind that the decision to end the flood agreement in June this year was taken five years ago! “No flood cover solution in sight as time runs out,” was the AA Insurance headline following the Secretary of State’s warning that flood insurance legislation was unlikely before Spring 2014, while giving evidence to the Select Committee on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on Tuesday 26 March 2013. Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, says that while the Secretary of State confirmed that the Government is determined to reach a solution and that intensive talks with the ABI continue, no clue was offered as to what that solution might look like. “And whatever conclusion is reached would require

10 insurancepeople MAY 2013

Simon Douglas

primary legislation, unlikely before Spring 2014. “In the interim, the Secretary said that it may be necessary to ‘continue the statement of principles as a temporary measure’. But the ‘principles’ do not impose a cap on price, and it’s affordable insurance that’s needed, otherwise homes most at risk of flooding will become un-mortgageable and impossible to sell. Already there are homes where the flood excess is over £10,000. “I really feel for those who, through no fault of their own, are living in places that are becoming more prone to flooding,” adds Douglas. “It’s not as if there hasn’t been plenty of time to come up with an answer - five years!” Simon Douglas believes the ABI’s ‘Flood Re’ solution is the best way forward, but points out that this requires a government ‘overdraft’ to fund any major flood event that might happen soon after a deal is struck. This could cost up to £3bn. “The government has previously made it clear that it is not

willing to sign such a blank cheque, but it’s hard to see what other option there might be. If left to market forces, thousands of homes would effectively be uninsurable with obvious consequences for their value and mortgageability. It’s vital that the Government shares some of the burden of a risk that its own chief scientist

has warned will only increase.” Editor’s footnote: Three billion pounds? The HS2 link is estimated at over ten times that amount. Looks like the computer gamers building their virtual empires possess a much wider understanding of getting your priorities in shape than the politicians.

Where’s the élan gone? T

he “Our people are our greatest asset” credo took a bit of a bashing during the month. It wasn’t just from Aviva announcing its 2,000 job cuts. The vibes among middle and lower senior management in some of the other big companies have become discernible, not necessarily in print, but in just talking with people involved in this crisis. It’s clear cutbacks, budget reductions, and the desire for low profile in some boardrooms are restricting line management in what they can, and can’t do. To be added in is the alleged suppression of innovative action imposed by regulation and compliance.

Overheard:● ● ● ●

“There’s a lot of unhappy people in [the company] at the moment” “Innovation is being stifled. Anything with a smack of élan in it is on hold” “There’s a lot of cowering in the bunker in our boardroom” “None of us can make a move without getting an all-clear from [overseas] – which takes ages, if it even comes through at all”

But insurance people are nothing if not resilient, and one respondent said on a relatively more optimistic note, “Although I’m twiddling my thumbs at the moment, at least I haven’t had to reapply for my own job this time round – yet!”

customer service

Patience is a virtue

Contact centre staff should always be the frontline heroes of insurance claims, capable of handling difficult situations and customers often in shock, with calming helpfulness and patience. Claire Church explains how excellence can be delivered when it comes to broken windscreens and car theft


t happens on a regular basis the moment when a claims advisor answers a call from a distressed customer in shock after witnessing a windscreen cracking whilst they are driving, or having a side window smashed by thieves. Anxious, stressed and inconvenienced, our customers aren’t in the mood to talk. But it’s a claims handler’s job to expertly tease out information, while providing sympathy and, in some cases, a metaphorical shoulder to cry on. With the correct training, advisors are taught to understand each unique caller’s situation and, more importantly, also understand

the distress which a customer is feeling. We put ourselves in their shoes. How would you feel if your windscreen cracked from top to bottom as you sped down the M1 at 70mph? Terrified, most likely! The difference between good and excellent call handling is patience and the adoption of a positive approach. The main aim is always customer satisfaction, calming the customer and explaining what’s going to happen next. Despite temptations to try to meet call targets, teams are trained never to rush. Listening to customers, using our ears, and responding appropriately is essential and shows caring. The


old adage, patience is a virtue, is true! While glass forms only a small percentage of motor claims, it’s important that the insurance industry understands the shock customers experience in relation to automotive glazing damage. Glass awareness training days for external organisations help provide the knowledge, understanding, and skills needed to assist the customer journey and claims experience. In turn it is hoped that this will better help insurance claims teams to support those customers who have gone through a more unnerving, perhaps even traumatic, vehicle glass-related incident.

Don’t let claims become a headache Handling motor claims internally can be costly, time consuming and a real headache. Choosing the wrong company can worsen your symptoms too. That’s why we’ve developed our claims business to become the perfect remedy. We tailor our processes to suit you. We don’t complicate – we compliment. Our staff are warm friendly and knowledgeable and we offer a wide choice of services with online claims access through Spyglass and additional product access via Brokernet. So call us now and speak to Alex Dolman, Head of Internal Sales & Development on 01827 308663 or email

We would be delighted to become your choice of claims partner. MAY 2013 insurancepeople 11



The Man for the Job Any surprises at BIBA’s choice to go in-house for its new Chief Executive would have been dispelled very quickly by Steve White’s CV. Experience with a broker-only insurer, coupled with an extensive spell in the regulatory field, topped off with recent years working within BIBA itself, finely-tailor his credentials for the role AN: You take over from Eric Galbraith on 1st May. A tough act to follow. SW: Yes, Eric has taken BIBA to a level that it’s never reached before. One of his achievements was to give the CEO role a much higher profile than it had in the past. And that, of course, may have made the succession more interesting to the outside world than it may have been on previous occasions! AN: Was it a surprise to you? SW: It was a pleasant surprise. But I had put my hand up awhile ago to say that if the time came when the business was prepared to take an internal candidate seriously - knowing that BIBA had never done that before - then I would be interested. AN: As an in-house appointee, what additional strengths do you believe that brings to the role? 12 insurancepeople MAY 2013

SW: Eric introduced an executive function beneath the chief exec role. That was new. And he gave that executive (which included myself and Graeme Trudgill) the authority and the licence to get on with the job. AN: So having been involved very closely with everything going on, it seems the only new thing relates to your new title? SW: Yes, absolutely. From a European perspective as participants in BIPAR, I have been wearing out a lot of shoe leather over the past five years ironing out the various European stances, and arriving at positions where our European colleagues and ourselves all agree as the way forward. AN: So plenty of trips to Brussels? SW: Yes, BIBA President Andy Homer sits on the BIPAR

