Having a clear vision for the culture you are seeking to instil within a business is the first step to driving growth. For Lee Mooney (pictured), MD of RSA’s UK regions business, whose career with RSA spans over 20 years and has seen him undertake many of the roles he now oversees, being able to put himself in the shoes of his team has been integral to driving the strategic direction of the business. The culture he is looking to nurture within the sector, he said, is one that recognises that every single trading site should be different and able to seamlessly fit into the local economy that it helps form.
“We insist on products that are fit for the economy and which fit within the geographical location,” he said, “and it shouldn’t be a one size fits all approach across the piece. My business is about creating bespoke solutions for our customer base and about facing into the market. Every market is different and so we’re about tailored bespoke solutions that fit into the marketplace and speak to those differences.”
The UK regions business is currently two-thirds of the way through its implementation of the vision Mooney laid out when he first took on the role of MD. The first phase of growth was to stabilise the business to make sure it had a consistent proposition and that the team was in place to be there for customers. Part of this meant ensuring that the team fully understood what propositions were needed in which geographical locations and how best they could be rolled out.
Stage two has involved making sure all the right players are on the pitch and in position. For Mooney, this has meant equipping his team with the right tools and empowering them with the resilience required to drive it growth trajectory. However, he believes that the business needs to get better at being clearer on its appetite to its partners – it must be clear on specific trades, products and routes into RSA to find the right solution in a timely manner.
“The final part is for us to move further into the growth stage,” he said. “In 2019, we grew the region’s business above market average. In 2020, we are doing the same, and we are well above our initial growth trajectory and our peer group with respect to the market. In 2021, we will continue with this, so we are looking at investing in capability and specialism, and we are looking to bring new people into the business across the majority of our trading sites.”
2021 looks set to be a game-changing year for the UK regions business when it comes to its growth, Mooney said. Every KPI the team has set it has met, with market-leading retention rates, and the right customers being met with the right propositions and pricing solutions.
“In terms of new business, in 2020 we’ve had the best year on record since our records began and we’ve been here for 300 years,” he said. “We’ve seen really strong performance and our loss position, obviously excluding COVID, is also in a really strong position. In a sense, we’ve earned the right to grow and the right to invest and the right to show that we are a serious player in this market. We will grow and we will bring the best of our capability to our brokers, and we will strive to be the partner and the employer of choice [across the] UK.”
Mooney noted that particular emphasis for this growth will focus on RSA’s PROFIN lines which include professional indemnity and directors & officers insurance services. Within the business’s Scotland, Manchester, Birmingham and London locations, he said, there will be significant investment into these propositions and into the teams which will develop them in a bid to deliver more bespoke solutions to customers.
“We continually aim to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers, as we believe this is the best way to deliver mutual benefit,” he said. “A hard market needs insurance solutions and is not all about price optimisation. This is not about being the biggest in the market. The market position with respect to our scale is not a factor for me.
“I just want to make sure we have a sustainable business with consistent propositions for our customers. And that means making sure we have a business big enough to weather the storm and to ensure that if we have any large-scale incidents that hit our bottom line then we don’t have the knee-jerk reaction of having to provide unsustainable solutions to our partners and customers.”
The growth strategy Mooney is pursuing is centred on crafting a business and a P&L which has inbuilt shock absorbers that allow it to continuously innovate and evolve in response to the external environment. He noted that he will never look to drive a volume price model because to do so detracts from the team’s capacity to focus on customer value and the provision of stable customer-centric solutions.
“We’re not the cheapest show in town and I’m proud to say that,” he said. “We’re not a volume model that will chase on price, because all that does, as insurers and the market have complained about many times, is lead to the cycle of hard and soft insurance markets. Half of that cycle has been self-created because of the pursuit of price and the pursuit of volume. But we have the ability to put the brakes on, we have the ability to look at risk differently, and we have the ability and capability to provide different solutions, which is what we’re about.”