’We need to make sure that through a period of change, we do not become internally focused,’ says strategic sales and accounts director

RSA’s Alan Houston has stressed that the insurer does not want to be internally focused following the integration of the NIG and FarmWeb brands as brokers “cry out” for improved service.

Speaking to Insurance Times at 2024’s Biba Conference, the insurer’s strategic sales and accounts director says the business has a “strategic ambition” to be externally focused as it looks to deliver “the best possible service” to customers and brokers.

RSA agreed to acquire Direct Line Group’s (DLG’s) commercial lines operations – including the NIG and FarmWeb brands – in September last year.

The beginning of May marked the formal start of the two brands being integrated into RSA.

Houston says brokers’ response to the deal has so far been “positive”, with RSA looking to become a “force to be reckoned with” by combining the businesses.

And, to help meet broker needs, he explains that “we need to make sure that through a period of change, we do not become internally focused”.

He says: “We have been really clear with our teams that day-to-day, we have customers to serve, we have brokers to serve.

“So, our priorities are around delivering the best possible service.”

He adds that delivering a strong service by being externally focused was the insurer’s goal prior to the acquisition as well because this will help RSA to stand out over the competition.

“Our strategic ambition and our priorities do not change around that,” Houston says.

“The number one non-negotiable for us – beyond delivering that integration – is service.

“Brokers are crying out for improved service across the industry and we believe it is the one thing that can really stand out.”

’Huge objective’

Houston joined RSA in 2010 as a personal lines trader. He worked his way up to commercial lines sales director in August 2023.

He took up his most recent position in May 2024, with his promotion coming after RSA announced a new regional trading structure in April 2024 – just before the NIG and FarmWeb integrations began.

This new structure appointed Moira Spencer and Deena Hemming as trading directors for the north and south respectively, while Steve Salter was named trading director for large and complex cases – a newly created role.

These appointments were designed to support RSA’s ambition to become the best commercial lines insurer in the market by the end of 2025.

Houston says it is key that “all teams are firing and behind that ambition” – he is “utterly convinced we will get there”.

“One of the critical things is having a sales team that is absolutely behind that ambition and that is really forward thinking in the market,” he adds.

“One of my objectives is to make sure that we have a consistent go to market ambition right across the UK.

“So, that is about being consistent in every geographical region and being really forward thinking and present in the market.

“That is one huge objective of ours.”


Houston adds that in his new role, he has responsibility for RSA’s strategic account management function, which he says is “really important for the business”.

He stresses that having the right infrastructure in place to respond to the evolution of the UK insurance market is key.

This evolution in recent years has seen several American and European firms enter the UK market, with some doing so through acquisitions.

For example, in February 2024, American firm Hadron Specialty said it was snapping up London-based Folgate Insurance Company, while Australian insurance firm Open revealed that it was entering the UK market with the acquisition of managing general agent (MGA) So-Sure in March 2024.

“There’s been a number of new players that have come into the UK market,” Houston says.

“[There is] money coming in from America and other territories and what we admittedly haven’t done over recent times is ensure that we have the right infrastructure in place to respond to those changing market dynamics.

“The end goal for me is that we have, as quick as we possibly can, a self-contained team of strategic account managers that respond to those market conditions.”