Also in the news this week ...

HMSC rating confirmed

Rating agency Moody’s has affirmed the B3 rating of HMSC Corporation, the parent company of brokerage group Swett & Crawford, following Cooper Gay’s acquisition of the latter. The agency says the business combination does not change HMSC’s debt structure, but benefits creditors by offering more attractive options for repaying or refinancing the debt, which matures in 2014.

AXA appointment

AXA UK has appointed Jean Drouffe as group finance and risk director. He replaces Ian Robinson, who has become global head of internal audit in Paris. Drouffe, who joined the company in 2000, will report to AXA UK group chief executive Nicolas Moreau and will join the UK board.

Groupama launches in PI

Groupama is launching an SME professional indemnity product that will provide cover for more than 300 trades and professions with indemnity limits from £50,000 to £5m. Commercial director Malcolm Smith said: “PI cover is becoming a common contractual requirement and, in some instances, a condition of membership to professional trade bodies.” He said the product, offered on variable commission, covers policyholders and contractors working on their behalf. He also said that Groupama had its doors open to scheme arrangements with brokers putting through high-volume business.

Aon moves in-house

Broker Aon is aiming to place more wholesale business in the London market using in-house resources rather than third-party wholesale brokers “to unite as a firm and serve our clients comprehensively”. A spokesman for Jardine Lloyd Thompson, which acts as a wholesale broker, said global brokers had long avoided using London wholesale brokers when they could.