Aviva is looking to defend its stronghold against strong competition with a new regional broker strategy

The Aviva bandwagon is rolling into town again. Armed with a large yellow flag, broker boss Janice Deakin is leading the march, followed by her army of six regional trading heads. This, she says, is the beginning of a renewed strategy to offer better service to brokers across the UK.

But what will change, exactly? From the outside it appears that structurally brokers will not notice much difference, but the timing is no coincidence. Rival insurers have been busy setting out their stalls within the broker community already this year.

• AXA Commercial has been embarking on a regional road trip ever since Amanda Blanc took the helm one year ago, and is working tirelessly to build bridges with brokers and expand its offering.

• RSA said recently that it was cutting 200 broker relationships to concentrate on the top earners, with a focus on Broker Promise to offer better service.

• Zurich is fighting hard to grab back the attention of brokers, and hopes its new simplified structure to focus on commercial broker, personal lines and Zurich Municipal, in operation for just over a year, will give it renewed optimism.

• Consistent performer Allianz, which last year looked at trimming broker commissions, will hope its stable position in the broker market will allow it to continue winning business.

So what will Aviva now bring to the table? Deakin says the insurer will need to offer brokers better service than all of its rivals to keep its competitive position. By creating regional hubs, decisions can be made quicker and closer to home, but will this be enough to keep brokers happy, particularly in a competitive SME environment?

Rivals, notably AXA, have been making a lot of noise in this space and are starting to get noticed by brokers. Deakin accepts that Aviva faces a threat from its competitors. Aviva will soon find out if it is doing enough to fight them off.