Management Committee. I sit on their Directors’ Committee, which meets every other month. AN: What particular issues are involved? SW: Well, the revision of the Insurance Mediation Directive for one. We’re currently at the point where the proposed text is being debated, at Council and Parliament level. And we’re absolutely up to speed with all the issues. At the European level, all the European intermediaries now have the same opinion on each part of the revision. That makes lobbying a lot clearer because the messages are coming from just one source. The most important organ in lobbying is the ear, not the mouth. Lobbying is all about what the ear hears. And on the IMD revision that’s exactly what the politicians are hearing from the intermediary sector across Europe – the same voice, the same message. And

Steve White has worn out a lot of shoe leather over the past five years liaising with BIBA’s European colleagues on the Directors’ Committee at BIPAR – and there’s still around 20 Directives to be finalised!

that’s thanks to five years of hard graft, ironing out the wrinkles, and reaching a position that we all agree on. That’s progress. And of course it’s not just the IMD that’s going on in Europe. There’s probably now just over 20 Directives undergoing design or review that will directly, or indirectly, impact insurance brokers. And it’s so important for our members that their views get into that process.

AN: And what about broking issues back here at home? SW: It’s the same on all the domestic issues. The compensation scheme, the change of regulator, client money, financial crime etc. BIBA thrives on its ability to talk to its members; to take their views; and to mould them into lobbying positions. It works really well for us.

AN: Exactly how do you involve BIBA members in that process?

AN: Talking of domestic issues, what’s the BIBA stance on getting more brokers to go for chartered status?

SW: We do a lot of work around our regions with informal compliance forums. We sit down around a table behind closed doors with our members. We explain the issues that are coming. We get their feedback, and use that to mould into BIBA’s lobbying position.

SW: Well, Eric Galbraith sits on the Faculty of Insurance Broking board, and has been a champion for the chartered concept. I intend to take a place on that board. I certainly believe chartered status is a differentiator. It differentiates the professional insurance broker from others that the regulator allows to

transact insurance business, and others whom insurance companies allow to sell their products. There’s a force of nature at play here. I don’t want to force people down that line, but there’s a natural migration towards chartered status. I don’t think it’s the be-all-and-endall of everything, because behaviour is fundamentally important. We’re looking within our strategic review as to what role there is for BIBA in terms of a code of ethics or a code of conduct for our members – all the time making sure that from a behavioural point of view we are doing everything we can. AN: So there’s plenty to be done. Looking forward to it? SW: Yes, indeed. And very much to working with Graeme Trudgill and the rest of the BIBA team to continue to drive the organisation forward.

Steve White At age 17 Steve White cast an eye at sports journalism, but opted to join Guardian Royal Exchange where he spent 21 years before moving on to Orion Insurance in 1978, where he stayed until it closed in 1999 after purchase by GRE. He then joined the General Insurance Standards Council (GISC) followed by a stint at the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the high-street firms division. He joined BIBA in 2004 as Regulation and Compliance Manager and later became Head of Compliance and Training, and in doing so created a role in helping brokers understand how to comply with regulation. He sits on the Directors' Committee of BIPAR (the European Federation of Insurance Intermediaries) and also on the Ministry of Justice's Claims Management Regulatory Consultative Group.

MAY 2013 insurancepeople 13

art & collectables


Coveted treasures People like to collect things that please their eye – and they do so with a passion possibly greater than that they apply to most of their other possessions. That fervour rubs off on others, not least those responsible for providing the insurance cover for such coveted treasures. The Editor chats with Markel’s art and collectables specialists, Richard and Lynden Norman, who between them have over 30 years’ experience of the sector AN: Is it true that recession never hits the UK art and collectables market as hard as other sectors? R&L: It may not be true of every recession that’s hit the UK art and collectables market, but we think it is true of this recession. Art is a worldwide international business and there is new money out there, specifically from China, Russia, and the South American countries. But probably more so, as far as this recession is concerned, is the fact that it stems from the banking industry. People are moving their money away from banks and low interest rates, into more tangible assets. So on the collectors’ side, even more so than with art, we would suggest that factor is making the market quite buoyant! AN: From which distribution channel do you obtain your business? R&L: All our business comes from brokers. As the UK based retail 14 insurancepeople MAY 2013

arm of Markel International we possess a strong distribution channel. Our challenge is to identify and support brokers who currently, or would like to, trade in art and collectables insurance. In our market there are some very professional companies out there doing some very good things. Each one has its favourite area of business, and where we might differ from our competitors is that it’s mainly high street brokers and the broker networks that we deal with. Whilst we work with a number of art specialists our brokers don’t have to necessarily be art experts as we have the expertise to support them in placing business they may otherwise turn away. AN: And to what extent is that business broken down between individual collectors as opposed to galleries and museums etc? R&L: It really breaks down into three sectors. Firstly there are individual collectors, who can be

personal or corporate. Then there’s the commercial side of the business who can be dealers and auctioneers. Finally there’s the not-for-profit businesses such as museums and trusts. There are many of the latter, particularly charitable organisations and types of association who are interested in holding a collection, but not being part of selling and dealing. As far as our book is concerned, on a numbers basis we have a 50/50 split between collectors and the commercial/not for profit organisations. But from a premium point of view the latter makes up 70% of the premium because of the type of risk they present. And they tend to pay more premium. AN: How serious is the situation when individual clients believe they can cover their items on their home contents cover? You must have come across many negative client experiences? R&L: We think it’s a serious problem for individual collectors. A


household policy simply does not protect their items in the way that is necessary. The main reason is that replacement costs forming the bedrock of a normal contents policy simply don’t cover art and collectables. The fact that something is a work of art normally means it’s unique and irreplaceable. So to go out and try to replace it just doesn’t work. AN: What about underinsurance? How do you go about ensuring that sums insured are accurate? R&L: Underinsurance is one of the things which is quite difficult to deal with. It’s down to the basis of valuation. For a corporate or private collector we would have an itemised schedule, even though that schedule might change quite considerably over time via buying and selling which is one of the things we need to take into account. But once we have that schedule there are three ways we can look at it. There’s our own general knowledge; the opportunity to research (the internet can be useful), and our own library and database; or we can refer to the best available market experts. AN: As we know, business reputation in this sector always stands or falls when there’s a claim. How important are, for instance, expert restoration services and sympathetic handling? Is a claim an opportunity to shine?

