‘You have to be in Newcastle to service Newcastle brokers’ - Matthew Reed

AXA’s ability to hire the entire executive team of Allianz’ Newcastle branch is a great reflection on its work over the last three years to re-establish itself in the regional market, its commercial managing director has said.

AXA yesterday revealed that it had hired five people from Allianz’ Newcastle sales office.

Allianz’ team all left 1 April, and it is understood that no members of the sales team are left.

Speaking to Insurance Times, Matthew Reed said: “It’s a real achievement that a team of this quality would want to come and work for AXA.

“It is a great reflection on the work the existing AXA team has done in the last two and a half years to re-establish AXA as a credible Newcastle market.”

AXA had “learned the hard way that you can’t look after Newcastle brokers from anywhere other than Newcastle,” Reed added.

Under the leadership of commercial lines and personal intermediary chief executive Amanda Blanc, AXA opened the Newcastle branch in 2011.

“The Newcastle market is a distinct market with distinct needs and requirements from insurers – you have to be there to service those broker,” Reed added.

Allianz said it put in interim measures to make sure brokers could continue to contact it and trade as usual.

The hires increase AXA’s Newcastle branch to 13 staff, and it plan to double the size of the branch in the next three years.

The Newcastle poaching is AXA’s latest investment in the regions.

It is opening an office in Cardiff next month and is also plotting an expansion in Scotland.

Meanwhile, Allianz has laid out plans to go after new business as part of its plan to become the biggest commercial insurer in the UK by 2018.