Simon Stevens has been appointed the new Managing Director of Rural Insurance Ltd, the agricultural insurance arm of specialist insurer UK General with effect from 1 March 2011.
Simon joins Harrogate-based Rural having had a highly successful career in the insurance industry, mostly recently as General Manager of Britannia Rescue, where he successfully grew the business’ market share and revitalised its operating structure. The appointment sees him re-united with one of his previous colleagues, Howard Posner, who is Executive Chairman of Rural Insurance Ltd.
Mr Stevens said he was delighted to be joining Rural Insurance at a time of change in the market. He said: “The agricultural sector is dominated by NFU and a small number of specialist players, including Rural, but I am convinced there are ample growth opportunities in this market. Agricultural businesses are diversifying fast from traditional food production into leisure, tourism and specialist food production.”
He added: “Rural has a well-earned reputation for providing high quality agricultural insurance products to clients, however, there is a major prize to be won from broadening our focus and tapping into diversification, where our customers can take advantage of Rural’s specialist underwriting capabilities and our commitment to delivering underwriting and service excellence.”
Mr Posner said he was delighted to attract someone of Mr Stevens’ calibre to Rural. “Simon has a track record of success after success, and having worked closely with him in the past at HBOS I know he has all the skills to bring the same to Rural.”
Mr Posner added: “Lance Harvey, one of the founders of Rural Insurance, has been undertaking two roles within Rural. Simon’s appointment allows Lance to relinquish his duties as Managing Director while retaining his position on the Board in the newly created position of Deputy Chairman.”
Commenting on the changes Lance Harvey said “We are convinced a stand-alone business model is best for our customers. Simon’s arrival as Managing Director and my move to Deputy Chairman completes the picture for Rural and positions the business for a step change in performance during the next few months”.