Aviva announces new structures for Commercial Lines and Distribution


Aviva has set out new structures for its Commercial Lines business – consisting of SME, Global Corporate and Specialty (GCS), and Distribution.

The new structures for the SME and Distribution leadership teams will report into Dave Martin, MD, Distribution and SME Trading, while GCS will continue to report into Matt Washington, MD, Commercial Lines Underwriting & GCS.

The new structures will accelerate Aviva’s growth ambition for the Commercial Lines business, and bring increased focus on Aviva’s visibility, responsiveness and delivery for brokers and their customers.


  • In a newly created role, Michelle Taylor will join Aviva in January 2024 as Strategic Accounts Director. Michelle will be responsible for bringing greater visibility and responsiveness to Aviva’s key partners. Most recently Michelle was UK Head of Retail Sales and Distribution at Zurich.
  • Ryan Birbeck will move to the role of Broker Development Director, bringing frontline broker development teams together across all broker segments.

SME (Digital, Schemes & Mid-Market)

  • Having led the Mid-Market, Regional Specialty Lines and Schemes businesses on an interim basis, Michael Yabantu has been permanently appointed to Managing Director, Mid-Market. Michael will continue to oversee regional specialty teams.

Commenting on the new structure, Dave Martin said: “Since joining Aviva, I’ve been impressed with our people, products and services, which are some of the best in the market. This is complemented by our wide footprint and reach, and backed by a strategy that is clearly delivering results, as evidenced in our Q1 trading update. I am confident that we have all the necessary ingredients to continue to grow and achieve our plans and ambitions.   

“The structure we’ve announced today builds on this success and will ensure that we are even more visible and responsive by listening to and delivering for our brokers and customers in the way they want. I’m very excited that Michelle will be joining Aviva in the new role of Strategic Accounts Director. Michelle is a well-known and respected figure with our partners, and in this new role, I know she will really accelerate the growth of our strategic accounts.”


Underpinning GCS’s ambitious growth target, the new structure has been designed to ensure our people can make decisions that deliver for customers and transform performance. Key appointments and new positions include:

New strategic roles

Four new roles have been created to drive Aviva’s growth ambition for GCS. This includes three new underwriting director roles, which will supersede the previous CUO roles, and be responsible for the strategic direction for GCS across a number of key areas. Each of these roles will report directly to Matt Washington:

  • Ramesh Singh has been appointed as Underwriting Director, Financial Lines. Ramesh will join Aviva in the new year from CNA Hardy, where he was Head of Specialty Lines for the UK/European Region. Ramesh has a wealth of experience having worked in a wide range of International Underwriting and management roles in the Financial Lines and Specialty sector for several Multinational insurance organisations.
  • Matthew Gordon, current CUO Specialty Lines, Aviva, has been promoted to Underwriting Director, Specialty Lines & Multinational.
  • The previous role of CUO Commercial Lines will be separated into two roles:
    • CUO Commercial Lines, which will continue to operate across GCS and SME; 
    • A new role of Underwriting Director, Corporate Lines, to focus on strategy, execution and trading.

Announcements on these appointments will be made in due course.

Operations & Transformation

A new role of Chief Operating Officer has also been created to help deliver the strategic evolution of the GCS business and to realise GCS’s potential and capitalise on the exciting opportunities ahead. Beccy Brown, who was working in this role on an interim basis, has been successfully appointed to this role permanently. This role is integral to GCS’s strategic transformation to help build the business of the future and create a GCS identity with one team that supports the end-to-end representation for the customer.

A new role of Head of London Market Operations is also being created, which will report into Beccy, and will be responsible for further developing Aviva’s presence in the London Market.

Specialty Lines & Multinational

  • Howard Potter will be joining as the new Head of Marine on 7 August. Howard previously served as Chief Underwriting Officer and Head of Marine Cyber at Astaara. Howard has a wealth of experience in Marine Cargo Underwriting, having previously worked as Head of Cargo at CNA Hardy and Product Director for Marine at RSA.
  • Daniel Abramson will be joining Aviva GCS as Head of Construction in Q3 this year. Daniel brings a wealth of technical construction experience from his time at Zurich and AIG.

Matt Washington said: “Our new structure demonstrates the talent we have in the business and our appetite to invest with some exciting new hires. The investment being made into this important growth area will help us deliver on our strategic plans and ambitions for GCS.” 

Authored by Aviva


About Aviva

Aviva Insurance Limited is one of the UK’s leading insurance companies, part of the Aviva group with 34 million customers Worldwide. Aviva Insurance has been in the insurance business for more than 300 years.

In UK commercial, the insurance market remains challenging for insurance brokers and customers, due to the ongoing economic conditions. Aviva Insurance are focusing on improving our processes to ensure Aviva provide commercial customers with insurance cover at an acceptable price. Insurance brokers also recognised our excellent customer service by voting us Insurance Times General Insurer of the Year in 2012, for the second year running. youTalk-insurance sharing Aviva insurance news and video.

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