The biggest night in insurance took place in London yesterday, with 30 awards handed out to celebrate a great year for the industry

Aviva owned the night at the 2018 Insurance Times Awards yesterday, picking up five awards.

jimmy carr

Comedian Jimmy Carr kept the audience laughing throughout the night

Of these, three came in categories voted for by those in the industry – Best Digital Customer Experience, Commercial Lines Insurer of the Year and General Insurer of the Year.

But while the insurance giant had much to celebrate on the glitzy night at InterContinental London O2, The Risk Factor, a broker only formed in 2015 helping cash-strapped public sector associations, could be delighted with its two awards as well.

Direct Line Group were another to pick up two awards, including the coveted Insurer CEO’s CEO of the Year for outgoing boss Paul Geddes.

The other big industry names honoured on the night with sought-after awards were Janice Deakin of Ardonagh for Broker CEO’s CEO of the Year, and John Moore of Thomas Carroll, who picked up the biggest award of the night – The Insurance Times Industry Achiever Award.

gold silver bronze

In a first for the IT Awards, gold, silver and bronze awards were handed to winners

It was an historic night for the awards with a new format recognising those who just missed out on the top gold award, with silver and bronze awards.

Hosted by risqué comedian Jimmy Carr on a night that also included the return of dodgems and a live band to keep people partying into the early hours, it was a fine addition to the biggest night in insurance, to celebrate all that is great achieved in the last 12 months.

But as well as being a night of celebration, the room raised thousands in donations and through a silent auction for charity The Brokerage, helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in London find a path into employment. The room heard from one young success story studying at King’s College who is now looking to become an actuary, in an indication of the bright future the industry has ahead.

In what has been at times at difficult year for the industry, being on the receiving end of public criticism over unfair pricing practices, teaming up with risky unrated insurers, or falling behind on diversity standards, it was a valuable reminder of all the industry is doing that’s good.

saxon it awards

Insurance Times content director Saxon East opened the evening discussing diversity

Whether that be embracing new technologies to speed up the claims process, introducing new initiatives to make trading with brokers more seamless or stepping up its efforts to eliminate fraud, the industry still has much to be proud of.

Insurance Times content director Saxon East highlighted ongoing work to make insurance more inclusive in his opening remarks. Speaking to the room of 1,200, he said: “The insurance industry does absorb a lot of punches from the public and media, but actually you are by and large committed to having the right culture and recruitment.

“So many insurers, brokers and service providers are really trying to make positive change. So you’re not really that far behind and have faith.”

A total of 30 awards were handed out. See our picture gallery for a glimpse at how the night went, with a full list of winners below.

Business Partner of the Year – Broker





Gold: Acturis

Judges’ comments: Consolidators have been a major force in the broker market this year. The winner has helped acquirers migrate data from dozens of different systems into a single Software as a Service platform, giving an overview of the whole business in real time.

Reaction - Jeff McCracken (sales and marketing director): We proved that true efficiency through acquisitions is only achieved through consolidation. And our platform allowed us to do that and the investment we’ve made in our platform has given us a unique edge in the market.


Business Partner of the Year - Insurer


Davies Group

Experian and Saga Services

No Office Walls


Gold: Audatex

Judges’ comments: The gold award goes to Audetex for significantly reducing Admiral’s combined ratio rate. By implementing advanced tech such as machine learning, risk modelling & automation were able to provide Admiral a platform that can detect & review how they engineer repair assessments & re-direct motor engineers to high value tasks. Admiral are now able to automate processes and low value tasks, with more time and expense on higher value tasks which has reduced CRO.

Reaction - David Shepherd (regional managing director): It’s a fantastic achievement for the team. We’ve got a young team in Audatex UK and we’re always trying to push the boundaries of collaboration and technology, and this is the culmination of a fantastic year.

