GI chief exec McMillan says Middle will pursue major corporate partnerships

Aviva general insurance chief executive David McMillan says recruiting former AXA commercial director Ant Middle was “quite a big coup”, and that Middle would handle a significant chunk of premium.

Middle is currently on gardening leave and will start working with Aviva in December as strategic partnerships director.

McMillan said that Middle would be able to take advantage of the restructure, which brought healthcare, general insurance and life closer together. He said Middle would pursue growth opportunities in the major corporate partnerships, particularly with the large banks.

“The recruitment of Ant, who is a major industry figure, is quite a big coup for us to really spearhead this,” McMillan said.

“Most recently, he’s been running the commercial broking side of the business, but in his earlier career at AXA he was broker partnerships director.

“So as well as being a great guy from an intermediary perspective, he’s got experience with the bigger relationships. So we are really, really pleased about the hire.”

Meanwhile, Aviva has completed its first year since the business rebranded from Norwich Union.

According to McMillan, the firm’s brand awareness with the public is now 55%, three percentage points higher than it was with Norwich Union.

Aviva has pumped millions into the marketing campaign, including hiring Die Hard actor Bruce Willis and rocker Alice Cooper for its TV adverts.

McMillan said there was a real sense that the marketing and PR had started to gain “resonance”, adding that the insurer would continue to invest in the brand.

Aviva would be continuing with its TV adverts involving comedian Paul Whitehouse, and sponsoring UK athletics in the run-up the Olympics as well as ITV drama premieres, he added.