UK chief plays down staff exits as parent braces itself for biggest quarterly loss in corporate history

Allianz has signed up six senior underwriters from rival AIG UK to set up a professional indemnity team.

AIG UK has lost 12 staff from its 80-strong financial lines team in the past six months.

The news comes as speculation mounts that the insurer’s US parent will announce a $60bn (£41.63bn) fourth-quarter loss on Monday, the biggest in global corporate history.

Lex Baugh, chief executive of AIG UK, said the six underwriters were a small percentage of the financial lines team and they had been replaced with minimal disruption. “When the spotlight is not on, that level of turnover is happening every day in the marketplace,” he said.

“It is not a phenomenon hitting one company or another. In an environment when the spotlight is on AIG, what might be a normal level of turnover looks like something exceptional.”

He added: “It is good on one level that our people are sought after in the market. That is something that we hope we build because of the type of professionals we have here.”

One senior broker claimed the AIG UK exits had caused concern, however.

“The biggest issue we have with AIG in the professional indemnity market is the number of people they are losing,” he said. “Professional indemnity and financial lines at AIG have been massively depleted, largely by exits to Allianz.”

A spokesman for Allianz Global Corporate and Speciality said the new professional indemnity team would join a financial lines department that also had a strong presence in its directors’ and officers’ unit.

“These new staff bring with them a very strong market reputation with particular expertise in other parts of financial lines, particularly professional indemnity,” he said.

The six underwriters who have joined since the new year, or will arrive shortly, are Lewis Edwards, Renette Pretorios, Matthew Lamplugh, Geoff de Mallet Morgan, David Cable and Mark Carver.

The move follows the departure of three other underwriters from AIG to Validus.

It is believed AIG Group, which is 80% state-owned, is in fresh talks with the US government over a funding package.

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