Silver: rradar

Bronze: Experian and Saga Services


Claims Partner of the Year

Auto Windscreens

Crawford & Company

DAC Beachcroft


Kindertons Accident Management

NetWatch Global

Stream Claims Services UK

Gold: DAC Beachcroft

Judges’ comments: The judges were impressed with this company’s cross-industry collaboration with partners across the industry, and helping them to significant fraud savings through technology to identify fraud patterns

Silver: Stream Claims Services UK

Bronze: Kindertons Accident Management


Commercial Lines Broker of the Year sponsored by Ageas UK

Bollington Wilson Group

Centor Insurance and Risk Management

Clear Insurance Management

Finch Group

The Burley Group


Gold: Bollington Wilson Group

Judges’ comments: Commercial lines is seen by many brokers as the key growth area. Bollington Wilson Group has created a “Northern Powerhouse” by merging two businesses and bringing them together in a new state of the art headquarters in Manchester, with 400 employees and substantial GWP growth. 

Reaction - Karen Adegoke (corporate director): It’s been a very interesting and challenging year for us so this is just the pinnacle of the whole year winning this award. We’ve got a big focus on the commercial side of the business next year so we’ve got loads of initiatives there to hopefully win this award again.

Silver: The Burley Group

Bronze: Centor Insurance & Risk Management


Customer Champion of the Year – Broker sponsored by Tokio Marine HCC

Smart Cover

The Risk Factor

World Wide Internet Insurance Services

Gold: The Risk Factor

Judges’ comments: The judges were impressed with the winner’s ability to manage a high pressure environment with expertise - making it bearable and saving money.

Reaction - Rhiannon Bates (managing director): This is what we fight for every day. The customer is what keeps us going, so this is the award we really wanted. We really put the customers interest at heart, making sure they understand what they’re buying and how everything works.


Customer Champion of the Year – Insurer

Ageas (Rias)

Aviva Property Claims

DAS UK Group


Vetsure Pet Insurance

Gold: Aviva Property Claims

Judges’ comments: Excellent customer champion. Improved the claims journey for millions of customers by moving away from traditional metrics towards a simpler process that has dramatically improved the claims experience for customers. By reducing the question set from 14 to 2 questions, claims handlers are able to work on more complex claims. By using ‘Big Data’ Aviva have significantly re-engineered the claims journey.

Reaction - Andrew Morrish (claims director): Our property claims team has done some fantastic work at just finding ways that we can pay customers really fast with hardly any effort using analytics. It’s really clever stuff, and really well deserved for that team. The award will go up to Perth where the team is based and take residence there.

Silver: Vetsure Pet Insurance

Bronze: Ageas (Rias)


Digital Media Campaign of the Year

AllClear Insurance Services

Broker Network

Co-op Insurance

London Market Group


QBE European Operations

Zurich Insurance

Gold: London Market Group

Judges’ comments: An outstanding campaign, making the most of a very small budget to achieve outstanding results in motivating young people from extremely diverse backgrounds to choose to build their careers in insurance. Not just an excellent campaign but an important one for the whole industry too.

Reaction - Teresa Bentley (head of talent and diversity programmes): It’s absolutely amazing, I can’t believe that we’ve achieved so much in so little time. I’m just so proud of everyone that helped to make this possible.

Silver: AllClear Insurance Services

Silver: Zurich Insurance

(2 silvers, no bronze)


Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Award


London Market Group


The Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters

The Risk Factor

Willis Towers Watson

Zurich Insurance

Gold: Zurich Insurance

Judges’ comments: The judges were impressed with the way this company ‘put their money where their mouth is’ with an industry-wide initiative.

Reaction - Emma Francis (UK senior manager diversity and inclusion): Saxon started the whole night off talking about how we needed to change the culture, and diversity and inclusion is a massive thing for the industry, so to win this is amazing. We need a bigger pipeline of people coming into our industry from all walks of life. Zurich is taking this really seriously and our CEO is 100% behind this.

Silver: The Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters

Bronze: Willis Towers Watson


Excellence in Claims Technology

Albany Group

AXA Insurance

Booking Protect

Collision Management Systems


Disastercare Platinum


Gold: Booking Protect

Judges’ comments: The judges felt that this entry was a success story of a new company identifying a problem and successfully implementing their own new solution to the benefit of the customer.

