Cathie Bruce is to take on an expanded version of Amanda Blanc's role, the former head of distribution and customer service at Groupama.

Bruce, who was previously Groupama's head of propositon, will be responsible for the group's overall business development, agency and customer service strategy.

She will oversee the development strategy for the insurer's healthcare subsidiary and theManchester underwriting and service centre.

Managing director François-Xavier Boisseau said: "This is a big job. Cathie will combine sales and customer service. I did not want a ping pong attitude between what we say we do and what we deliver."

He said: "We will not be looking to cull agencies and will continue to focus on personal lines and SME."

Bruce has appointed Groupama's existing head of partnerships, Derek Findlayson, as UK business development manager.

Bruce will also retain responsibility for the company's Imarket initiative.

Boisseau added: "Our extranet is totally compatible with our Imarket approach and brokers are using both. We want to allow them the choice."