Good news with better still to come was the main takeaway from RSA’s 2020 results, according to Scott Egan (pictured) CEO, UK & International at RSA. From a group perspective, he said, the results were excellent and, in the UK & Ireland business, performance was strong albeit heavily impacted by COVID. The results provide a solid platform for the company going forward, he said, and build on his ambition to propel momentum in 2021.
Read more: RSA reveals full-year financial results
“If I look forward to 2021, it’s going to be another important year for the group,” Egan said. “Obviously, we have a change of ownership on the horizon but our strategic ambition for 2021 [has started] to shift. We’re focused on three key areas. Number one, we want to grow the business, in areas where we feel confident we’ve effectively restored competence in capability.
“We also want to continue to simplify our business. I’ve always been very honest that there are parts of our business that are too complicated, both for our employees and also for the customers. And so our ambition of simplification continues, [though] it’s not a one year journey. And, finally, I want to make sure that everything that we do within the business is done in a sustainable way.”
Egan noted that, in his first interview on taking his current role, he emphasised that broker partnerships are key to RSA and key to its success, and one of the reasons why the insurer needed to step up and do better. Over the last 24 months, he said, the business has tried to do that across multiple aspects of the relationship. He believes that RSA’s broker partners have started to see a difference in its trading mentality and in the relationships being formed.
“2020 proved to be a bit more challenging in getting out there, putting shoe leather on the pavement and meeting brokers and I, on a personal level, have missed that interaction, and I know our teams have,” he said. “But what’s been great is that the team pivoted to embrace the new technology that we’ve all had to get used to. And I would say that our broker relationships have really stepped up again.”
RSA’s ambition is to always do better and never take the support it receives for granted, he said, and the contribution of brokers, both large and small, particularly through its commercial lines business, is highly appreciated.
“I’m really proud of our achievements over the year,” he said. “And therefore my message would be that RSA UK & International is strategically absolutely on track. We set out two years ago to restore our credibility, and I said that openly – publicly and internally. And I think with these sets of results today, we can look forward to the future with confidence and ambition.”
No conversation about RSA’s future would be complete without touching on the implications of its recent takeover and Egan said he is excited by the prospect of how the change in ownership will accelerate the evolution of the business’s strategic direction. He noted that the deal is an important moment for Intact, as well as RSA, as it represents the company’s first acquisition outside of North America.
“Internally, there’s a real sense of pride, that we have a business that they want to acquire to take their ambitions further,” he said. “And we’re really excited about what we can learn from them to really improve our products, our proposition and our service to customers… I know them reasonably well from my time when I sat in the Canadian board of RSA operations and they’ve got a great track record of financial performance and high employee engagement.”
Over a sustained period of time, Intact has proven they have great customer metrics and that they’re renowned in the marketplace for services including data, analytics and digital. There’s a lot that they can bring to RSA, Egan said, and a lot that RSA can bring to them, which he considers a key indicator of a healthy acquisition. The shared goal is for the businesses to learn and improve based on the experiences of the other, resulting in a stronger UK & International division. The acquisition does not signal any change in the strategy of the business but rather a boost to its ongoing journey, Egan insisted.
The value of strong broking relationships is another shared focus of both Intact and RSA, he said. Intact has powerful relationships with its brokers in Canada. While they don’t have relationships with ‘regional brokers’, they work with the large global brokers that RSA works with and are well known among them.
“[These relationships] are really strategically important to them, they’re something they value hugely, and something that they put a lot of energy and effort into,” he said. “And I think those two things mean that we have a good meeting of minds in terms of our approach to the broker community.”