Reaction - Simon Mabb (chief executive): It’s a big surprise. I wasn’t expecting us to win this evening, but it’s the culmination of a lot of hard work from our team, and particularly our technology team, so I’m really proud of them.

Silver: Albany Group

Bronze: Coplus


Excellence in High Net Worth Broking sponsored by Home & Legacy

Aston Lark

Ellis David

Stanhope Cooper

Gold: Aston Lark

Judges’ comments: The judges were impressed with the impact the winning business was having in a clear niche within the high net worth sector using a strong affinity connection.

Reaction - Peter Blanc (chief executive): The award is about our partnership with the Listed Property Owners Club. The aim is to continue growing our listed property book and expand and continue our marketing efforts to keep on growing.


Excellence in Professional Development

BeWiser Insurance

Direct Line Group

NIG First

Premium Credit

The Risk Factor

Gold: BeWiser Insurance

Judges’ comments: The winners impressed the judges with their holistic approach to developing their staff - not just in a professional environment, but wanting to improve their staff as people too. 

Reaction - Mark Bower-Dyke (chief executive): It’s awesome, we actually sent two youngsters up to do the award and I’m so proud of them. Insurance is all about the young and then going on to be old codgers like me. I’m so pleased that we manage to breath new life into our industry.

Silver: Direct Line Group

Bronze: NIG First


Excellence in Technology - Broker

First Central




Smart Sure

Gold: First Central

Judges’ comments: Phone based advice continues to be important, but legacy systems can be vulnerable to disruption and hard to monitor effectively. The winner moved to a cloud-based system that led to a massive 43% increase in conversions and a 30 point increase in their NPS score.

Reaction - Zuzana Clark (general manager - operations for First Central): It’s fantastic, we can’t quite believe it, but we’re so excited. Customers really feel the difference of working with someone like Olive.

Reaction - Wreford Miles (strategic partnerships director for Olive Communications): We’ve supplied the technology and it’s been great working with First Central. We’ve been able to use the technology to make a real difference to the customers.

Silver: Safe Online

(No Bronze in this category)


Excellence in Technology – General

Applied Systems

Intellect SEEC


ModEx by Simplitium

Synectics Solutions

The Floow


Gold: Synectics Solutions

Judges’ comments: The judges praised the fantastic collaboration between the public and private sectors in this entry, and the mammoth potential costs-savings for the industry.

Reaction - Kevin Shanahan (chairman): We’ve been working on the collaboration between Synectic Solutions and the Cabinet Office. We’ve been working for a long time to get the data right, in using public sector data to help fight fraud in the private sector. It’s really ground-breaking stuff.

Silver: REG (UK)

Bronze: Simplitium


Excellence in Technology – Insurer sponsored by Optal

Allianz Insurance



DLG Commercial Claims


Optalitix and Vitality Health

QBE European Operations

Gold: Aviva

Judges’ comments: The judges praised the winning technology’s simplicity and impact, delivering an excellent customer experience combined with significant cost-savings for the business.

Reaction - Andrew Spinks (lead data scientist): We’re absolutely chuffed. It’s great to have what we are talking about recognised externally. It’s really satisfying because we didn’t think we’d win. But all the work that’s gone into it makes it worthwhile.

Silver: Homelyfe

Bronze: Allianz


Independent Broker of the Year sponsored by Aviva

BHIB Insurance Brokers

Centor Insurance and Risk Management

Clear Insurance Management

Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance

SEIB Insurance Brokers

Gold: Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance

Judges’ comments To grow fast as an independent broker you need to focus your expertise. The winner has done just that, working with recruiters to identify contractors who are under-insured, building relationships with over 400 recruitment firms across the UK, and rapidly growing turnover to £12m and profit to £5m.

Reaction - James Morris (claims manager): It’s very exciting to win, and shows that all the hard work paid off. Next year we’re going to carry on doing what we’re doing, showing excellent growth, specialising in contractor insurance and doing more of the same.