Total loss? Only one thing to do - pay out in full as soon as possible

Regional brokers can access more art opportunities than they might think

R&L: I think that sums it up quite well. It doesn’t really matter what we do at the front end, other than the strength of the wordings and perhaps some help with avoiding losses. But the claim is our opportunity to shine, as you say. That’s the time when the insured is suffering, because that’s what happens with art and collectables. People do enjoy what they own, whether they are museums or dealers or private collectors. Claims are areas where you have to be particularly sympathetic. And the best way of being sympathetic is to handle the claim quickly and in a way that will assist with the loss. And one of those ways is to place the item into the hands of the best restorers. Restoration is a whole subject in itself ranging from coins and stamps to models and artwork. Get the restoration done properly, and pay any depreciation quickly and positively – something that is always going to have happened after any restoration. Where there’s a total loss there’s only one thing to do pay out in full as soon as possible.

AN: Having both worked in general insurance for some time before moving across to the art world, what main difference do you see between the two markets? R&L: Without doubt it’s the sheer passion that owners, and indeed everyone in this market, has for the subject. It’s a fervour you don’t get with many other household possessions. There’s a keen interest right across the board which you find with pretty much everyone you work with. It’s something which catches you. Collecting art can capture the interest. You can come into it from any direction. It’s amazing how many people do start to collect. Everyone seems to be collecting something. And there’s a very big industry out there. Go to any town in the country and you will find a certain level of dealers, a certain number of artists, and arts centres. And regional brokers will find a lot more art opportunities in their own locale than they think is out there. It’s a pleasure to be involved in the art industry as a whole, even if we are only just a small part of it.

Richard Norman’s 35 year career includes 27 years dealing in art and specialising for the last 13 in art and collectables. Lynden Norman has seven years experience, and is a former IT and operational systems specialist, moving later into claims, then underwriting. As managing agents trading as Quay Underwriting, the pair worked with Markel exclusively for five years, provided specialist art insurance policies using capacity provided by the Swedish office of Markel International. The next logical step was then for both Markel and Quay Underwriting to align their respective specialist knowledge, security, capability, and market presence. Markel bought the Quay Underwriting renewal book and Richard and Lynden joined the Markel team in January 2012. Their challenge is to identify brokers within the existing distribution channel who currently, or wish to, trade in fine art/art & collectables insurances, whilst supporting existing and new art specialist brokers. MAY 2013 insurancepeople 15

“The ones that got away”

This episode features a man who reached the age of 98, having evaded “capture” right from the outset. His father was an insurance broker and expected his son to follow in his footsteps. But the son had other ideas…

Stuart Freeborn 1914-2013


orn in the same Leytonstone suburb as Alfred Hitchcock, Stuart Freeborn showed early promise as an artist, and had no intention of joining his father as an insurance broker at Lloyd’s. Taking a series of jobs to pay for cinema tickets and supplies, he watched Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney, and taught himself to recreate the make-up designs at home. Attempts to get work with test photos and spec letters failed, as did sneaking into the studios. So he made himself up as Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie; tipped off The Times; and had himself driven around Beckenham until detained by the constabulary. A risky strategy, but it got him a job at Alexander Korda’s prestigious Denham Studios. His earliest work includes 1937’s Wings of the Morning, the first British film to be shot in full Technicolor, and he remained at cinema’s cutting edge for the rest of his career. When war intervened, he trained as a pilot before contracting Asian flu and being diagnosed with haemophilia. But he still found time to create prosthetics, including a distinctive pot belly, for Powell and Pressburger's The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. The most famous early work was for David Lean, recreating Alec Guinness as Fagin in Oliver Twist. Accusations of anti Semitism saw the film banned

16 insurancepeople MAY 2013

outright in New York, but the part-Jewish Freeborn insisted that the look was a toned down version of the original Cruikshank illustrations. His second Lean/Guinness collaboration, The Bridge on the River Kwai, was even more traumatic as Freeborn almost died in a car crash while filming in Sri Lanka. He worked frequently with Peter Sellers, often having to make the star up for several roles in each film, most notably in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove. This in turn led to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, where he assembled a team of artists including his wife Kay and son Graham, to create dozens of prehistoric ape men. Such was Stuart’s artistry that when a special make-up Oscar was presented to the same year’s Planet of the Apes, Daniel Richter, 2001’s lead ape performer, wondered whether the judges had passed over 2001 “…because they thought we used real apes.” Freeborn worked on The Omen, 10 Rillington Place and many others, before landing key roles on two film series which would redefine the cinema - Superman and Star Wars. The two films showcase the breadth of his skills, from such subtle effects as Superman and Clarke Kent parting their hair on opposite sides, to designing the eight foot tall “walking carpet” Chewbacca. In The Empire Strikes Back, his magnum opus was the diminutive Jedi master Yoda. Director Irving Kershner saw him as “a nine foot bearded Moses,” but Stuart Freeborn had other ideas. “He’s 500 years old. It’s a high intelligence he’s got. So what do I do modelling-wise to make it look like he’s highly intelligent? I look in the mirror…” Creature ears and a muzzle resembling Einstein’s moustache completed the design, but the similarity to Freeborn remains, even in Yoda’s later computer generated incarnations. Stuart Freeborn presided over a vanished era in which cinema effects were physical rather than digital. The product of trial and error, engineering and ingenuity. Retiring in 1990, his career spanned seven decades and several continents, but his creations went from the dawn of man to the end of time and several universes across. So how did he get away from a career in insurance? What excuse satisfied his insurance broking father? Simple - “I don’t want to spend my life in an office.”

