Branch upgraded to full underwriting status

AXA has upgraded its broker-facing Newcastle office to a full underwriting operation, hiring five executives from rival insurer Allianz.

It is understood that the hires leave Allianz with no executives in the office at present.

Allianz branch manager Les Archibald will join AXA on 1 July as AXA’s Newcastle branch manager.

The four other hirings are Mike Kenny, who joins as underwriting manager; Lee Makin, fleet underwriter; Rob McGregor, development underwriter; and Colin Donohoe, account manager.

They will begin their new roles on 1 May.

Separately, AXA’s Newcastle branch sales manager Alison Anderson has been promoted to strategic relationship manager for AXA’s national Bluefin account. She will assume her new role on 1 July once the new team has been integrated.

AXA commercial intermediary managing director Matthew Reed said: “These are a fantastic set of appointments for AXA in the North East, and it is testament to how far this operation has come that we could attract a group of individuals with this level of experience and talent.

“I hope that this move will confirm to brokers in the region that AXA is absolutely committed to not only having a physical presence in the area but to making significant investment in that presence.

“Les and his team are very well known in the Newcastle market and make an excellent addition to what is already a high quality operation in Newcastle, and we are very excited to have been able to bring them on board.”

AXA commercial lines and personal intermediary chief executive Amanda Blanc added: “These changes in Newcastle are just the latest example of AXA’s continued commitment to a regional underwriting operation across the country, following the establishment this year of Bristol as a full underwriting branch and our decision to open a branch in Cardiff.”

Andrew Broughton, Allianz’ director of commercial broker markets said: “I can confirm that as at 1 April 2014, a number of employees based in our Newcastle Sales Office resigned with immediate effect.

Service levels for new business, renewals and administration will not be impacted and interim measures have been implemented to ensure that our broker partners can continue to contact and trade with us in the normal way.

Allianz remains fully committed to the Newcastle and wider North East broker markets, and to this end we will be taking the opportunity to refresh and reinvigorate our proposition in this key strategic region.”