Appointments follow exit of Highway's former managing director, Andew Gibson, late last year

Hastings and Advantage have signed up former Highway staffers Peter Gallagher and Richard Kelsey.

Gallagher, former claims director for Highway, joins as managing director of insurer services. Kelsey, an actuary, joins Gibraltar-based Advantage on a contract basis, consulting on the wider business.

Hastings chief executive Edward Fitzmaurice said: “Both Advantage and Hastings are growing quite quickly. We need more resource.

As we grow, we need more capabilities, and we recognise from a claims management point of view that customer service and fraud management are vital.

“Peter has the expertise to help us in that.”

Hastings has just gone live with household insurance products and increased its panel of motor underwriters, following the installation of new software systems from CDL. It has also launched a new product for commercial vehicles. “We are doing a lot of work at the moment around panel building, and have established a broker anti-fraud team,” Fitzmaurice added.

The appointments follow the news late last year that former Highway managing director Andrew Gibson has joined IAG UK as finance director. A number of staff left Highway following its acquisition by LV= in 2008.

Hastings and Advantage were part of IAG UK until a management buy-out, completed in February last year. IAG UK chief executive Neil Utley is also chairman of Hastings and Advantage.

Fitzmaurice said: “When Highway was bought by LV=, it put several people onto the market. We were fortunate enough to grab these two guys and Neil was fortunate enough to grab Andrew Gibson for Equity.”

He added that Hastings’ Renew brand, which historically offered insurance distribution to the over-40s, was being refocused on affinity partnerships. He said that a number of the staff there had formerly worked for Direct Choice, an affinity business that was sold to the AA in 2006.

“We have benefited from picking up people that have had expertise in that sector, and it has allowed us to get a head start in terms of growing there,” Fitzmaurice added.