Following on from last month, the Reg Brown postcard collection takes us back once again to 11 Lombard St. E.C. in London to the office of Guardian Insurance in May 1914 Waitresses at 11 Lombard St

Third Mess at 11 Lombard St


epicted here, the Guardian Insurance waitress team comprising Miss Lawrence, Miss Moore, Miss Sunaway, and Miss Wilkes. The latter appears in the earlier photos, adopting an apparent supervisory role. Although Miss Wilkes bossed the Mess, it was Miss Sunaway who “arranged” the director’s dining room upstairs. IP’s Ladies’ Hair Fashion consultant informs that the 1914 styles stem from the Edwardian ‘pompadour’ era, and the last echoes of the need to support enormous hats. Hence that era’s “Ladies please remove hats” theatre signs.


ast month in this series we saw “First Mess” sitting down for their lunch at a civilised 12.45pm. The unfortunates in “Third Mess” had to wait until 2.30pm before they could eat. We don’t know the names of any of the diners (or, indeed what became of them before the year was out given that World War One was only three months away) but a good guess can be made as to the identity of at least one of the waitresses. The one on the right features prominently in the “Lunch Mess” series. Could she be Miss Wilkes as featured in the next postcard?

The Kitchen at 11 Lombard St


eanwhile, below stairs in the Kitchen we see Elsie; Annie, the Chief Cook; an unnamed Assistant Cook, and Dora Sunaway. That’s not a common name, and matches up with the previous postcard. Mother and daughter perhaps? The ancestry websites mention a number of Sunaway’s residing in Barking, Essex at this time, suggesting the pair could have been Fenchurch Street commuters? A wild, age-related, guess suggests the 28 year-old waitress in the above photo could have been a Clara Sunaway. MAY 2013 insurancepeople 17

market cycle


to blame “if theWho’s price and terms aren't right?

Soft markets need harder thinking Ten years ago the last soft cycle wrecked the commercial market. “It must never happen again!” was the cry. Jamie Marchant fears that the hard lessons may have already been forgotten


nd so the cycle slowly begins to turn again; and at long last, players in the UK's commercial insurance sector are starting to see sense and respond to their latest lengthy (and rather expensive) losing streak. The strong words that have been heard from insurer CEOs over the past few years are slowly morphing into a series of actions designed to cut costs and improve profitability. In addition to incremental renewal increases that have been applied over recent times, insurers are toughening up and returning rapidly to the underwriting discipline that has been so sadly lacking. Finally, they appear to be biting the bullet and focusing attention on the sanity of the bottom line in preference to the vanity of growth. The rhetoric now is all about 'profit' as stressed underwriters scramble to rebalance books ravaged by years of cut-throat competition, dual pricing and expensive reward packages. According to recent headlines it appears the insurance broking community will now be in the firing line and among the first to suffer for a lack of prudence in the insurer sector. Instead of the buck stopping with underwriters, it seems some are now keen to pass it on. Already a lack of profitability is forcing them to retrench and after 18 insurancepeople MAY 2013

years of decentralising to the regions to boost broker relationships, decision making is slowly being pulled back to head office to allow more control and rationalise decision making. And now in addition to the inevitable (and sometimes hefty) increases in premium that will need to be explained carefully to hard pressed, recession-struck business clients, some brokers can also expect to bear the pain of pressure on their income streams as carriers rein in commission and other types of reward. In some instances, the very continuance of hard won business relationships might be threatened. Yet surely it's the highly paid, expert underwriters within the insurer sector who set the rates and agree the reward structures? Aren't they also supported by a heavyweight team of expensive actuaries and risk control professionals whose role it is to help make accurate decisions on pricing and acceptance? If the price and terms aren't right, don't they only have themselves to blame? Of course, brokers have played their part during this latest soft market by keeping up the pressure. But isn't it their job to keep insurers on their toes and extract the best deals for their customers, whilst ensuring their own reward is commensurate with the business placed and the work involved?


o as the commercial insurance market begins again the process of a painful return to reality, perhaps it's time for a re-evaluation of the way in which the various market participants work together. Boom and bust pricing and the inevitable effects of the traditional insurance cycle assists no-one and it needs to be replaced with an alternative that can help smooth the peaks and troughs of profitability, boost productivity and treat customers more fairly. Clearly the growing reliance on technology offers potential for greater control but for all the talk of 'partnerships' between brokers and insurers, much closer liaison is obviously still needed to help identify better ways of working to avoid such painful and repetitive outcomes. Certainly brokers understand the need for the insurer community to turn a profit and they're pretty realistic about what's needed. They've spoken regularly about the necessity for greater consistency and longer term thinking. Ten years ago, the market was devastated by the last soft cycle and everyone agreed that it must never happen again. Obviously the hard lessons have not been learned. So as the general insurance market assembles once again for the annual BIBA Conference, let's hope that some of the action and 'hard talking' that has been mooted recently is coupled with some even harder, newer thinking. Because the old way of doing things needs to change.



Brightside profits up 28.7%


eporting on results for the year to the end of 2012, Brightside gives the following financial highlights: Revenue increased to £91.2m (2011: £80.4 m), up 13.4%; profit before tax increased to £17.5m (2011: £13.6m), up 28.7%; EBITDA before exceptional other income and share based payments charges increased to £22.5m (2011: £18.5m), up 21.6; earnings per share increased to 2.78p (2011: 2.05p), up 35.6%. The recommended final dividend is 0.28p per share. Operational highlights include: Total insurance policy sales increased to 465,726 (2011: 444,189), up 4.8%; annual Insurance policy sales increased to 400,210 (2011: 357,261), up 12.0%; premium finance funding of new loans increased to £167.0m (2011: £135.3m), up 23.42%.

200% increase in use of “Find a Broker” service


IBA is reporting a 200% increase in calls and web hits to its “Find a Broker” service in the year since government and the insurance industry initiated a signposting agreement for older motorists and travellers to help them find insurance cover. Newly released figures indicate that over 43,000 enquirers were put in touch with specialist brokers for the type of policy they were looking for. Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Sajid Javid MP comments, “The Government, ABI and BIBA have worked closely over the last year to make sure that this scheme makes a real difference to older people seeking the right insurance for them. We will continue to monitor the scheme to make sure that the insurance industry meets its commitments.”

ABI warns on travel cover


he ABI is warning that uninsured British travellers who fall ill on holiday this summer “ … could face an average extra £900 holiday bill”. The association points out that every week travel insurers deal with nearly 5,000 claims from travellers who have fallen ill abroad, paying out £4.5 million. But one in four still holiday abroad without travel insurance protection, with 16% mistakenly believing that the UK government will pay for medical treatment abroad. For those travelling in Europe, says the ABI, there remains a significant lack of understanding on the need to have, in addition to travel insurance, a European Health Insurance Card. ABI research shows that 46% did not know that the EHIC entitles them to state-provided healthcare, with 56% unaware that the card has be renewed every five years.

