Insurer to restructure personal and commercial divisions

Groupama Insurances is making a number of operational changes in its personal lines and commercial lines divisions.

The insurer said the proposed changes will enable it to have closer trading relationships with brokers and follow the appointments in March of Malcolm Smith as commercial lines director and Kevin Kiernan as personal lines director.

In the personal lines division, twelve roles are being created combining underwriting authority and development skills to form two teams of development underwriters. Working face to face with personal lines brokers at a local level to develop the company’s motor and home business, the teams will utilise the skills of the current personal lines distribution team who will move quickly across into the development underwriting roles.

Laurent Matras, managing director at Groupama Insurances: “Personal lines brokers really want people on the ground that they can actually trade with and who can make decisions. These development underwriters will give them a much sharper cutting edge.”

To support the development underwriters, who will report directly to the heads of household and motor respectively, a new planning and pricing team is being formed to work with the actuarial teams. This team will develop pricing strategy and the necessary analytical assistance to ensure speed to market and an ability to offer competitive deals quickly and efficiently.

In its commercial lines division, Groupama will be retaining a dedicated front-line commercial sales-force to work locally with business partners. A team of seven key account managers will be headed by the head of commercial distribution, a new role that will report directly to Malcolm Smith and take responsibility for the ongoing development of the company’s growing SME and commercial motor business.

Matras added: “It’s horses for courses. The commercial lines market requires trading via close personal and individual relationships. Feedback from our business partners illustrates a clear need to retain an active, focused and highly motivated local sales presence, operating within the major regional UK markets to support our underwriting and e-business capabilities.”

A regional new business underwriting team located at Groupama’s HQ in London will also be created to supplement the existing specialist team that manages schemes and major business relationships. This new team is intended to service open market opportunities that exist in the South and South-East of England.

Matras concluded: “For Groupama Insurances’ continued success we need to offer a real difference from our competitors and this means being big enough to deliver, but still small enough to care. We know from our research and from general broker feedback that to compete more effectively we need to continue to enhance our trading capabilities and to improve our agility and speed to market. These changes are designed with this in mind.

“We are keen to implement these organisational adjustments quickly so that we are able to gain the benefits as market conditions begin to improve. Of course, we will also need to manage the practicalities and people issues and we will be keeping our brokers closely informed as things begin to come on stream over the next few months. In the meantime, it remains business as usual.”