AXA’s new personal lines broker boss Amanda Blanc says there is room for growth with regional brokers

Amanda Blanc

AXA’s Amanda Blanc wants to push personal lines much harder with regional brokers.

Speaking following yesterday’s announcement that AXA UK was merging its personal lines and commercial lines broker arms to fall under her control, Blanc said there was a ‘real opportunity’ to push insurer relations much harder with regional brokers.

Although AXA has strong relationships with some of the larger personal lines brokers, such as Swinton and Budget, Blanc admitted there was room for expansion with the regional brokers. Personal lines accounts for around 30% of regional brokers’ book.

“That is exactly where the growth is,” said Blanc, who until yesterday was AXA UK commercial lines chief executive looking after personal lines broker temporarily. “You have to be able to maximise on that opportunity, and we will now.”

The battle with Aviva

The strategy is likely to bring AXA head-to-head with Aviva once again, which has enjoyed growth with personal lines brokers over the last two years. AXA is already intent on ramping up its SME offering, a stronghold for Aviva.

In the last two years, Aviva has rolled out Personal Best, to offer brokers similar deals to what customers can buy direct, and upped its connections with the major software houses such as SSP and Open GI to offer real-time pricing to brokers.

But Blanc said it wasn’t about Aviva, rather about competing hard with all the rival brands which had regional broker relationships, by proving to brokers that AXA could offer quality service and products.

And she stressed her credentials with personal lines brokers having got to know them while she was deputy-chief executive at Towergate.

Blanc said: “At Towergate, a lot of my business was personal lines business. I have seen it from a broker perspective, I’ve also seen it from a niche and affinity perspective being at Towergate, but I’ve also seen it from an insurer perspective. And of course, I do sit on the board of AXA insurance, so from day one, I’ve been aware of what’s going on in the personal lines business. It’s not new territory for me.”