Only two brokers have left us, says insurer

Only two of its 500 broker partners have stopped placing business with AIG UK since its US parent’s troubles hit the headlines.

Speaking to Insurance Times at last week’s annual Biba conference in Manchester, Tom Doherty, AIG’s executive director with responsibility for brokers, praised the market’s support and said that most brokers continued to place business with the insurer.

“By and large we have been overwhelmed with the goodwill that has come to us, and the market’s willingness to listen to the facts,” he said.

He would not name the two brokers that had ceased trading with AIG.

Doherty also said that despite a number of high-profile departures, staffing remained stable and morale was high. He said that staff retention rates had dropped four or five points since the troubles began, but were still in the 1990s.

“Staff turnover is holding up – and we’re hiring. It’s a very good indicator to existing staff when they see the quality of people that have decided to join us.”

Doherty said that plans to incorporate AIG UK into AIU, a new arm’s-length holding company, were well underway and should be completed by the end of summer. At that stage, AIU would consider whether to rebrand parts of or the whole business.

He declined to comment on the likelihood of the AIU name surviving in the UK. “A lot of thought is going into it,” he said.

Doherty said the market was hardening gradually, with rate rises in lines such as financial institutions and commercial motor. He denied that AIG was slashing prices to hold on to business, saying that it was accountable to the US Federal Reserve, which essentially owned the business following a series of multi-billion dollar rescue packages.

“It’s a mature market and it’s moving slowly, but it is moving in the right direction,” he said.