P&C boss hopes rates are starting to harden

Allianz Commercial has established four centres of excellence as it looks to widen its footprint in the casualty market.

Allianz Commercial’s head of property and casualty, Steve Coates, said the insurer’s casualty proposition had been refreshed following a strategic review.

“Over the past 12 months, we have been working on a slightly broader strategy that allows us to write a slightly broader range of trades,” he said. “But to do that we felt we needed to create a new structure.”

The four centres will be in London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. Casualty manager Rob Skilbeck will head up the Manchester branch. Giles Quartly has been appointed as casualty underwriting manager in the London office, while appointments in Birmingham and Leeds have yet to be announced. The insurer has also named Chris Dee as casualty manager at its Guildford head office.

Coates said he hoped the restructure would coincide with the return of the hard market.

“We have thought about doing this for a while and clearly we have done it at a time when rates will hopefully start to harden up – in 2010-11 – but we also hope the economy will start to pick up. Then entrepreneurial spirit will win over and UK plc will start to increase activity.”

He added that the insurer had already picked up “one or two big business wins” in the past couple of months.

Meanwhile, Allianz Legal Protection is rolling out a new online quote-and-buy facility for solicitors.

ATE Link allows solicitors to get instant quotes for after-the-event business. Allianz Legal Protection business development manager David Vine said the system will give solicitors “greater control”.