Insurance giant Aviva pushes back panel review

Insurance giant Aviva has put back a review of its UK and group panel, with the overhaul originally scheduled to finalise this week.

Aviva scheduled the review earlier this year after confirming places for Allen & Overy and Slaughter and May on its new-look plc panel, which advises the company’s board. A spokesperson for the firm said the project could be delayed until early September but was unable to confirm an exact date.

It was also not known what prompted Aviva to put the panel review on hold but the spokesperson said in a statement that the review was a “significant undertaking” and to ensure the “process is thorough and rigorous” it would take more time.

It is thought that around 25 firms are expected to pitch, including Linklaters, Clifford Chance, Latham & Watkins, Ashurst, DLA Piper, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Clyde & Co, Addleshaw Goddard and Pinsent Masons.

The review will be lead by group general counsel Kirsty Cooper and european general counsel Monica Risam, who was appointed in September 2011 to bind the global legal function together (5 September 2011).

Aviva took a tough approach to cost cutting for the plc rosta review, demanding a 15-25 per cent fee discount from firms pitching for a position. Prior to the reviews Aviva’s annual group legal spend was estimated at £14m. Unlike the plc panel, no fixed-fee requirements are expected to be placed on firms pitching for the UK and group panel.

The plc advisers grandfathered onto the panel, are under no obligation to uphold the discounts they agreed for the plc work for the new panel.

The UK and group review however, does require firms to have an office in the country they are pitching for work in.

Firms have been asked to tender for spots related to the UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy, France, Poland, Turkey and Asia.

Risam told The Lawyer that the reviews were part of the company’s effort to get its global rosters in order after a haphazard start (13 May 2013).

Once the latest reshuffle has been completed, Aviva is not expected to review its panel again for two years.