A round-up of the latest insurance stories online

A bunch of exclusive stories out first on insurancetimes.co.uk make up the top 10 list of most-read stories this week.

Leading the way was our article detailing troubles at Combined Insurance. The ACE-owned insurer stopped accepting new business, putting 325 UK jobs at risk. When the story appeared on the web, online traffic rose sky high, making this one of the most clicked stories of the year so far.

It was followed closely by news of a major departure. We broke the news about Powerplace chief executive Matthew Reed’s sudden exit from the Towergate-owned e-business.

Reed, a regular blogger on the site, had been in the role for 14 months, and subscribers to our free news alert service were first to read the story when it landed in their inboxes as the details emerged.

Just hours later, the departure of Groupama claims director Phil Bird was announced by the firm.

Takeover fever continues, and Chaucer is the latest insurer in the mix. Speculation about the future of the business, which is no stranger to takeover interest, was widely reported across the web.

Our online readers also got an early look at details of an impending legal challenge by former Omega chief Richard Tolliday against the Lloyd’s insurer.

A decision over the European Court of Justice ruling on gender, which threatens to cause a major headache for the insurance industry, is fast approaching. In our subscriber-only channel we looked at what the ruling, expected on 1 March, could mean for insurers.

Finally, support for our Fair Fees campaign has continued to grow, as brokers logged on to add their name to our petition.

ACE-owned Combined Insurance's 325 UK staff face axe

Combined Insurance closes new business and places UK staff in redundancy talks

Powerplace boss Matthew Reed quits Towergate

Matthew Reed is latest in a list of high-profile departures to quit consolidator

Bidding war erupts for Chaucer

Private equity tycoon Guy Hands and Canopius said to be gunning for insurer

Willis staff to get extra $100m in 2011

Willis decision to end pay freeze will cost $100m as broker’s profits rise 4%

Claims director Phil Bird leaves Groupama

Claims division shake-up results in Bird's departure

Women drivers face renewing insurance policies

EU gender ruling could force woman to seek new cover immediately

Towergate prices bond issue

Deal completed faster than expected

Aon UK broking revenue falls 3%

Firm’s UK operations hit by full-year loss despite fourth-quarter rally

Omega sued by former chief executive Richard Tolliday

Tolliday serves writ against Omega 10 months after departure

Guy Hands' Terra Firma confirms Chaucer interest

Private equity firm responds to Chaucer bid speculation