LV= | LV Group (UK)

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LV Group, formerly Liverpool Victoria, is the UK's largest remaining mutual or "friendly society", now with around 5.8m customers, including 1.1m members. Unlike most such associations, which traditionally focus on savings and investments, LV generates the bulk of its income from insurance, primarily motor vehicles, but also life and retirement protection, household and other general covers. It claims to be the country's "best loved" insurer, and has received several awards in recent years as the "most recommended" and "most trusted" in its field. LV had 6.3m policies in-force by the end of 2017, of which over 3m were for personal motor cover. Also that year it sold a 49% stake in its general insurance operations to international giant Allianz to support a newly minted strategic alliance under which LV takes over its new partner's personal lines business, in return for its own commercial insurance operations. That makes LV the country's #3 personal lines insurer. Allianz will acquire a further 21% of LV General Insurance by the end of 2019; LV's Life business remains wholly owned. LV had already expanded this side of the business dramatically since recruiting former Barclays executive Mike Rogers as chief executive in 2006, partly through acquisition of smaller rivals. Rogers also masterminded the reboot of the old-fashioned Liverpool Victoria brand as LV=. He was succeeded as chief executive by Richard Rowney (also ex-Barclays) in 2016. Total income in 2017 was £1.86bn, lower than in previous years as a result of higher reinsurance cover and lower investment income; but net profits before payouts to members were up sharply. Gross earned premiums before reinsurance were £2.4bn. General insurance accounted for two-thirds of that sum and life for the balance. The organisation was originally founded in 1843 as The Liverpool Victoria Burial Society to allow ordinary people to save up to pay for their funeral expenses. However the key development was the acquisition 150 years later of general insurer Frizzell Group, which provided the platform for its push into general insurance.

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Capsule checked 31st December 2018

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