As you would expect, major deals were big news last week. The Royal Bank of Scotland’s decision to raise the for sale sign above its colossal insurance arm dominated the financial media across all platforms.
insurancetimes.co.uk’s initial alert, following the bank’s announcement that it intended to tap its shareholder base for £12bn – and look to raise £4bn of tier 1 capital through a sale of assets – proved the second most popular story in the history of the website.
While the week saw a number of other front row stories, the original and updated versions of the RBS news accounted for a staggering 15% of total web traffic on insurancetimes.co.uk.
As readers foraged for clues on how the story might play out, other RBS-related stories – most notably its senior management cull in January, NIG’s reported loss of new business in 2007 and the news that it would be placing its brands on aggregators – accounted for a further 3% of total traffic.
One insurer believed to be in the frame for RBSI is US giant AIG, which also made the top list last week following the announcement that it was consolidating its UK property and liability divisions and reshuffling its deck with a number of internal promotions.
Somewhat further from home was the potential blockbuster acquisition of IAG by rival QBE.
The news that QBE had extended its initial offer by a fortnight received a flurry of interest, despite the fact that IAG insisted its position had and would not change.
The news that Heath Lambert had found a taker for parts of its business also proved an unsurprisingly hot topic.
Cooper Gay’s approach for Heath’s wholesale division, FSJ (first predicted by Insurance Times last May) led to renewed speculation over the future of the remaining parts of the business.
Other popular news items included Open GI’s plans to raise its insurer partner fees for using its systems and the appointment of former NIG distribution chief, David Parker, at ABC.
The confirmation that Zurich had held aborted talks to buy Erinaceous’ insurance arm, EIS was also top reading.
Finally, he may be gone, but he is certainly not forgotten.
The online analysis of former AXA chief executive Peter Hubbard’s departure also made the top 10, and has proved to be the most popular piece of its kind since the launch of the website.
The most read stories this week on insurancetimes.co.uk:
1. RBS confirms plan to sell insurance business
Bank says review of RBSI is underway.
2. Banks take over EIS as Zurich talks collapse
Chief executive of broker rules out sale and reveals 2007 results.
3. QBE fails in bid for IAG
Australian insurer rejects QBE bid as too low.
4. Heath Lambert in sale talks with Cooper Gay
Broker in discussions to sell wholesale, reinsurance and aviation divisions.
5. AIG restructures property and liability divisions
Three senior appoints made in reshuffle.
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Plantec Holdings has appointed Anthony Howarth as operations manager.
He joins from Norwich Union and will oversee hire and repair operations.
Independent Appointments (IAUK) has appointed Gemma Hopkins as managing consultant for its East Midlands division.
She has four years’ experience in insurance recruitment and will be based in Birmingham.
Rigton Insurance Services has appointed two brokers to its new Leeds offices.
Account handlers Claire Gothard and Jemma Glavin will work closely with the commercial property, liability and specialist bus, coach and fleet insurance teams.
Woodbrook Underwriting Agencies has appointed Paul Adams as specialist liability underwriter.
Adams will head up and develop the liability account for Woodbrook.
Weightmans has appointed Colin Peck and Ling Ong as partners in its London office.
Peck joins from Lawrence Graham LLP and Ling joins from DLA Piper.
Chris Lai has also been appointed by Weightmans as a consultant. He joins from Saunders Solicitors.
RGL has promoted Justin Crick, Kevin Harding and Adriënne Kouwenhoven to partners.
Crick and Harding will be based in London and Kouwenhoven will be based in Singapore.
Peter Lawson has been appointed by Auger Solutions as its business development manager.
He has more than 25 years’ experience in the industry.