Insurer confident of in-house replacement after business director Ken Norgrove joins Travelers

RSA’s commercial boss, Paul Donaldson, has pledged to press ahead with plans to become a top three SME player in the UK following two senior departures from his team.

As revealed by last Wednesday, SME business director Ken Norgrove is moving to rival Travelers in his native Ireland. On Tuesday this week, it emerged that sales and strategic relationships director Aaron Devitt is leaving the UK to head up RSA’s commercial lines business in Scandinavia.

Tom Downey, who currently runs RSA’s Towergate and Paymentshield accounts, replaces Norgove on an interim basis, while director for global brokers Gareth Hilton temporarily takes on Devitt’s role.

Donaldson said that he would be searching internally and externally for permanent replacements and hoped to make appointments over the summer. He said: “We’ve got a decent pipeline of talent in the organisation. When you get really good people on your team, you have to start thinking about backfilling for their exits when other people want them. Fortunately, we have been doing that for a while.”

Asked how Norgrove’s departure would affect RSA’s ambitious SME strategy, he said: “It’s more than a one-man show. This week we went live on two software houses on our smaller business combined product. And the mini-fleet product is scheduled to go live at the end of June, so there’s no let-up.

“Ken’s not being walked out the door today. We’re using him as best we can without any conflict for at least the next six weeks, although broker contact has ceased.

“That will help us make a really comprehensive handover plan and, in the meantime, I’m looking around for his successor.”

RSA has earmarked this year for a big push on SME business and electronic trading. Donaldson said 15 more products would be launched in different software houses by the end of the year, and that there would be a major product launch at the end of this month.

He said: “We are seeing a good pipeline of activity out there at the moment. I’m very pleased with our performance to date, and there’s every sign that that’s going to continue in the second half of the year.”

Asked if RSA was looking to develop new relationships with smaller brokers to increase its SME distribution footprint, Donaldson said: “We are reviewing our distribution at the moment, and as always we intend to try to get the right channel to market and cost per channel.

“The more remote product distribution we can do, the more it allows brokers who don’t have a day-to-day relationship with RSA to trade with us on the various platforms we have out there in the market.”