As it looks to make an impact in corporate risks, could a Lloyd’s box be in its sights?

Aviva’s potential plan to open a Lloyd’s box signals an era of confidence and ambition at the insurer. It has dealt quickly and quietly with the departure of Mark Hodges to Towergate, closing ranks and adopting a business-as-usual approach while it waits for his successor, Trevor Matthews, to join.

That means continuing with its expansion plans – into Lloyd’s, perhaps, and elsewhere. It has yet to make a huge impression in the corporate risks market, where competition is as furious as in its SME heartland. But Aviva is fighting its competitors hard, on price and elsewhere, and that’s an attractive story for clients in today’s economy.

Aviva’s not just looking to grow in corporate risks. The insurer wants to become a top-three player in all segments. Witness its recent push into intermediated personal lines, and its return to the aggregators.

Aviva is moving away from non-core business (hence the sale of RAC) while flexing its muscles in its home market. It has money in the bank, and further management change is a possibility – financial director Pat Regan is a City darling and widely seen as heir apparent to Andrew Moss. This time last year, RSA was plotting a bid for Aviva. Now, it looks more likely that Aviva will be doing the buying.

Straw wades in

The storm over referral fees rages on. In an interview with Insurance Times’s David Blackman, Jack Straw this week defends his intervention in the debate, and says he wasn’t fully aware of the problem when he was justice secretary. Perhaps the transport select committee, which has reopened its inquiry into motor insurance, wasn’t fully aware either? Straw also acknowledges that insurers “are not the villain of the piece”. It’s a shame the national media hasn’t made the same distinction. But, moans aside, this controversy remains a painful but positive development for the industry as reform looks almost certain.