Direct Line hires Aviva executive Adam Winslow as its incoming boss

Direct Line hires Aviva executive Adam Winslow as its incoming boss

  • Winslow has run Aviva’s UK and Ireland general insurance arm since May 2021
  • He also spent eight years in various positions at American insurance giant AIG
  • Direct Line Group, which owns the Green Flag brand, fell to a £39.5m last year

Embattled insurer Direct Line has appointed Adam Winslow to be its next chief executive following one of the most challenging years in the firm’s history.

Winslow has run Aviva’s general insurance business in the UK and Ireland since May 2021, having previously been in charge of the group’s international markets arm.

Prior to that, he spent eight years in various roles at American insurance giant AIG, including as head of its global life insurance businesses.

New boss: Aviva has appointed Adam Winslow (pictured) to be its next chief executive

He is expected to join the company in the first quarter of next year, succeeding Jon Greenwood, who became acting chief executive in January after Penny James stood down.

Her departure came a fortnight after the Bromley-based business caused alarm among investors by issuing a profit warning and axing its final dividend.

Two months later, Direct Line, which owns the Churchill and Green Flag brands, reported plummeting to a £39.5million annual loss from a £343.7million profit the previous year.

Its performance was impacted by Financial Conduct Authority rules introduced last year that prevent insurance firms from ‘price walking’ – imposing higher premiums on loyal customers.

Meanwhile, the group’s motor division was hit by soaring used vehicle prices, as well as the Ukraine war causing longer repair times and higher claims costs.

In addition, claims from heavy weather events shot up to £149million, more than double prior assumptions, following particularly cold weather across Scotland and North West England in December.

The company warned that earnings would continue to be affected by economic uncertainty and ‘higher than assumed’ claims inflation in its motor business.

Since then, Direct Line has acknowledged underpaying some car and van insurance customers over a five-year period.

It has been ordered by the FCA to review losses on vehicles written off between September 2017 and mid-August 2022 to identify policyholders who collected ‘unfair settlements’ and compensate them.

Danuta Gray, chair of Direct Line Group, said: ‘Adam has deep expertise in the UK general insurance market and significant leadership experience, spanning two decades across personal and commercial lines insurance.

‘The board conducted an extensive search, and Adam Winslow stood out for his strategic understanding of the sector, outstanding track record of leading high-performing businesses and his focus on driving operational excellence to consistently meet customer needs.’

Winslow is expected to be handed a £820,000 yearly salary and a pension allowance of 9 per cent, in line with the firm’s staff.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said the incoming boss ‘looks like a safe pair of hands…and is well versed in the challenges facing the UK general insurance market.’

Direct Line Group shares were up 1.65 per cent, or 1.6p, up at 162.35p on Wednesday morning, although the value has fallen by about 48 per cent in the past two years.