...let's hear what the new chief executive has to say before acting

While stock market reaction to the announcement of Royal & Sun Alliance's (R&SA) 2002 results last Thursday has been lukewarm, many within the industry are feeling twitchy.

The ratings agencies are divided. Fitch has downgraded R&SA from A- to BBB-, while S&P - a much bigger name in the market - has kept R&SA on an A rating.

One broker last week told me that he is seriously thinking about dropping R&SA, because he doesn't know whether it will be around in five years' time to pay-out on a latent defects policy that he sells.

And he is not alone. At the Croydon Institute dinner last Friday, R&SA was a hot topic. People are worried.

Hold your nerve. It is unlikely that the FSA would let a company as talismanic as Royal drown and further waivers to solvency requirements are likely. The biggest danger is that brokers will stop using R&SA. This would cause a death spiral with ever decreasing revenues in healthy commercial markets putting strain on the cash-strapped company.

It is in nobody's interest to see a company like R&SA hit the skids. The impact on clients' views of the market would be catastrophic. Wait for new group chief executive Andy Haste, and see what he has to say before making too many decisions.