April 19, 2013

Of all the many ways one might describe downsizing insurer Uvavu, sinking ship would be probably be the very last phrase that would come to mind. If you were Robin Spencer.

Interviewed in Insurance Age this week, Uvavu’s UK and Ireland chief exec, insisted that pretty much any other epithet would be more apt. If it were up to him, people would stop using the words sinking and ship to describe his firm – and would recognise that Uvavu is anything but a sinking ship.

And, you know what, he may even be right! If heaving around 2,000 crew members over the side during the coming six months doesn’t leave the Good Ship Uvavu significantly lighter in the water, Bankstone News for one would be very surprised indeed. Unless she’s holed, obviously.

Even the fact that former UK Intermediary & Partnerships Director Janice Deakin recently jumped ship to sail with salty old sea dog Arthur J Gallagher could start to look like more of a positive than a negative, from a floatation point of view.

So let’s hear no more talk of sinking ships where Uvavu is concerned. In fact, far from making her a sinking ship, Spencer insists with Nietzschean bravado, freezing pay and benefits and ditching large numbers of staff will make Uvavu stronger.

“I think it would be wrong to convey that we are a sinking ship,” he told Insurance Age. In reality, he insisted defiantly, “we have never been stronger”, although, he added, “we have got the potential to be significantly stronger in the UK.” Perhaps by ditching additional crew members next year?

Insisting bravely that Deakin’s departure did not “in any way faze me at all”, Spencer hinted darkly that he has the odd cunning plan up his sleeve. “I want to make it really, really difficult for other insurers” he said, predicting that “it’s going to be a nightmare for people to compete with us.”

Blimey!


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