The latest installment in the story of RBS’s attempts to sell its insurance division saw Zurich – the former frontrunner to land the business which includes brands Direct Line and Churchill – pull out of the bidding.

As news broke that the Swiss insurer was withdrawing from the race, following a detailed review of the business, users flocked to insurancetimes.co.uk for an in-depth account of the latest events.

The insurer’s statement said: “[Zurich] has been considering making a bid for the insurance business of Royal Bank of Scotland and has carried out a detailed review of the opportunities. Following such review, the group has decided to withdraw from any further discussions.”

This latest development appears to reduce possible suitors to RBSI to just three – with Europe’s largest insurer, Allianz, and US giants Allstate and Travelers set to do battle.

Zurich’s exit from the bidding came just days after it confirmed 870 job losses in its UK business and less than a month after the insurer’s advisors, Citigroup, raised doubts over the suitability of a sale of RBS’s insurance arm to Zurich – both popular stories with users in recent weeks.

AXA’s broking division, Venture Preference, announced that it would integrate SBJ in to the business, news that was broken first by insurancetimes.co.uk.

The insurer acquired SBJ in March in a deal that will take Venture Preference to £700m GWP, a further step towards reaching its £1bn target. VP’s chief executive Stuart Reid admits there will be more acquisitions to come, news that will surely keep online users eager to log on.

AIG’s acquisition of Ascot proved popular with online users and was the third most read story of the week. AIG acquired 100% of the Lloyd’s managing agent, after it previously held a 40% stake, ending speculation that the US insurer was looking to spin off the division. The news meant AIG was again driving online traffic, following the ousting of chief executive Martin Sullivan just weeks earlier.

Insurancetimes.co.uk’s online analyses were the fourth and fifth most read items of the week as users logged on to read further coverage of the biggest news stories.

‘Bidding a Hasting retreat’ focused on IAG’s plans to offload the majority of its UK portfolio, while ‘Keeping up with the Giles’ added insight to the consolidator's latest moves in the acquisition market.

Finally, just falling short of the most read list was the announcement that Biba and the IIB had join forces to fight mandatory commission disclosure and news that the ABI had reached a deal with the government over flood defences.

MostRead

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

1.Zurich out of RBSI bidding

Former frontrunner cites impact on shareholder value among reasons for exit.

2.SBJ UK to become part of Venture Preference

AXA broker division announces senior management changes as GWP swells to £700m.

3.AIG acquires Ascot

Insurer purchases remaining 60% of company.

4.Bidding a Hasting retreat

IAG’s move to exit the UK retail market has been a long time coming.

MyFavourites

with Gary Horswell, managing director of Ntegrity


www.apple.com/itunes/store

A brilliant example of online marketing – and synchronises with my iPhone too!

www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer

Beats working out how to use my DVD recorder.

www.google.co.uk/maps

The ideal route planner for any business traveller.

www.timesonline.co.uk

Great news reporting, this site saves trees and energy and my iPhone makes it just as easy to read.

www.fishingbreaks.co.uk

Perfect for arranging fishing trips on some of the best trout fishing spots in the country.

GoingPlaces


SSP

SSP promoted Michelle Rasche to business development executive.

She will be responsible for developing business in the underwriting and small to medium sized insurer markets in the UK.

EMR

EMR Europe has appointed Fiona Lovell and Mark Breed as assistant healthcare managers.

Ace

Ace Europe has appointed Ian Fox as development manager.

Fox will be responsible for managing and building Ace’s broker relationships across its eight UK regional offices.

Crawford & Co

Crawford & Company has appointed Mark Savage and Marc Godfrey to its international construction and engineering team.

Savage will handle claims within the UK and will be responsible for managing the team’s London office.

Godfrey will handle claims on a home and foreign basis.

Axiom Consulting

Mark Elliott has been appointed as the head of the Lloyd’s division and a main board director of Axiom Consulting.

He joins from Argenta Syndicate Management.

JLT

Jardine Lloyd Thompson Private Clients has appointed Steve Hilditch as a senior consultant.

He will be based in Manchester.

TM Advisory Services

TM Advisory Services has appointed Oliver Baker as director with responsibility for business development.

Baker previously held similar roles at AXA and Lumley Auto.

5.Keeping up with the Giles’

The Scottish broker crests the £300m plateau – a year early.