Insurer will underwrite farms and service all Scottish brokers from Scotland

AXA has embarked on a recruitment drive in Scotland as it aims to underwrite new classes of business and move all Scottish broker relations north of the border.

The insurer wants to hire 10 people, including mid-market and farm underwriting experts, and expects to make the first appointment this week.

The new recruits, including branch underwriters, development underwriters and specialist underwriters, will grow the headcount of its Scottish operation to 40 people.

AXA will also set up a phone-based account management team for smaller accounts in its Scotland office. Brokers that had dealt with AXA’s call centre in Bolton will now deal with account managers in Scotland.

This means for the first time Scottish brokers will be entirely serviced in Scotland.

It will also be the first time that AXA insures farms there, bringing its underwriting appetite in line with that of England.

Some of the new hires will be charged with visiting brokers in territories AXA does not currently work in, including Aberdeen, Inverness, Perth and Dundee. “Underwriters will be going to those territories and making decisions in people’s offices,” said Scotland branch manager Ryan Birbeck.  

AXA also plans to change the name of the enlarged office from AXA Glasgow to AXA Scotland. “Scotland is more than Glasgow, so the branch needs a bigger identity than that,” AXA commercial lines and personal intermediary chief executive Amanda Blanc told Insurance Times.

Birbeck said the larger team would help AXA reach its target of growing gross written premium in Scotland by 13% while maintaining profitability.

“There’s a very big independent broker population in Scotland and we were punching under our weight with a lot of them,” he said.