No more big withdrawals planned, UK chief executive insists

Steve Lewis

Brokers understood RSA’s withdrawal from UK intermediated personal lines motor earlier this year, RSA’s UK and western Europe chief executive Steve Lewis said.

RSA announced in August that it was exiting the £65m book of business. The exit affected 300 brokers, but the insurer said it had not exited any broker relationships completely as a result.

Speaking to Insurance Times following the release of RSA’s nine-month results this morning, Lewis said: “I think there is recognition that we can’t be all things to all people.

“With the competitive pressures that are playing out in the market there is some recognition from brokers as to why certain carriers are making certain choices about where they are writing business.”

Lewis added that as things stand, there are no plans to withdraw from any more areas.

He said: “As you would expect we will continue to evaluate our entire portfolio to ensure we can write business where we can get appropriate returns.

“But I consider that much more as business-as-usual optimisation of the portfolios, as opposed to thinking there is one specific big area of business that we’re going to exit. I don’t see that at this moment in time.”

He also said that it was “business as usual” at RSA’s UK division despite Zurich’s failed attempt to take over the entire group.

He added: “We’re focused on making RSA the best it can be for our customers, brokers and shareholders. A more simple answer is: compare our results and our top line performance to the market.”

RSA’s UK performance from a revenue perspective in the first nine months of 2015 was mixed. UK net written premiums grew 1.2% overall, as 5% growth in commercial lines just offset a 4% slump in personal lines.

While the company does not report profit numbers at the nine-month stage, Lewis said performance there continued to improve.

He was also upbeat about future performance.

He said: “We are looking to the future with renewed confidence and I think if you look at the performance we are delivering this year, we have got a good foundation from which to build.”