Silver: Centor Insurance and Risk Management

Bronze: BHIB Insurance Brokers


Insurer Claims Initiative of the Year sponsored by Nationwide Accident Repair

AXA Insurance

CFC Underwriting

Co-op Insurance


Gold: esure

Judges’ comments: Award goes to esure for pushing the boundaries in predictive analytics resulting in higher detection of financial crime risk. Integrating in house solutions in machine learning, data sciences & AI technology to identify fraud faster whilst improving and speeding up the customer journey. This claims initiative has reduced the time needed to detect fraud and are combating a huge problem in insurance; ‘crash for cash’.

Reaction - Matt Gilham (head of financial crime): The win is great testament to the team and the technology, and the collaboration work we did with our vendor. The team will be celebrating and we have our team Christmas lunch tomorrow, so I’m sure there’ll be extra celebrations then.


Insurer Innovation of the Year sponsored by ACORD

Aviva (Quote Manipulation Solution)

Aviva (Ask It Never)

AXA Insurance

Barclays and Aviva


Legal and General

Zurich Insurance

Gold: Legal and General

Judges’ comments: The judges were impressed with the winner’s game-changing innovation that provided a seamless claims journey and a new-nil question quote experience that puts the customer at the heart of the proposition

Reaction - Graeme Findlay (future ventures director): We’re absolutely thrilled, it’s just testament to all the hard work the team have put in over the year. It’s a fantastic solution that we built for our customers and our partners and its been a fantastic team effort.

Silver: Aviva (Ask It Never)

Bronze: Zurich Insurance


Marketing Campaign of the Year – B2B




Zurich Municipal

Gold: Paymentshield

Judges’ comments: The judges thought this campaign took on a really important and difficult challenge in encouraging mortgage advisers to recommend protection solutions to their clients – and tackled it with a huge amount of focus, passion, ingenuity and fun.

Reaction - Kay Martin (chief executive): This is the second year in a row we have won this award, and it’s the second year we’ve been saying to stop emailing and start having real conversations, and talking to customers about the importance of protection and looking after their homes.


Marketing Campaign of the Year – B2C

Carole Nash



Zurich Insurance

Gold: Carole Nash

Judges’ comments: The judges love the originality and energy of this campaign – on a tiny budget, it mobilized the country’s bike-riding community to the extent that the BBC subsequently had to change the way they organize the Sports Personality of the Year show.

Reaction - Ian Donaldson (chief executive): I’m absolutely chuffed to bits. We bought Carole Nash at the end of last year, and this award goes out to the previous CEO David Newman, and the marketing lady Rebecca Donaghue. It was their idea, and I’m merely the guy who picked this up for them.


MGA Initiative of the Year

CFC Underwriting

Geo Underwriting


UK General Insurance

Gold: tifgroup

Judges’ comments: The judges were impressed with the way the winning entry solved problems for a lot of people in a challenging and competitive industry, delivery big benefits for their customers.


Personal Lines Broker of the Year

AllClear Insurance Services

BGL Group

World Wide Internet Insurance Services

Gold: AllClear Insurance Services

Judges’ comments: To succeed profitably in personal lines you have to stand out. The winner has set out its stall by aiming its offering at those who struggle to get cover elsewhere - any age, any destination, any medical condition. The firm has offered cover for over 1300 different medical conditions to more than 2.5 million people.

Reaction - Chris Rolland (chief executive): I’m incredibly delighted on behalf of the whole of the team. There are a lot of people that make this happen, not just myself. I’ve only been with the company 12 months, and its been going 20 years, so I hope we can go on next year and win even more awards with Insurance Times.


Schemes Broker of the Year sponsored by Ecclesiastical

Bespoke Indemnity Solutions (BIS)

FSB Insurance Service

SME Insurance Services

The Risk Factor

Gold: The Risk Factor

Judges’ comments: Schemes are all about serving market niches effectively. The winner didn’t just spot a gap to serve Internal Drainage Board needs but was also instrumental in developing a competitive market with products that complied with government regulations, improving coverage and reducing prices.

