New commercial intermediary MD Jon Walker is ‘ideal candidate’ because of his broker background

AXA commercial lines and personal intermediary chief executive Amanda Blanc has reassured brokers that the insurer will maintain a consistent approach in dealing with them following Matthew Reed’s departure from the commercial division.

The insurer announced yesterday that commercial intermediary managing director Reed was moving to AXA’s global property and commercial business. In his new role he will be responsible for developing global SME opportunities within the group.

At AXA UK he will be replaced by Bluefin personal lines managing director Jon Walker on 1 July.

Blanc said: “We are going to be completely consistent. It is a different person, but it is the same strategy as it has been for the past three years.

“Our strategy is to develop simple and complex products to ensure that we deliver to the broker the proposition that helps them to grow their business or people, through regional underwriting and empowered branches.

“Strategically it is business as usual. Someone has been promoted and somebody new has come in.”

Reed’s legacy

Reed joined AXA in 2011 when the insurer’s commercial division was suffering; the top line was declining and there was poor profitability.

But over the past three years, Blanc said the commercial division has achieved year-on-year growth of 11%.

“Together with the team, what we have achieved is that the business has been put back into profitability,” she said.

On Reed’s promotion she added: “I am absolutely delighted that one of my team has been promoted – it is always good to see your team moving forward in their careers.

“It is a great opportunity for him to take what he has learnt in the UK and go to do it somewhere else in the AXA world.”

Walker’s broker background

Prior to Walker being at Bluefin, he was Towergate retail broking chief executive.

Blanc said his broker background made him the “ideal candidate” because he had a good understanding of what brokers needed.

“Having been a broker for most of his career, [Walker] can bring the dimension of completely understanding where the broker is coming from and therefore ensure we deliver the right thing for brokers.”

Bluefin is currently on the hunt for Walker’s replacement. In the meantime his role will be assumed by Mike Owen, who is head of schemes and specialisms.

Executive chairman Stuart Reid said: “We are looking for a replacement. We don’t take second best so we will wait until we have found the right person to fill the gap that Jon leaves.”