Broking giant Bluefin is to cut its 462 agencies and create bigger books with fewer partners.
Bluefin will also aim to increase its commercial book with AXA to help the French insurer increase gross written premium from £800m to £1.2bn by 2015.
Chief executive Stuart Reid said: “We are going to have larger books with fewer partners. We cannot be all things to all men.”
The consolidator currently has a myriad of partners ranging from small managing general agencies to wholesale arrangements with Lloyd’s brokers, and slimming down agencies would help focus Bluefin, Reid said.
Backed by the financial might of AXA, Bluefin was on the hunt for bolt-on acquisitions, he added.
Reid dangled a carrot in front of brokers, saying that Bluefin was more flexible than its competitors in giving a larger proportion of up front payments against deferred payments.
Meanwhile, AXA commercial lines chief executive Amanda Blanc said she was determined to hit 95% combined operating ratio, a percentage point better than the group target of 96% by 2015.
Blanc believes AXA will hit that target by getting closer to the brokers with regional office openings and releasing new products.
Key to the SME will be the expansion of AXA’s commercial online offering with the launch of Simple, stripped-down broker-friendly products traded through Acturis.
By the end of the year, there will be three products traded on Simple and by 2012 there will be 10 products.
On the more complex products, Blanc said the expansion of offices – at present there are seven, with three more opened by the end of the year – and empowering branch managers would pave the way for good relationships with brokers.
Matthew Reed, intermediary and partnerships director, will be tasked with building bridges with brokers.