Glass training for 1st Central at Auto Windscreens


he claims team at 1st Central Insurance Management has enjoyed a session of repairing chipped windscreens and writing with sealant guns as part of a new hands-on training scheme run by Auto Windscreens, which aims to give insurance customers a better understanding of what is involved in the repair process. Auto Windscreens’ national sales manager Helen Meacock led the course and says it is designed “ … to engage claims teams using a real hand-on approach where they learn how to fix glass, use sealant guns and test their knowledge”. MAY 2013 insurancepeople 19



Arc commercial policy trading platform A

s part of its growth strategy in the commercial protection market, Arc Legal Assistance has launched a trading platform for commercial legal expenses, and reports that Towergate Insurance – Marine, the retail marine division of Towergate, and Gallagher Heath Insurance Services have signed up to use it. Legal for Business is an online commercial legal

expenses quote and policy management system. Brokers can obtain quotes, bind cover and service policies and renewals via Arc Legal’s new client portal accessed through its website, Legal for Business is Arc Legal’s first move into non-scheme commercial legal expenses business and the company says it will play a key role in the growth of its commercial

market presence. In 2012 Arc Legal saw its policy base double and reached net premium income of nearly £3 million. Director Richard Finan says, “The investment in bringing Legal for Business to the market is an important step forward in our commercial business expansion strategy. It enables us to offer a wider product range to a growing customer base while

Richard Finan

ensuring we maintain the competitiveness and flexibility of our business model.”

Uninsured driver sentenced


woman who asked the motorist she had crashed into to lie on her behalf so that she could cover up that she was driving without insurance has been sentenced. Following a collision, the woman texted the other driver to request that they tell their insurer the accident occurred at a different time, as she had just upgraded her cover to comprehensive, allowing her to claim for the damage caused. In reality she was uninsured at the time of the crash and only bought cover from Hastings Direct after the collision. She later made a claim for damage.

New travel website for AXA

20 insurancepeople MAY 2013

The other motorist refused to co-operate and reported the actual time of the accident to their insurer and to Hastings Direct, who referred the claim to the City of London Police’s fraud enforcement department. At City of London Court the 32-year-old pleaded guilty to the two offences of fraud by false representation and driving without insurance. She was given a two-year conditional discharge for the former and was given six points on her driving licence and ordered to pay £320 in fine, costs and victim surcharge.


XA Direct & Partnerships has launched a new travel insurance website for customers with Lloyds TSB added value accounts. The online facility gives customers information about their insurance product and enables them to manage their insurance online, including the ability to make changes to cover and register a claim. They can also complete their medical screening online. Kirsty Walker, managing director, partnerships, AXA Direct & Partnerships, says, “With one in five adults in the UK owning a packaged bank account it’s essential that we, as an industry, help to make the management of these accounts as easy and transparent as possible. This website has been developed through working very closely with our partner Lloyds TSB and with the customer always in mind. We are proud to have further enhanced the customer journey by creating a smooth, intuitive and straightforward user experience.”

AXA motor trade deal with Aston Scott

DAS launches its own law firm



XA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary is to work in partnership with Aston Scott to underwrite its Roadrunner and Motor Trade Solutions brands, in an exclusive motor trade deal worth £10 million a year in GWP. The scheme, which will be 100% underwritten by AXA, is expected to increase the value of AXA’s business with Aston Scott to £15 million. Matthew Reed, managing director, commercial intermediary at AXA, says, “This is a significant deal and I am delighted that we will be extending our relationship with Aston Scott. We’ve built up a healthy and mutually rewarding partnership over the years. They represent exactly the type of strong, regional broker that we are eager to do business with. They are a great outfit and have the expertise and experience in this sector that we need to help satisfy our underwriting appetite in this area. There are also some obvious cross-selling opportunities that both parties are looking at and I am confident that our relationship will only grow from here.”

AS has announced the launch of its own law firm, DAS Law, following the acquisition of Bristol-based law firm, CW Law, earlier this year. Kathryn Mortimer, head of legal services for the DAS UK Group, has been appointed managing director of DAS Law, while remaining a member of the DAS UK Group management team and head of legal services. Kathryn Mortimer says, “Our first step has been the combining of the group’s existing 120 legally qualified staff and the 60 employees of CW Law to create the new

Kathryn Mortimer

firm, DAS Law. Future plans for the law firm include expanding on its existing expertise in personal injury and employment disputes to encompass more areas of law.”

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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.

MAY 2013 insurancepeople 21



FCA funding requirement of £432m T

he Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced an overall funding requirement for 2013/14 of £432.1m. The combined funding requirement for the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) is £646.3m, an increase of 15% over the FSA’s requirement for 2012/13. The minimum fee, currently paid by 42% of the FCA’s authorised

firms, remains unchanged at £1,000, with the increase borne most by the larger firms, “ … reflecting the resources applied to the intensive conduct and prudential supervision of high impact firms”. Martin Wheatley, chief executive of the FCA, says, “Our first year as a new regulator will be an exciting and challenging time but one for which we are well prepared. We are

introducing new approaches to the way we do much of our work, becoming much more proactive and consumer focussed. Much of the increase in AFR is the result of the additional resources needed to ensure the FCA delivers on its new objectives, as well as the practical costs of implementing the new regulatory structure. “The increases will be

borne mainly by larger and more complex groups with medium sized firms seeing a proportionate increase. We have, however, minimised the impact on smaller firms by keeping the minimum fee at £1,000 for the third year running. The FCA recognises the difficult economic circumstances for many firms and is committed to keeping any essential cost increases to a minimum.”

Allianz continues scholarship programme

Aon eight-year partnership with United



t a launch event held at the Chartered Insurance Institute headquarters in the City of London, Allianz Commercial welcomed the second intake of scholars selected for the 2013 Allianz Partner Academy Scholarship Programme. Allianz received a record number of applications with over 120 people applying for the 33 places. The successful applicants were joined by their broker sponsors and representatives from Allianz.

