Consultancy firm Ignition loses nine people and refocuses on commercial broker market

AXA has restructured its broker marketing consultancy, Ignition New Business Solutions, resulting in a number of job cuts.

The insurer’s head of commercial marketing, Mike Butler, who was appointed as general manager of Ignition in April following the departure of chief executive Andy Heap earlier in the year – revealed by Insurance Times – has carried out a review of the entire business, which “resulted in some redundancies”.

Nine positions within Lancashire-based Ignition have been lost, and the company has been rescaled to focus entirely on the commercial broker market.

Amongst the departures from Ignition includes former Groupama UK business development manager Derek Findlayson.

Findlayson was brought in by Heap in January 2008 as sales and distribution director.

Butler told Insurance Times: “Derek leaves us with a great lot of goodwill. He played a crucial role in the development of the company.”

He added that the number of directors within the company had been reduced from four to two. One clerical role was lost,with three regional development directors.

Three people have also left the marketing team after some of the marketing functions relating only to the Ignition brand were insourced to AXA.

Butler said that the company had retained its entire client services team, however.

In his review, he said that the company had to be mindful of the “tough economic environment”. It had planned to diversify into a number of markets, but was forced to scale back its plans and target only commercial brokers.

Butler commented that he planned to grow the business back to its previous levels, but only when market conditions improved. “We will increase the scale of the business in time, but in the right roles.”

He said AXA had no plans to integrate any more functions of Ignition into the insurer. The business was performing “very well” with client numbers “increasing significantly”.

Former AXA chief executive Peter Hubbard acquired Ignition in November 2007 through subsidiary AXA Services, to support the insurer’s broker partners in the SME market. It remained a separate organisation outside AXA’s operational control.