High net worth insurer in drive to compete with larger rivals

Home & Legacy managing director Barry O’Neill has insisted the business can compete with high net worth (HNW) giants like Hiscox and Chubb, but admitted that it has perception issues which need to be addressed.

O’Neill, who joined the high net worth specialist last September, also said that the company was set to launch its first motor product towards the end of the year.

A mid-net worth home insurance product, underwritten by NIG, is also due to be launched.

Allianz Insurance acquired high net worth home specialist Home & Legacy in 2006. At the time it said it was looking to triple its size to around £100m gross written premium through the launch of new products.

O’Neill said: “We are a true high net worth player [competing] with the likes of Chubb, Hiscox and AIG. But we have perception issues in some areas.”

He added that the company’s acquisition by Allianz was a seminal moment for the business. “It was critical for it to move forward,” he said.

Developing the company’s capabilities, including its technology, was vital. “We need consistently good services and products,” he added.

Home & Legacy is currently migrating to Acturis technology, which will provide the springboard for the business’s growth.

The company launched its first new product, for let properties, earlier this year. Six more products are planned for launch during the year. This will include the company’s first motor product, slated for launch in the fourth quarter, and the mid net worth home product.

O’Neill said: “The motor product has been on the cards for a while. It is a major development for us.

”Last month, Allianz Insurance reported that Home & Legacy had failed to hit target in 2007. Allianz Insurance chief executive Andrew Torrance said at the time that Home & Legacy’s targets had been aggressive.

O’Neill said: “We would have liked more growth in 2007. It was mainly about getting the fundamentals right. The messages to brokers didn’t get through. The growth today has been about core product sales.”

He said that the past 18 months had seen relatively flat growth, but this had improved.

“The signs have been extremely encouraging. March 2008 has been the best month for new sales since the acquisition.

“Brokers who previously went with Chubb and Hiscox are coming to us,” he added.