Reaction - Rhiannon Bates (managing director): The drainage boards are going to be so pleased to see this, because they did this with us, and we’re thrilled. We were really pleased anyway with how well the work had gone for the boards, but to get this on top is just the icing on the cake.


Nominated Categories (voted for by those in the industry)

Best Digital Customer Experience sponsored by ACORD

AA Insurance Services



Gold: Aviva

Reaction - Stephen Mitchell (UK digital head of customer experience): It’s fantastic and we’re really pleased because it’s a great reward for a lot of hard work by an awful lot of people. We focus on the customer. Everything we do is customer centric and we always think about the customer.

Silver: AA Insurance Service

Bronze: LV=


Commercial Lines Insurer of the Year sponsored by Microsoft




Covéa Insurance


Gold: Aviva

Reaction - Gareth Hemming (director of SME commercial lines): It comes down to our teams who do this regionally day in, day out, and look after the brokers – they are the ones who’ve won this not us. We might do a bit of a tour with the award.


Direct Insurer of the Year sponsored by Symbility Intersect


Direct Line Group




Gold: Direct Line Group

Reaction - Paul Geddes (chief executive): I’m absolutely delighted. It was a real team effort, and we’ve had a good year. I’m hitting ten years next year and am going to stand down, so what a great way to crown it all. 


General Insurer of the Year sponsored by Enterprise



Covéa Insurance

Gold: Aviva

Reaction - Phil Bayles (managing director of UK intermediaries): What’s important about this award I that it’s broker-voted. Other awards a panel voted and that’s fine, but to be voted by the people who actually receive our service day in, day out, is fantastic. I’m delighted for all of our staff who provide the service to brokers, and I’m chuffed that the brokers recognise the efforts we’re making.


Personal Lines Insurer of the Year sponsored by Carpenters Group



Covéa Insurance

Direct Line Group


Gold: Covéa Insurance

Reaction - Carol Geldard (personal lines director): I feel fantastic, delighted, surprised, amazed. We won last year and you kind of don’t expect to win two years on the trot. Some of it comes down to consistency and doing what you said you would, and doing it really well.


Broker CEO’s CEO of the Year sponsored by Research in Insurance

Mark Bower-Dyke, BeWiser

Janice Deakin, The Ardonagh Group

Andy Fairchild, Broker Network

Brendan McManus, PIB Group

Julie Page, Aon

Gold: Janice Deakin, The Ardonagh Group

Reaction - Janice Deakin (deputy chief executive): The most amazing thing about this award is that I was an insurer for a very a very long time, then moved over to the broker side, and what I love about brokers is they’re all entrepreneurs, they mortgage their houses, they gave everything to start their businesses. To be voted by them as one of them is just amazing.


Insurer CEO’s CEO of the Year

Cheryl Agius, Legal & General

Geoff Carter, Sabre

Paul Geddes, Direct Line Group

Richard Pryce, QBE

Lindsay Sinclair, NFU Mutual

Gold: Paul Geddes, Direct Line Group

Reaction - Paul Geddes (chief executive): It’s a real honour. I’ve been lucky enough to win this before, so it feels just as good this time. It’s great to get recognition from your colleagues, so it’s a real honour from all the people on behalf of DLG.


The Insurance Times Industry Achiever Award

John Moore MBE, Thomas Carroll

Comments: This prestigious award goes to an individual who was widely praised and recommended to us at Insurance Times. He’s an unsung hero who has dedicated his life to insurance broking, helping to raise standards of professionalism and serving as a great example of everything that is good about broking.

Reaction - John Moore MBE (chairman): They’ll be singing back home in the valleys of Wales. It was totally unexpected. It’s remarkable being alongside so many famous high achievers in the room. Thomas Carroll has had a love affair with them for a number of years, and it’s a credit to the whole company really, and I’m very privileged to be their chairman.


A big thank you to all sponsors of the Insurance Times Awards 2018: Accord, Ageas, Aviva, Carpenters Group, Ecclesiastical, Enterprise, Home & Legacy, Microsoft, Nationwide Accident Repair Services, Optal, Research in Insurance, Symbility, Tokio Marine HCC, and WNS Assistance