RSA aims to use Oak acquisition to attack £1bn sector

RSA is aiming to overtake Hiscox and Chubb as the number one insurer for high net worth business, following its acquisition of Oak Underwriting.

RSA snapped up Oak last Thursday. The Oxfordshire-based underwriter has a gross written premium of around £30m and a combined operating ratio of less than 90%. Brit provides its capacity, but talks are ongoing to switch this to RSA.

The deal puts RSA in the top three of the high net worth market, which Datamonitor values at around £1bn. In segments such as high net worth home, 85% of distribution is carried out by brokers, according to Defaqto.

Personal lines broker managing director Steve Kingshott said: “There are obviously two leading players, Chubb and Hiscox, so there’s definitely space for a third major player.

“Out of those three, we would want to be the chosen one; we would want to be the leading market. That’s our ambition for our business.”

Explaining why RSA chose Oak, Kingshott said: “Oak has been going 11 years. Over the past three or four, not only has it grown but its reputation with brokers for claims service, underwriting expertise and general service levels has been top notch.”

He added: “When I went round to brokers, saying we wanted to make strides in the high net worth market, obviously Chubb and Hiscox came up. But Oak came up every single time as having a good proposition and doing the right things.

“That reaffirmed what we had seen from our internal targeting.”

Kingshott was poached by RSA from The Royal Bank of Scotland Insurance, where he was head of commercial underwriting and pricing, 18 months ago.

His mandate has been to redevelop RSA’s personal lines book.

He said: “I came into RSA with a remit to profitably regrow personal lines broking. One of the segments we wanted to get back into was high net worth because it is growing, it is profitable and it’s pretty attractive.”