NIG chief promises more streamlined approach as 8 regional offices close

RBS Insurance announced massive changes this week, including a restructure and redundancies at its broker-only division, NIG, and the departure of senior executive Charles Crawford to loss adjustor Davies.

Crawford, most recently RBSI’s director of partnership and international business and a former managing director of NIG, will become group chief executive of Davies.

Meanwhile, NIG, long seen as an awkward fit with RBSI’s other businesses, including Direct Line and Churchill, will close eight of its 18 regional offices. The insurer confirmed there could be compulsory redundancies “as a last resort”. Staff at the closing offices will be offered voluntary redundancy or the chance to move offices.

NIG promised to introduce larger teams of underwriters in fewer locations, greater efficiency, better relationship management and a range of new products.

Managing director Nigel Pearce said: “NIG is a strong business and these proposals should allow it to enjoy significant and profitable growth over the next few years and reinforce our commitment to the broker channel. Its new business model will mean that it is even more efficient, with a stronger underwriting capability and improved service levels.

“The proposals announced today would sadly result in some job losses and this is a regrettable but necessary consequence of our plans to reposition the business for future growth.”

Meanwhile, Crawford will leave in July to replace managing director Mark Chapman at Davies. Chapman will now become deputy chairman.

Crawford will be given licence to expand the company. Meanwhile, he will focus on the client-facing aspects of the business.

Chapman said: “Since we completed the MBO, the business has seen a period of change and sustained growth. During this time it has become ever more apparent that our clients are looking to us to continue to deliver genuine added value and innovation to their claims services.

“With this in mind we felt it was vital that we evolved our management structure to make sure we remain capable of professionally directing the company while keeping the needs of our clients absolutely front and centre in our thinking.”

Last year Davies completed a £27m management buyout that ended its long-standing partnership structure.

After the buyout, which was backed by private equity firm LDC, the directors reviewed the company’s operations. They restructured the board and shifted focus to the frontline divisions.

At the start of this year, Davies announced that it will close a quarter of its offices to trim back on its 400 staff.

It refused to say which six of the 25 offices would be affected.