No apologies for returning to the subject of Aviva. New UK boss Mark Hodges has moved swiftly and decisively to promote and restructure his top table amid a wave of uncertainty from the market. Chief operating officer David McMillan becomes the top man in general insurance, supported by Janice Deakin, and has already reiterated his faith in the broker market and rate movement.

But what’s really going to change and why? Igal Mayer’s legacy may have been to attempt to crack the commission nut and restore order. And he certainly provided a new realism to mega-deals in recession. But he also leaves behind a premium deficit that the top team will want to restore come results day 2010.

Aviva’s now established Club 110 and Broker Independence Group are unlikely to be overhauled, and neither is the regional trading structure below Deakin. But planning will now focus on what other plates Aviva needs to spin in order to write enough profitable business to achieve growth and position itself positively for any upturn.

And this is where the tactics get interesting. Will Hodges and McMillan take a more pragmatic view to bringing in the numbers, as opposed to the perception of a more principled stance by Igal Mayer? And what other routes are open to them to secure chunks of premium? Rivals are already cursing the management changes, as they see Aviva only benefiting greatly from the injection of new faces in its many and varied negotiations.

The golden questions remaining are: will Aviva be happy enough to court and dance with the consolidators once again? Does it have any choice not to? Or has everything just had to change to remain the same?

The industry’s new faces of 2009

It’s been quite a journey. Our Insurance Times and Aviva IT Pack roadshow visited nearly every region in the UK to understand the hopes, dreams and aspirations of new brokers. What we found was a spirit of entrepreneurism and the kind of passion only seen in professional deal-makers and high achievers.

Our cover stars this week represent the cream of the crop from every region. To compete for the IT Pack member of the year, each had to endure a gruelling interview process at the hands of TV star and Apprentice guru Nick Hewer. To meet the finalists, see pages 18-21 and find out who the eventual winner is at the Insurance Times awards tomorrow evening. IT