Danny Walkinshaw looks at the week on insurancetimes.co.uk

Websites were once again packed with stories and analysis on the global financial crisis, but it was good old-fashioned industry news that crept to the top of our Most Read pile this week. AXA’s commercial restructure was the most popular story of the week.

The news, revealed first on Insurancetimes.co.uk, was a big hit with the market and brokers in particular would have been keen to read about the reshuffle at AXA. In recent months the insurer has announced the departure of chief executive Peter Hubbard, a 500-job cull and the return of industry heavy-hitter Paul Meehan.

Also in industry news, HSBC was reported to be selling its underwriting arm. The Insurance Times story was the second most read article of the week.

Another piece of broking news made the Most Read top five: details of a managerial reshuffle at consolidator Giles Insurance Brokers, a story that was broken exclusively by Insurancetimes.co.uk.

Elsewhere on the internet, the former AIG chief executives who were grilled by the US Congress made headlines across the globe.

News sites across America were eager to point out how, just days after AIG was handed an $85bn (£45bn) federal bailout, the insurance giant spent $440,000 on a California retreat for its executives.

The break included spa treatments, banquets and golf outings, reported CNN.com.

Back home, the UK government stepped in with a rescue package for the domestic banking sector. The package, which could total £500bn according to BBC.co.uk, is set to make extra capital available to eight of the UK’s largest banks and building societies in return for shares in their businesses. Participating banks will also have to sign an FSA agreement on executive pay and dividends.

The prime minister Gordon Brown said the package was “designed to put the British banking system on a sounder footing”, according to the BBC report.

The share price of RBS, the latest victim of the financial crisis, plunged in the past week. Telegraph.co.uk reported that the bank’s chief executive, Sir Fred Goodwin, and chairman, Sir Tom McKillop, were under pressure to quit. By Monday, both had gone.

These developments could affect the sale of the bank’s insurance arm, RBSI, which is thought to be struggling to find a buyer at the right price.

Going Places

Nicola James has been appointed as a consultant in the London-based strategic risk practice of Marsh. James recently completed the companys two-year graduate programme.

Gilbert Van den Eynde has been promoted to global leader of G5, the Marsh division that serves its largest global clients. He has held various positions within Marsh, most recently as G5 leader in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Paul Conn has joined Jelf Private Clients as senior independent financial adviser. Conn will be based at Hanborough Business Park in Oxford and help to build the group’s client base across Oxfordshire.

Cassidy Davis, the specialist personal lines Lloyds insurer, has appointed Aidan Plumridge head of marketing and business development. Plumridge, who is returning to Cassidy Davis following a period as a director of Sterling Life, will be responsible for expanding the company’s London market presence and will spearhead the development of its new accident and health operation.

Age Concern Enterprises has appointed Joe Young as insurance product development manager. His key focus will be the home, car, travel and motor breakdown products. Young has more than 30 years experience in the industry.

Daniel Stockley takes on the post of business development executive at Bridge Insurance Brokers. He joins from Jardine Lloyd Thompson, where he was development executive.

Ace Global Markets has appointed Russell Burgess as underwriting manager, accident and health. He will be responsible for the strategic underwriting direction of the company’s portfolio. He will also lead product development initiatives and direct new business strategy.
Burgess joins from Chubb Europe, where he was senior accident and health underwriter.

UK Underwriting has appointed Alastair Harmby sales and marketing director. He worked for 17 years at UKI Partnerships. Karen Smith, who has worked for the company since 2002, has been promoted to technical director (underwriting}.

Matthew Snape has joined SSP as a senior account manager in its broker division, managing several strategic customers. Snape has spent the past eight years working in the London market.

Tim Pitts has joined the retail division of insurer Allianz as a motor schemes manager. Pitts will manage the underwriting development of all Allianz Personal motor broker schemes.