22 insurancepeople MAY 2013

Speaking at the event were Sandy Scott, chief executive officer, CII and Simon McGinn, director of broker markets, Allianz Commercial. Sandy Scott said, “The development of such schemes helps foster talent and ambitious individuals, demonstrate the attractiveness of a career in insurance and ensure the future success of not only the individuals taking part but the profession as a whole.”

anchester United and Aon have signed an eight-year extension to their partnership agreement, under which: the new Carrington training ground is to be named the Aon Training Complex; the club’s training kit will carry the Aon name; and Aon is to be “presenting partner” of Manchester United tours. In addition, the Manchester United Business Network is to work with Aon “ enhance partnership themes of talent development, health, risk management, retirement and data & analytics through a global programme”.

Antares profit of £16m


ntares Managing Agency has announced a profit of £16 million and a combined ratio of 91% in 2012 for its managed syndicate 1274. Its approved premium base increases from £177m to £204m for 2013. Managing director Steve Redmond comments, “While we have been fortuitous in that the claims environment was generally benign, we should not forget that 2012 included the most expensive ever marine loss for insurers in the form of Costa Concordia and one of the most expensive storm events ever, in the form of Superstorm Sandy. “While neither of these events has created an underwriting environment conducive to long term and sustainable rating improvements, I am confident that the new lines we have added, combined with the areas we have identified for growth in 2013, will ensure the continued profitable growth of Antares in the years to come.”

Two more purchases for CCV Zurich retains chartered Capital Ventures charity and private hire. status Cullum has announced the Steve Thorrington will remain acquisition of Morgan Brokers and its subsidiary M. Wood Insurance Services, based in the south-west of England and South Wales. CCV has also acquired Newbold Berwick Associates, based in Leamington Spa. Morgan Brokers was originally established in the 1950’s, with the holding company established in 1992 following a management buyout. The business has offices in Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Bridgend providing commercial and personal lines insurance to SME customers and niche markets including medical,

with the business as managing director along with all 40 staff. The business will form part of CCV’s south region, under the leadership of regional managing director, Joe Simmons. Newbold Barwick Associates is a wholly owned subsidiary of Higginbotham Egan Insurance Services. Managing director, Gerry Higginbotham, will continue with the business in a part time consultancy capacity. All remaining members of staff will continue under the leadership of Paul Twitchett, managing director of CCV Three Counties.


urich has announced that it has achieved Chartered Insurer status from the CII, across its general insurance operations, for the second year running, and claims to be the only UK-based composite insurer in possession of the title. The company currently has over 3,000 CII members working in its UK general insurance and global corporate UK businesses – almost double the number in 2011. Steve Lewis, CEO,

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Zurich, says, “Chartered Insurer is the gold standard in the insurance profession and achieving and retaining it recognises our expertise and professionalism. It demonstrates the high standards we set for ourselves to our customers and business partners. The status also allows us to up our game in the professional development of our employees to ensure we recruit and retain the most talented people.”


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Markerstudy promises memorable BIBA stand

Premium Credit chosen by FCA



ollowing two successful years at the BIBA exhibition alongside the annual conference, Markerstudy is not disclosing details of its 2013 offering at the BIBA London event. However, Lizzie Smith-Foreman, head of group marketing and communications, says, “Visitors to our stand are in for a treat – it’s our most ambitious yet and it’s what dreams are made of.” She adds, “Our business development team will be ‘in character’ alongside the Markerstudy directors and key people from our insurance and ancillary businesses. In addition to giving visitors a great opportunity to explore the ‘forest’ of niche products and services we now offer, we’ll be launching our brand new one-call customer concept at BIBA.”

Ageas Insurance Solutions moves to CDL Strata


ersonal lines broker Ageas Insurance Solutions has moved its largest motor insurance brand, Auto Direct, to the CDL Strata operating platform. As one of CDL’s longest standing customers, AIS has been using the Classic platform for a number of years and the decision to move to the Strata platform

was partly driven by a desire to provide Auto Direct customers with the ability to fully self service their insurance policies. The Strata platform provides customers with their own self-service portal where they can make any mid-term changes to policies and where all policy documentation is securely stored.

remium Credit has been awarded a three-year contract by the Financial Conduct Authority to provide facilities for FCA authorised firms, including insurance brokers, financial advisers, insurers, banks and others, to spread the costs of their regulatory fees across monthly instalments. The tender was won after presentations to the FSA and seven trade bodies covering banks, insurers, insurance brokers, professional advisers and small businesses. Roger Brown, head of new markets for Premium Credit, says, “Premium Credit has demonstrated a history of excellent service to the FSA, and we have used their feedback over the years to develop our product offering for regulated businesses. This will also shortly lead to a number of new developments including online digital application and signature. “Businesses regulated

by the new FCA will face steep rises in regulatory fees going forward: ● ● ●

Financial advisers: fee increase of 13% Fund managers: fee increase of 15.7% Mortgage brokers and home finance providers: fee increase of 11.7% General insurance brokers: fee increase of 14.6%

“Premium Credit can provide whatever funding is needed to assist these businesses in preserving working capital by spreading these increased fees over the licence period. This service has never been more relevant than today when SME’s in particular face extreme challenges in securing financing from banks in these tough economic times. Our service provides an unsecured solution, straightforward applications process, and quick approval times.”

Changing pattern among City occupiers A

report by real estate service company DTZ indicates that, in 2012, insurance companies accounted for 21% of City take-up of office space, compared with a fall in take-up in the financial sector to 17%. The company says that prime rents in the City are expected to remain stable in the near term, rising by around 5% per annum to £65 per sq ft by 2017. Activity in the insurance company sector has increased, says DTZ, as the sector “ … has become increasingly image conscious and consequently started looking at higher quality premises.”

