June 15, 2012

It has all gone wrong for Swiftcover, Insurance Times reckons this week. But “where?”, the paper asks.

AXA chief Peter “Old Mother” Hubbard was all cock-a-hoop, the paper sneers, after he “persuaded his Parisian-based masters to fork out millions on the acquisition of Swiftcover” in 2007. But now look at it: “a business running at 121% combined ratio, including prior years which have lumped on 11.8 points”.

And now, Insurance Times notes, citing the crucial peg from which this story hangs, AXA’s personal lines chief Steve Hardly has quit (in despair/disgust no doubt).

The general calamity that is Swiftcover today, the paper argues, is the result of AXA’s wrong-headed determination to “grow the business very quickly.” There was once a time when the very mention of the name Swiftcover spread terror among even the likes of Admiral whose customers it poached with low-priced impunity.

Surely any fool could see this would not end well? No, Insurance Times relates, “AXA’s management had faith that Swiftcover’s state-of-the-art systems in fraud, claims verification, question sets and customer profiling would deliver underwriting results.”

If AXA appoints the wrong person to the Hardly role, it is certain to spell utter disaster and they’ll probably have to get out of personal lines in the UK altogether or something, the paper suggests, warning “AXA personal lines will need to be spot on with its selection of the next person to head the business.”

All of which is all very well, of course, but for the true story of how Swiftcover came to be in this quite literally catastrophic position – with a shocking current year combined ratio of 105.7% including non-risk income – catch up on Bankstone News’ razor sharp analysis of the awful story as it unfolded by simply clicking on the unappealingly hued links below:

May 2011: Bankstone News reveals how Swiftcover reveals how evil-minded people with loose change in their pockets hate German luxury cars, leading to fears over over-aggressive pricing.

Feb 2011: Bankstone News reveals how Swiftcover reckon people shouldn’t leave their engines running while they pop off to do some other stuff, leading to fears over over-aggressive pricing.

Sept 2010: Bankstone News reveals that Swiftcover’s customers often tell it lies, leading to fears over over-aggressive pricing.

April 2009: Bankstone News reveals how Swiftcover is bending over backwards for musicians after panning from Advertising Standards, leading to fears over over-aggressive pricing.

Feb 2009: Bankstone News reveals how Swiftcover can’t be doing with feckless musicians, leading to fears over over-aggressive pricing.

July 2011: Bankstone News reveals how Insurance Times wonders how AXA’s bold stance against referral fees will sit with its aggressive personal lines motor expansion through Swiftcover, leading to fears over over-aggressive pricing.


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