Whether you look at Brit, QBE, Fortis, LV=, Amlin, XL or Chaucer, it is clear that a new breed of insurer has emerged, and the established top 10 is under attack

If the plight of the losers in the aftermath of the global financial mess has been meticulously documented, then the winners have flown way below the radar.

There is a tear-up happening across all commercial lines, while personal lines are in a state of flux. To coin a football analogy, the top half of the Championship is now vying for a spot in the Premiership. They’ve made all the noise, injected the cash and signed some big-name players. Now they need to be managed properly to grow and deliver what they’re promising. But it won’t be easy.

Technology is blitzing the transaction. There are bets being made on distribution relationships with managing general agents and networks. Those that have grown up in Lloyd’s are now venturing out to the regions but look to be reined back in by new boss Tom Bolt (see our interview), as business plans, strategy and capital adequacy is reviewed later this month.

Meanwhile, the established old guard is beginning to get its act together again – think new management teams, fresh thinking and, crucially, consolidation. So look closely at this new generation and you’ll see that all that homegrown talent is beginning to look irresistible to those looking to re-establish their position at the top.    

Strong single party line needed

In a little over a week, Kerrie Kelly will begin the task of stamping her mark as the new director-general of the ABI. Let’s hope she ditches the ‘insurers ain’t banks’ cliché and instead works to unite the insurance voice across the top of the market in Whitehall and Europe.

What needs to happen is for Kelly to look past the trade association tribalism, rise above the petty politics and in-fighting, and unite a single industry line across discipline, issue and event. Alternatively, she could consolidate the ABI’s position and brand, build upon its heritage, win a few battles on issues such as flooding, and leave many a chief executive feeling disgruntled. Maybe she’ll do both. IT