Donaldson to take new role mapping broker changes on a global level

RSA has promoted Paul Donaldson to a global role in a bid to respond to changes at the international brokers, replacing him with Jon Hancock, a new face for the UK market.

In a move that will be watched with interest by its competitors, RSA has created the group broker relationship and sales director role to map changes at brokers such as Aon, Marsh and Willis, which are increasingly placing risks on a global rather than regional basis.

Speaking about the appointment on Monday, UK chief executive Adrian Brown said: “We see the global brokers acting more globally. They are all galvanising their organisations to be more joined-up across the piece, though they are all structured slightly differently.

“We see some of the global brokers talking about reducing the number of carriers they do business with from thousands to hundreds, so clearly that’s an opportunity for us.

“Myself, [chief executive, international] Simon Lee and [chief executive, emerging markets] Paul Whittaker have been taking on a cross-business view for the global brokers in addition to our day jobs.”

Donaldson will head up the relationships with global brokers, as well as establish and chair a new global risk solutions and specialities board to develop speciality lines, such as marine and renewables worldwide.

Brown said: “You can only bring people together if you know all the people. Internally, Paul is well liked, well respected and he’s not going into that job to create an empire. We want someone in there who raises the game for us and utilises all their connections internally and externally.”

Donaldson, who has been promoted to RSA’s group board as part of the move, will be sorely missed by the UK division. He was a well-known and popular figure within the broker market.

His replacement, Hancock, is a longstanding RSA employee but has worked abroad for many years, most recently as chief executive of RSA’s Asia and Middle East businesses. Brown said Hancock was well used to establishing strong broker relationships and was eager to begin meeting the market during his handover with Donaldson.

Speaking at the Biba conference in Manchester last week, Brown fleshed out some of RSA’s plans for developing its UK SME presence. Some of the products that had become a bit “old-fashioned” have now been refreshed in their offering and pricing capability, he said.

Brown said that RSA’s SME footprint had halved from a previous figure of £450m.

He dismissed the notion that brokers in SME would find themselves squeezed out by direct players.