A financial strength rating will be cherry on NIG’s cake following its regional expansion, rebranding and profits bounce-back

This morning’s exclusive story that NIG, and the rest of the RBS Insurance group, will soon receive a financial strength rating is the latest piece of good news for the broker-only insurer.

Over the past year, NIG has rebranded and expanded its regional presence in a bid to put a tough period behind it. Under the management of Jon Greenwood and his team, it has been on a growth drive. Last month, RBSI boss Paul Geddes revealed that the group’s commercial book, which largely comprises NIG’s business, had doubled its underwriting profits in the first six months of the year to £41m. This follows a significant loss in 2010.

Now, cynics might say, following land grabs such as the “guaranteed to beat” offer from earlier this year, that NIG could have some nasty surprises in store, but it has undeniably entered an upward trend. The financial strength rating will be largely a cosmetic change, as no one would really have questioned its long-term financial stability, given its position within the group. But it will tick some boxes, boost NIG on brokers’ radars, and perhaps give some further reassurance of RBSI’s long-term commitment to the insurer, the odd man out in its family of direct personal lines brands.

Hiscox holds the line

Despite a small drop in GWP, Hiscox remains a steady performer with a healthy set of results, especially in light of the string of natural catastrophes that have hit Lloyd’s this year. Its UK retail business continues to grow, demonstrating both the good sense behind the insurer’s diversification strategy, and the strength of its brand in an overheated marketplace.

All change at Towergate

Yet another move at the top for Towergate, this time with the departure of Towergate Financial chief executive Ian Darby. Who will be next to leave the consolidator? Watch this space…