Abbey National PLC
10 January 2001
Abbey National to accelerate growth of general insurance
- Partnerships formed with Norwich Union and Capita Eastgate -
Abbey National plc aims to increase the number of general insurance policies it
has in force by around 40% over the next three years, from 1.4 million policies
to approaching 2.0 million. Growth will be achieved particularly within motor
insurance, predicted to grow by over 150%, creditor insurance, expected to
increase by over 50%, and home contents insurance, predicted to increase by over
Abbey National will widen choice for consumers and step up the pace of growth in
its general insurance business, by:
- Using a panel of competing insurers to provide a wider choice of products and
more competitive pricing. The panel will consist of known and trusted insurance
companies, some of which operate in specialist markets, enabling Abbey National
to cover a much wider range of customer needs.
- Forming partnerships with Norwich Union and Capita Eastgate, and aiming to
achieve industry-leading service standards, through process re-engineering,
systems development and external claims handling expertise.
- Introducing a full service on the Internet for all insurance products -
including quotes, applications, policy processing, policy alterations and claims
Under the new arrangement:
- A choice of competing panel insurers will be offered for a number of insurance
products (motor insurance, specified sum insured home insurance, and travel
- Norwich Union will continue to underwrite Abbey National's main home insurance
(buildings and contents) and creditor insurances (accident, sickness and
unemployment insurance for mortgage and unsecured personal loan holders) on an
exclusive basis. Norwich Union will also provide claims management on the
policies it underwrites.
- All policy administration (for policies underwritten by Norwich Union and
Panel Insurers) will be outsourced to Capita Eastgate. Claims settlement on
Panel Insurer policies will also be administered by Capita Eastgate.
- Capita Eastgate will also be responsible for the management and development of
IT systems to support all general insurance business, using its 'Consumer
Direct' platform. This platform, jointly developed by Capita Eastgate and Cap
Gemini Ernst and Young, aims to provide product flexibility and straight-through
processing - improving customer service and lowering costs.
- Customers will be able to deal with Abbey National in a variety of ways,
including branches, telephone, Internet, or through mortgage introducers.
- Abbey National has sold to Norwich Union its 15% stake in CGUUL (the joint
venture underwriting company set up by Abbey National and Commercial Union in
July 1995**), and has withdrawn from general insurance underwriting, in order to
focus on retailing. The total consideration from the sale is £25.8 million
The new arrangements will begin during the first quarter of 2001and Internet
access to a wider range of insurance covers will be launched mid-year.
The partnerships with Norwich Union and Capita Eastgate will be based on ten
year contracts. Abbey National will have a five year break option with Norwich
Union and a six year break option with Capita Eastgate.
Andrew Pople, Abbey National's Managing Director of Retail Banking, said: 'These
agreements mean we can grow our general insurance business by delivering real
customer choice and value, coupled with excellent service and efficiency levels.
'Our choice of partners, and our withdrawal from underwriting and general
insurance administration, reflects our strategy of focusing on making it easier
for our customers to take out good value insurance cover which is suitable for
their needs and on which they can fully rely.'
Derek Plummer, Corporate Partnerships Director, Norwich Union, said: 'Norwich
Union is delighted to continue and build on its relationship with Abbey
National. The provision of our claims total incident management should enhance
customer satisfaction, and reduce Abbey National's costs. We are happy to assume
the full underwriting role for Abbey National's main general insurance
programmes following the purchase of the 15% share in CGUUL.'
Rod Aldridge, Executive Chairman of The Capita Group Plc, said:
'We are delighted to have this opportunity to support Abbey National in growing
its general insurance business. The combination of Capita's strong track record
of delivering quality customer and support services, our depth of insurance
sector experience and our ability to provide leading-edge technology solutions
enables us to provide Abbey National, its customers and colleagues with a
strong, adaptable service now and into the future.'
Abbey National claims handling staff based in Bradford will transfer to Capita
Eastgate and Norwich Union. Abbey National staff in Liverpool and Bradford
responsible for customer service will also transfer to Capita Eastgate.
Staff based in customer service in Milton Keynes will be re-deployed as far as
possible within the Abbey National Group.
The impact of the new arrangements is expected to be favourable in terms of the
headline profitability of the general insurance business from 2002 onwards.
Significant investment spend in the region of £50 million is planned over the
next 36 months to deliver a single systems platform with new products,
multi-channel access and excellent service standards.
The contract with Capita Eastgate is expected to be worth around £323 million
over 10 years.
Jon Burgess, Abbey National Investor Relations 020 7612 4382
Lorna Waddell, Abbey National Media Relations 020 7612 4281
Christina Mills, Abbey National Media Relations 020 7612 3877
Liz Nicholson, Media Relations Manager 01603 688263
Shona Nichols, Group Marketing Director 020 7799 1525
Notes to Editors:
*subject to adjustment, not exceeding £4.9m return payments for Norwich Union in
the event of non-completion of the new partnership.
About Abbey National
Abbey National has over 1.4 million general insurance policies in force through
the Abbey National brand. These are largely home and contents policies. In
1998, Abbey National launched a competitive range of motor insurance products,
and has since registered over 155,000 new policies.
About Norwich Union
**CGU and Norwich Union merged on 30 May 2000 to create CGNU plc - the world's
6th largest insurer, the UK's largest insurance group and one of the top five
life insurers in Europe with substantial positions in other markets around the
CGNU's principal business activities are long-term savings, general insurance
and asset management with worldwide premium income and retail investment sales
of £26 billion and funds under management of more than £200 billion.
About Capita Eastgate
The Capita Group Plc is one of the largest and fastest growing professional
support services organisations in the UK. It provides an integrated range of
professional support services on long-term contracts across the private sector,
local and central government and education in the UK. Capita Eastgate focuses on
the provision of services to the insurance industry. The business supports over
150 syndicates and London Market insurers and is the largest third party claims
administrator in the UK.
With in excess of 8,000 people working across a network of over 100 sites,
generating a turnover in excess of £400m, it was promoted to the FTSE 100 in