Insurer looking at closer integration between personal lines unit and Endsleigh

Zurich is considering bringing its personal lines division and broking subsidiary Endsleigh closer together with shared functions in the latest chapter of its personal lines overhaul.

The company has also withdrawn Zurich-branded home and car products from aggregators, though it will continue to sell products on aggregators through Endsleigh and other brokers.

The insurer provided little detail about how Endsleigh and its personal lines unit will be integrated more closely but it could involve sharing processes and systems. A Zurich spokeswoman said it was too early to say whether any jobs would be affected.

The changes will be overseen by Zurich personal lines managing director Tim Holliday and Endsleigh managing director Ian Passmore.

Zurich has been taking corrective action on its personal lines book for the past three years, which has included cutting unprofitable business and cost-cutting.  In 2012, for example, it revealed plans to shed 400 jobs from the division, and shifted the administration of the Zurich-branded motor product to Broker Direct. And in November it announced plans to move personal lines claims handling to lower-cost Endsleigh.

It also shifted its direct and partnerships personal lines business to Endsleigh and the Wessex Group.

Zurich UK general insurance chief executive Steve Lewis said: “Over the last three years we have taken the necessary steps to transform our personal lines business to respond to both the prevailing challenging market conditions and the evolving needs of our customers.

“As part of this transformation, we have already successfully delivered a new  business model which puts Endsleigh at the heart of our personal lines business; giving it responsibility for systems, customer service, sales and claims handling. It’s important that we build upon this success and explore new ways of working together which will help to develop a sustainable personal lines business.

Commenting on the withdrawal of Zurich-branded products from aggregators, Lewis said: “The aggregator market remains an important channel and we will continue to offer relevant products through our wholly-owned subsidiary Endsleigh, and other national brokers.

“This is a decision to deploy our Zurich  brand in areas where we can offer a more tailored experience-led offering.”