LV= aims to be a top five motor insurer by 2012

Read the full interview: To Affinity and beyond

LV= has employed 150 staff in the past three years from its directors’ former employer RBS Insurance, write Danny Walkinshaw and Ellen Bennett

The insurer, which specialises in motor and household, has taken on 75 managers and 75 frontline staff from the bank-owned insurer. It said it would continue to recruit, from RBSI and other rivals.

Asked if there had been any legal action, LV= chief executive John O’Roarke said: “There is no comeback if people vote with their feet and resign. We have honoured to the full any non-compete or non-solicit obligations that we had.”

O’Roarke, operations director Peter Horton, managing director (broker) Phil Bunker, finance director Steve Castle and company secretary Paul Cassidy said RBSI had initially been happy to lose staff as its focus at the time was on cutting costs following its 2003 acquisitions of Direct Line, Churchill and NIG.

O’Roarke, formerly chief operations officer for RBSI, said: “We [the managers who left RSBI] all felt that culturally there was a big difference between how RBS wanted to operate its insurance business to how Direct Line and Churchill had operated. There had been quite a lot of autonomy and the businesses were very entrepreneurial.

“Those aspects have been removed, and so the appeal was to come here to do something that was entrepreneurial but also quite empowering. One hundred and fifty people have voted with their feet and come to join us.”

In an exclusive interview with Insurance Times this week, O’Roarke and his management team outlined plans to become a top five motor insurer by 2012, and to expand in SME and other product lines.

Meanwhile, RBSI is off the block after an unsucessful attempt to sell it last year. The government-backed bank now intends to hold on to its lucrative insurance assets. Last month, its SME business NIG posted a 350% rise in pre-tax profits from £11.8m in 2007 to £52m 2008.