LV - or Liverpool Victoria - was until recently the UK's largest remaining mutual or "friendly society". Unlike most such associations, which traditionally focus on savings and investments, LV has for years generated 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. However, in a rapidly consolidating insurance market, LV was becoming increasingly isolated. In 2017, it sold a 49% stake in its general insurance operations to international giant Allianz to support a newly minted strategic alliance under which LV would take over its new partner's personal lines business, in return for its own commercial insurance operations. That made LV the country's #3 personal lines insurer. Allianz agreed to buy out the remaining 51% of LV General Insurance in 2019. It continues to operate under the LV brand under license. Combined income from the divestment was £1.1bn. Total income for 2019 was almost £1.8bn, including the benefit from the GI sale. LV's Life & Pensions business remained wholly owned. The group 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, but Rowney too departed following the sale to Allianz. That deal left the remaining Life & Pensions business even more isolated and in 2020, following a strategic review, LV accepted a £530m buyout from private equity fund Bain Capital. Former Zurich executive Mark Hartigan is now chief executive. 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.
Capsule checked 22nd December 2020
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