Sale looks less likely as insurer refuses to be drawn on departures or reserves

There were question marks over HSBC Insurance (UK), formerly known as Corinthian Policies, this week, following management changes that saw the departure of chief executive Martyn Capewell.

Insurance Times understands that another senior staffer has left and that a third is on leave but may return to the insurer.

HSBC Insurance, a motor underwriter, has been on the market since last year, but the bank is thought to have struggled to find a buyer.

However, Andrew Gibson, who left his post as chief executive of Highway following its acquisition by LV last year, is thought to have been trying to put together a bid.

He is believed to have been considering a range of business plans, including putting the insurer into run-off. He could not be reached for comment.

A senior market source said that a Gibson-led bid looked less likely following recent developments. The source added that the level of reserves at the insurer could be a deterrent.

An HSBC spokesman refused to be drawn on the departures or on the level of reserves, but said: “We have been reviewing a range of options for this business for some time and the review is ongoing currently. For the time being, it is ‘business as usual’ for our customers and our staff.”

HSBC Insurance’s net written premium for motor business in 2007 was £180m. It also underwrites household business. Originally a Lloyd’s syndicate called Corinthian Policies, it was acquired by HSBC in 1996. HSBC also owns a broker, HSBC Insurance Brokers, which is a separate business.