24 insurancepeople MAY 2013

Increase in online art buying, says Hiscox

Balva banned from writing UK business



iscox research indicates that 71% of art collectors surveyed have bought artwork without seeing it in person first but based only a JPEG image. It also shows that a quarter of established collectors spend £50,000 or more in this way. Galleries are shown to be responding, with 89% of those surveyed saying they regularly sell art to clients using a digital image only. Robert Read, Hiscox head of fine art, says, “This research distils the views of collectors, galleries and the greater art community and it tells us that trading online is now an established and accepted way to buy and sell art. Increasing accessibility can only be a good thing, and we are seeing new players coming into the market from a range of territories, at all ages and price points, which is an exciting – if somewhat unexpected – development.”

alva, an unrated Latvian insurer, has been prohibited from writing new UK business by Latvia’s Financial and Capital Markets Commission, as from March 1, 2013. The Solicitors Regulation Authority has therefore confirmed that it is writing to the 1,300 firms that currently hold professional indemnity insurance underwritten by the insurer. Ben Waterton, director in the professional risks practice at Gallagher London, comments, “In recent years we have seen both Quinn and Lemma, going into administration in the solicitors’ PI space and this should serve as a wake-up call to the SRA to demonstrate stronger leadership on this issue of insurer ratings. Let’s not forget that another professional regulator, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, took decisive and positive action on this matter in 2008 when it removed Quinn from its list of recommended PI insurers. So we’ve seen that it can be done elsewhere.”

Andy Ivory

BSc (hons); PGCEA

On-Site BIBA appoints Griffiths & Armour to PI panel


IBA has appoionted Griffiths & Armour to its professional indemnity insurance panel. Head of corporate affairs Graeme Trudgill says, “Griffiths & Armour have 70 years experience of providing PI cover and we were impressed with their knowledge and professionalism in this area. Their experience, as well as the

track record that Griffiths & Armour bring, will benefit our members in what can be a relatively complex area.” Griffiths & Armour are exhibiting at the BIBA Conference on 15-16 May and delegates will be able to talk to them about their PI initiative by visiting stand A24 or booking a meeting prior to the conference.

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AXA appoints Agrical A

XA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary has appointed Agrical as its lead chartered loss adjuster for all farming and agriculture claims. The appointment is for three years, and Agrical has the authority to make decisions on 90% of the claims it handles. Karen Osborne, Leeds branch manager for AXA, comments: “Given the current terrible weather conditions being experienced by farmers in many parts of the country, it is likely that we could see claims coming in as the full outcome of its impact are known. Compounded by the other pressures being experienced by farmers today makes it important now more than ever that farmers know they can rely on their insurance cover should they need it and that it is supported by the very best claims service.”

L&G adds face-to-face counselling


egal & General is adding free face-to-face counselling to its group income protection cover. The company is offering up to five sessions for those needing them, as part of its employee assistance programme service, provided by PPC Worldwide.

Zurich achieves Gold in Business


or the fourth year in a row, Zurich has achieved a gold standard in Business in the Community’s annual benchmark of responsible business management, the Corporate Responsibility Index. The index has been run for over a decade “ … to help companies accurately measure and manage all aspects of their social and environmental performance; shape how they integrate and improve corporate responsibility throughout their business operations; and benchmark themselves

26 insurancepeople MAY 2013

against competitors”. Sophie Spink, Zurich’s head of government and industry affairs and UK corporate responsibility, comments, “Zurich scored 93%, which is an increase on our 2012 results and an impressive result given that scores ranged from 50% to 96% within the financial services sector overall. Every year, ‘Business in the Community’ raises the bar, so being awarded a gold rating is a testament to the dedication and hard work that is put into all aspects of CR and community involvement in the UK.”

Be Wiser in top 30 for profit growth


e Wiser Insurance has been ranked in the top 30 in the annual Sunday Times PwC Profit Track 100, which ranks Britain’s 100 private companies with the fastest growing profits based on their latest three years of available accounts. Having been ranked twice in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100, Be Wiser is now ranked 27th in the Profit Track 100. Be Wiser’s profits increased to £3.1m in 2012 and its chairman, Mark Bower-Dyke, says, “Be Wiser Insurance is delighted to be recognised as one of

Britain’s most successful private companies. As a young and growing company it goes to show what can be achieved when a great management team is combined with a strong commitment to staff training and development.”

Mark Bower-Dyke

Hill Dickinson shares fraud intelligence with the Met


he Hill Dickinson Fraud Unit and the Metropolitan Police Service have cemented their six year counterfraud partnership with an information sharing agreement. The arrangement will see Operation Catcher, the Metropolitan Police Unit which targets and investigates organised criminals involved in “crash for cash”, gain access to Hill Dickinson’s NetFoil database.

On the move Who’s going where?

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Jonathan Morgan

Chris Fitzgerald

LV= Broker appoints Geoff Turner as commercial distribution development manager. He previously worked at McCurrach Financial Services where he managed sales via brokers in the South East.


AEGIS AEGIS appoints Jonathan Morgan as an underwriter. Previously global property underwriter at Jubilee Managing Agency, he has also held roles at Howden, Miller and Marsh. Chris Fitzgerald is appointed as an assistant underwriter. Joining from Lloyd and Partners, he has previously held roles at Alwen Hough Johnson, SBJ Global Risks and Corrie & Partners. Adam England is appointed as an assistant underwriter. He was previously an underwriter at Brit Insurance and also held positions at Zurich Professional.

Chase Templeton Chase Templeton appoints Jamie McGivern as financial analyst. He was previously finance director at Mynt Facilities Services and before that finance and commercial director at Bibby Consulting, held various senior roles at LPM Group, was head of finance division at Carole Nash, commercial accountant at Unilever, and assistant manager, audit sector, at KPMG.

DAS DAS Law appoints Kathryn Mortimer as managing director. Previously head of Legal Services for DAS UK, she has over 30 years’ legal experience and has also worked at Capita.

Towers Watson Towers Watson appoints Mark Steddon as the global head of terrorism and political violence brokerage. With fifteen years’ experience, he previously worked at Aon.

ACE ACE Group appoints Gordon Knox as casualty manager, Scotland. With fourteen years’ experience, he was previously ACE’s senior casualty underwriter and also spent nine years in AIG’s casualty team.


Jamie McGivern

Stuart Ritchie

Giles Insurance Brokers appoints Kathy Walker as total quality manager. With over 30 years’ experience, she joins from Jelf where she was head of the lead generation team.

CDL appoints Stuart Ritchie as compliance manager. With over 40 years’ experience, he was previously head of IT at Carole Nash, IT director at Co-operative Bank Financial Advisers, head of service delivery at Cooperative Financial Services and IT manager of British Engine Insurance.


