Whoever said Biba was all about the brokers?
It’s Biba week. So forget David Cameron, Nick Clegg, the FSA, the Labour leadership contest and electoral reform for a moment – this market is full of the Quinn scandal, dual pricing, Towergate’s refinancing and the new Aviva management’s first public outing. But whoever said that Biba was all about brokers? This week is where the pressured insurer bosses bang on about rate increases, while the ones who are getting their numbers right give underwriters on the ground simple messages to manage and then hang out at the rugby with key clients.
Meanwhile, all eyes will continue to be on AXA as the next insurer in the spotlight. For a long time, it was RSA on the rack, but now it appears to be rolling its tanks out as it celebrates its 300th birthday without the albatross of a life division around its neck. Aviva, meanwhile, has its house in order after a period of instability. It has a new story of growth after a troubled 2009, but its senior team will be looking to assert itself in the market due to the changes that crippled some of its relationships and general business last year.
So at this year’s Biba, it is AXA and its diverse mix of senior management personalities that are taking centre stage around the stalls of the ExCeL centre, no matter how it tries to downplay it. AXA’s numbers are not looking great, and it’s no secret that it would love to shelve off Bluefin, and that it’s looking to undertake a further restructuring within its claims department as it tries to better manage its supply chain and capitalise on the synergy within Swiftcover.
Meanwhile, at the top of the organisation the rumour mill is in overdrive about whether Nicolas Moreau will soon be departing and whether Maso gets his job or is destined to head back to Paris to occupy himself with other things.
And talking of departures, Zurich continues to fly just under the radar. Yet, last week there was a management restructuring that saw the enigmatic group boss Annette Court leave the building. So expect its new path to be carefully cultivated within the coming weeks, and let’s hope this is in an altogether different way than in recent times. IT