Low staff morale at a popular insurer is not good for business, says Andy Cook

The Royal Bank of Scotland has broken its silence over its acquisition of Churchill. Ever since last summer's takeover, Royal Bank of Scotland has been employing a strictly "no comment" philosophy when asked questions.

This week, Royal Bank Insurance chief operating officer John O'Roarke spoke to our reporter Jonathan Russell.

The reason? Insurance Times learned of an internal survey of Churchill IT staff who are set for redundancy.

To cut a long story short, they are deeply unhappy with the way that their employer has treated them.

O'Roarke puts it down to poor communication and states that the discontent is not widespread, as it affects just a few hundred of the thousands employed in the company as a whole.

However, it is not the scale that is important here. Royal Bank, Direct Line and Churchill are brands that the public are encouraged to trust (after all they are handling your cash or claim).

So it is very important to know that these organisations are not portraying themselves as caring on one hand (just take a look at Direct Line's current TV advertising), while being uncaring on the other.

The question remains: is Royal Bank being hypocritical? I would like to think not. Insurance Times has had a long and happy relationship with Churchill and NIG.

The companies' valuesembraced progressive employer/employee relations.

It was a cuddly company, where a place on The Sunday Times best places to work list was always highly prized.

So I hope that this was all one big misunderstanding and our industry can reopen the lines of communication.