Kathryn Mortimer

AXA AXA UK appoints Ian Brimecome as chairman of the board. He has been a non-executive director of AXA UK for six years and is also chairman of Equitable Life Assurance Society, Kiln Group and Delphi Financial Group as well as executive chairman international of Tokio Marine. He replaces Anthony Hamilton who is retiring from the AXA UK board. He has worked with AXA

QBE Trade Credit appoints Sebastian Rice as senior underwriter. He was previously global sales manager at Atradius and strategic account manager at Euler UK. for twenty years in various senior non-executive roles and will also soon be retiring from the board of AXA SA in France where he is chairman of the audit committee.

Ian Brimecome MAY 2013 insurancepeople 27

On the move Who’s going where?

Mark Graves

Mitsui Sumitomo Mitsui Sumitomo appoints Mark Graves as deputy head of claims. He was previously their claims manager and has also worked at XL.



Electrical Contractors’ Insurance Company appoints Iain Spicer as head of warranty underwriting. With twenty years’ insurance experience, he joins from guarantee warranty insurer GPI where he was development director. Electrical Contractors Insurance Services (ECIS) appoints Tony Matthias as development underwriter – delegated underwriting authority. With 25 years’ underwriting and development experience, he joins from Oval where he was head of sales and development and has previously worked at GRE, Legal & General, and Bluefin.

Bluefin appoints Tim Philip as interim chief financial officer. He previously spent over ten years at Towergate leading the finance division and has also worked at Heath Lambert, Benfield Group and PwC. George Boden joins as non-executive chairman of the board. He has been a non-executive director of Bluefin and before that was a member of their management board. He is also chairman of Centrix Insurance. Steve Hook joins as


Mark Roberts

ACE ACE European Group and ACE Underwriting Agencies appoints John Napier as non-executive chairman. He was most recently chairman of Aegis Group and chairman of RSA Insurance. ACE also appoints Mark Roberts as casualty manager for the UK and Ireland. With twenty years’ casualty underwriting experience, he joins from Chubb where he was most recently European casualty manager. 28 insurancepeople MAY 2013

Bluefin Insurance appoints Stephen King as business development executive. With over twenty years’ experience, he joins from Lockton where he was senior vice president and has also worked at Aviva and Marsh.

Covéa Covéa Insurance appoints Liam Casserley as schemes broker manager. He was previously their schemes account manager and has also worked as business development manager at Ecclesiastical Insurance, schemes specialist at Endsleigh Insurance, and senior trading underwriter at Norwich Union.

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Steve Hook

head of high net worth. With over 20 years’ experience, he was previously head of wealth protection for Aon Private Clients, sales and marketing director at Healix Group, and director for corporate and travel at Mondial Assistance.



Tim Carroll joins Ecclesiastical as a nonexecutive director. He has over 20 years’ experience as chief executive officer and underwriting manager with Swiss Re, GE Insurance and QBE. He currently serves other organisations in the same capacity, including Chaucer Syndicates and Great Lakes Reinsurance.

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) appoints Kevin Northcott as regional head of financial lines. He was previously CEO and general manager of AGCS in Hong Kong and has also worked at AIG and ACE.

RFIB RFIB Holdings appoints Mark Winlow as a non-executive director and it is planned that he will also become chairman of RFIB Group. He was previously a partner and head of general insurance at KPMG Insurance and is currently non- executive chairman of Ageas Insurance and nonexecutive director of Ageas UK, Ageas Protect and Groupama.

KPMG KPMG appoints Phil Smart as UK head of insurance. Joining KPMG in 1991, he has been a partner for the past decade and was previously head of solvency II.

Phil Smart

by Andrew Newman



espite all the new sky scraping gherkins, shards, loofahs, and cheese graters, London’s Royal Exchange remains one of the City’s most iconic buildings. In press photos its magnificent steps and colonnade often stand in (sometimes mistakenly) for the Bank of England just across the road. Although founded as a business exchange, certain insurance underwriters moved in around 1774 (before moving down the road to lay their foundations for what later became known as Lloyd's). In more recent decades the 1844-rebuilt edifice was occupied by Royal Exchange Insurance, later to be known as Guardian Royal Exchange. Unlike today, when the building has become an up-market shopping centre These days Phil Hickley is AXA-UK’s Head of Public Affairs having been the Media Relations Manager before that. “A few years back I moved on from PR to look at a public affairs setup for AXA’s insurance operations in the UK and that’s what I’m doing right now. Now it’s all about trying to engage with and influence Government policy as it impacts our customers across the UK. This inevitably encompasses topics like flooding and the statement of principles; the emerging compensation culture in the UK; and certain issues around life and pensions and health policy. I’m still part of AXA’s external comms team but with a slightly different focus.”

ne of this month’s Market talk contributors (See page 9) David Ross, now at the CII, started his career at GRE in Southampton as a trainee underwriter. “I was with them when they changed their name to Guardian Insurance and until the takeover by AXA. I never worked at the Royal Exchange, but I did visit it a few times. I remember being served tea in a china cup by a man in white gloves...” Real china? White gloves? No such ostentation for yours truly in the 1990s on my one-and-only visit to Royal Exchange when employed as an insurance company being. It was a time when GRE was in a sprightly acquisitive mode. A delegation was invited to the Royal Exchange to present their jewels in the crown for GRE to pick over. (Most of the time that was what these


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and restaurant, in its GRE days the place wasn’t accessible to the public. The only way to get inside was to be an official visitor, or actually work there. Such a man was Phil Hickley who worked in the Royal Exchange from around 1994. “My move there coincided with the launch of Guardian Direct, and it was my first introduction into the field of PR as I was then employed as GRE’s ‘Group Press Officer’ until a period of decentralisation three or so years later moved me back to the provinces in Ipswich.”

Phil Hickley

presentations were really all about appropriation rather than acquisition.) Alas, no grand entry up the steps, and through the colonnade. That entrance was boarded up, except for the wheelie bins that were stored in the central unroofed atrium which today teems with winers and diners under an all-over roof. We mortals had to enter via a nondescript door in the side, and never got near the china tea cups or white-gloved waiters. The would-be acquirer was only interested in talking with the CEO and the numbers man, who were whisked upstairs while the line managers who actually did all the work had to make do with a small reception area and plastic cups. MAY 2013 insurancepeople 29

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Insurance People May 2013 eEdition  
Insurance People May 2013 eEdition