Danny Walkinshaw rounds up the week on the web

Following its announcement early last month that it was to lay off hundreds of UK staff, Zurich’s confirmation that it is to axe 870 jobs, revealed first by insurancetimes.co.uk proved just as popular with users, making it one of the most eagerly followed stories so far this year.

Large redundancies at Zurich and Norwich Union, coupled with Endsleigh’s decision to close its 119-strong branch network, have brought users flocking to the site.

A Stock Exchange announcement issued by network Cobra revealed that an acquisition was on the cards but coyly refused to name the suitor. Despite widespread speculation that consolidator Giles was the likely bidder, its chief executive Chris Giles dismissed the suggestions, instead hinting at forming his own broker network and adding yet another name to the already competitive network arena.

So keen were readers to find out who might be in line for Cobra, that insurancetimes.co.uk’s exclusive online analysis on the subject was the fifth most read item on the site. This story is sure to get plenty more traffic when the next stage of the approach is unveiled.

After last week’s story on IAG’s plans to sell off its UK business in Insurance Times sent online traffic soaring, the Australian giant’s confirmation was equally popular. IAG confirmed its intention to sell Equity Insurance, Hastings and underwriting agency Advantage. It also revealed that Hastings and Equity Direct are to close two of their five contact centres, in Manchester and Leicester, and 300 staff are set to lose their jobs.

Two follow up analyses gave online readers an in-depth overview of the events that have unfolded at IAG in recent weeks, with speculation that UK chief Neil Utley would lead a management buy of the units for sale. Reports that RBS have set an end of the month deadline to receive second round bids for the sale of its insurance division were still attracting readers in their droves after strong traffic last week, while those keen to keep up with events at Giles after a flurry of small broker acquisitions were also not shy to log on.

MostRead

The most read stories this week on insurancetimes.co.uk:

1. Zurich confirms 870 job losses

Move follows review announced last month.

2. Cobra in takeover talks

AIM-listed broker notifies Stock Exchange following sharp rise in share price.

3. IAG to scale back UK operations

Australian giant to axe 300 jobs at Hastings following A$350m write-down.

4. On the block

What is the future for IAG’s troubled UK business?

5. Who is striking for Cobra?

Approach could see huge deal for broking group.

MyFavourites

www.amazon.com

Simply the best user experience for buying, much prefer to using ebay, although if you want to sell, ebay is still best.

www.advfn.com

Best for all information on shares.

www.kayak.co.uk

Best for flights, great use of latest technology.

www.apple.co.uk

I love my Mac and am always looking at the latest gadgets and downloads, iTunes and movie trailers in HD are great.

www.bbc.co.uk

All news and sport, brilliant on mobile as well and now iPlayer is getting even better.

James Harrison is chief executive of Insurancewide


GoingPlaces

The Warranty Group

Neil Covington has joined The Warranty Group as chief actuary.

Covington was formerly head actuary for general insurance at HSBC.

Plantec Holdings

XL Insurance has appointed Stuart Sutherland as underwriting manager for casualty in the UK.

Sutherland will focus on multi-national companies with their growing requirement for regulatory and tax compliant solutions.

Travelers

James Thompson has joined Travelers as development underwriter in the Leeds office.

He recently held positions at AIG and has written professional indemnity in the local market for over 20 years.

Woodstock

Woodstock Insurance Brokers has appointed Leon Price to join the commercial and high net worth team.

UIB

International broker United Insurance Brokers (UIB) has appointed Matthew Day as operations director of its aviation division.

He previously worked for Hayward Aviation as director of marketing and Willis as manager of an aviation insurance research team.

GAB Robins

GAB Robins has appointed Paul Bowyer as claims management director.

Bowyer joins GAB Robins from Norwich Union,

where he was head of recoveries, liability dispute (motor) and field force. Previously, Bowyer held senior positions with Hill House Hammond, CGU and Commercial Union.

Russell Scanlan

Russell Scanlan has recruited Simon Winiarski as a development executive.

Winiarski joins from James Hampden where he was an account director.

Argent

Argent has appointed Gerard King as manager of its Leeds branch.

King has been with Argent from its inception in 2003.

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