Royal London Insurance has recruited its first head of corporate
communications, to take on responsibility for media, government and
Stephen Humphreys joins the insurance company to head up the
three-strong communications team from his role as media relations
manager and head of public policy with United Utilities.
Royal London has close to one million customers and pounds 6 billion of
assets under its management. The UK’s biggest insurance company CGU,
formed by the merger of Commercial Union and General Accident earlier
this year, has eight million UK customers.
Humphreys’ remit includes reviewing communications needs and looking at
the need for agency support. Financial Dynamics has been working on the
’Mutuality means more’ campaign for Royal London since autumn 1997.
As a mutual insurance company Royal London is owned by its policy
holders, compared with companies such as The Prudential which as a
public company is owned by shareholders. ’The obvious strength of
remaining mutual is that we don’t have to pay dividends to the
shareholders, so there is more money for the members,’ said
The decision to introduce the head of corporate communications role
follows the arrival of Mike Yardley as chief executive in April. Yardley
affirmed his commitment to retaining the company’s mutual status and
communicating the benefits to customers.
Humphreys said that there was recognition at board level that Royal
London needed to improve its corporate communications. ’We have a
tremendous track record on the investments front, but we need to get
that across,’ he said.
During his time at United Utilities Humphreys also acted as a
quasi-personal assistant to former chairman Sir Desmond Pitcher. The
restructuring of United Utilities communications department under group
communications director John Drummond (PR Week, 20 February 1998), means
Humphreys will not be directly replaced.