Covéa Insurance and Sterling to capitalise on opportunities for sustainable growth

1st June 2015

Covéa Insurance and Sterling Insurance Group today announce proposals to fully integrate the two businesses to create a bigger, stronger organisation, committed to the combination of their product ranges, distribution channels and locations.

The intention is to transfer the insurance business of Sterling Insurance Company Ltd into Covea Insurance Plc, through an insurance business transfer under Part VII of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. This process is subject to approval by the High Court, which amongst other considerations will take into account the opinions of the FCA and PRA. The company is hopeful that the transfer can be completed by the end of 2015.

Led by James Reader, who will continue in the role of Chief Executive, the combined entity will provide a broad range of general insurance products and administration services to customers in the UK, generating revenue approaching £600m and employing almost 1400 people.

Making the announcement James Reader commented:

“Building a stronger UK business capable of delivering long-term sustainable growth remains our vision. I’m confident that a fully-integrated organisation will create the optimal platform for growth and best enable us to capitalise on the significant strengths of both businesses to the benefit of our customers, our business partners and our people.”

The Company is also announcing the new Executive team to lead the enlarged organisation, which is as follows:

  • James Reader – Chief Executive
  • John Blundell - Deputy Chief Executive
  • Clive Bryant - IT & Business Services Director
  • Simon Cooter - Commercial Lines & High Net Worth Director
  • Laurent Eckert – Chief Risk Officer
  • Adrian Furness - Claims Director
  • Carol Geldard – Retail Distribution Director
  • Simon Kneller – Actuarial Director
  • Edgar Penollar - Finance Director
  • Tony Pritchard - Commercial Director, Protection


James Reader added:

“Each member of the new Executive team brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be invaluable as we develop and grow our business. I’m delighted to have not only a really strong team to lead the business, but one which brings together a balance of experience from both Covéa Insurance and Sterling.

Inevitably bringing our businesses together means that there are some changes at an Executive level and David Sweeney, who is currently Sterling’s Director of Commercial & Personal Lines, has decided it’s the right time for him to step aside. David has made an enormous contribution to Sterling’s success over the past eight years and will be missed. He leaves with our sincere thanks and our very best wishes in his future career.

Looking forward, continuing to build on Sterling’s unrivalled focus on service excellence and the investments Covéa Insurance has made in delivering a great customer experience, is an absolute priority. We’ll be taking the best elements from both organisations to deliver an even stronger market offering based upon quality products and high-end service propositions across all our product lines and distribution channels.”





About Covéa Insurance

Covea Insurance Plc is the UK underwriting business of leading French mutual insurance group Covéa, who are number 1 for property and liability insurance in France, generating over 16.6 billion Euros in premiums in 2020.   

Covéa Insurance looks after the insurance needs of over 2 million policyholders; delivering financial reassurance through its Standard & Poor’s ‘AA- stable’ rating, as a guaranteed subsidiary of Covéa. 

The company offers motor, household, protection, pet, mid and high net worth insurance and a range of commercial insurance products, through a range of distribution channels.

Employing over 1900 people, Covéa Insurance has a strong people and service ethos.  It holds ServiceMark accreditation with Distinction for its Personal Lines operation and its Commercial & HNW Claims teams, as well as Chartered Insurer status for its Commercial business.  Covéa Insurance is signatory to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter and the insurance Inclusivity Pledge and has been named one of the top 75 employers in West Yorkshire & the Humber.

Recently, Covéa Insurance won the General Insurer of the Year award at the British Insurance Awards 2021. It was named as the Best Place to Work in Digital (Large Organisations) at the Digital Technology Leaders Awards and as the Best Employer at the Yorkshire Financial Awards.  They were also recipients of the Best Insurer title at the British Claims Awards, High Net Worth Product of the Year Award at the Insurance Times Awards, the Staff Empowerment Award at the Diversity & Inclusion in Insurance Awards.

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