As more UK workers live with long-term illness, income protection from a mutual provider has never been more relevant

6 April, 2022

Members of the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM) that offer income protection products paid out 94.1% of claims received in 2021, up from 93.9% the previous year.

In total, AFM providers paid out around £34 million in claims to 10,300 policyholders in 2021 (including nearly 8,200 new claimants).  Read on

LV’s move to go it alone is bold

11 February, 2022

Right after the members of LV= rejected the proposed sale of the business to the US private equity firm Bain, Royal London reaffirmed its interest in talking about a merger. That now seems to have fallen through, but before I look at the latest developments, a quick reminder of how we got here. Read on

Collaboration opportunities for Financial Mutuals

Whitecap Consulting, in partnership with the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM), recently published a report analysing the strategic landscape for financial mutual organisations in the UK. The Whitecap team is summarising the key findings in a series of blogs.

In this article, Julian Wells and Chloe Thompson, of Whitecap Consulting, examine the extent to which collaboration can be seen across organisations within the AFM membership and discuss some of the associated challenges. They also highlight examples of collaborative relationships across the membership and identifies potential areas of opportunity for collaboration in the future, including cross-sector collaboration with other mutual organisations, posing three key questions to the CEOs. Read more

Competitive Advantage and Growth

Whitecap Consulting, in partnership with the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM), recently published a report analysing the strategic landscape for financial mutual organisations in the UK. The Whitecap team is summarising the key findings in a series of blogs.

In this article, Luke Freeman and Chloe Thompson of Whitecap Consulting discuss the sources of competitive advantage that can be identified across the AFM membership as well as the areas of divergence across the sector. We also replay some of the report’s findings around the competitive differences between AFM providers that serve specialist markets and those that serve mass markets. Lastly, we suggest a number of questions for CEOs and leadership teams that encourage a discussion around core proposition and attitude to growth.  Read more

ESG and the potential opportunity for future competitiveness

Whitecap Consulting, in partnership with the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM), recently published a report analysing the strategic landscape for financial mutual organisations in the UK. The Whitecap team is summarising the key findings in a series of blogs.

In this article, Richard Coates and Chloe Thompson of Whitecap Consulting examine the potential opportunity surrounding the ESG agenda, particularly with regards to its link to mutuality and social purpose and how financial mutuals can proactively engage with a broad spectrum of ESG activities as part of their strategic discipline. For example, reducing environment impact through energy use and CO2 footprint; leveraging social and human capital across the business model, including diversity and Inclusion; and providing leadership, governance, and risk management with current and prospective members. Read more

AFM Comments on the vote by members of LV= to reject the proposal to sell to Bain Capital

10 December 2021

Martin Shaw, Chief Executive of the Association of Financial Mutuals, stated:

“The Board of LV has failed to make its case.  Sufficient members have voted against the proposal to scupper the plans to sell the business to Bain capital, and as a truly democratic business, the Board must now take a different path.

“We expect that the Board will have heard the strong dissent from many members, and the equally strong concern expressed by politicians, and so must determine how the best interests of members are secured for the future.  We think this will be by remaining in mutual hands, either as an independent business with a new and more visionary Board, or by a merger with another mutual.

“The problems in LV were a result of recent management decisions, a falling membership base and a challenging capital position. Those are not problems that affect other mutual insurers, who in fact increased market share in 2020, and who gained wide-ranging credit for their support to members during the pandemic.”

Future role of digital technology for financial mutual organisations  

Whitecap Consulting, in partnership with the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM) and a number of sponsoring partners, recently published a report analysing the strategic landscape for financial mutual organisations in the UK. The Whitecap team is summarising the key findings in a series of blogs.

In this article, Julian Wells and Chloe Thompson of Whitecap Consulting examine the role that digital technology will play for mutual organisations with regards to enhancing member engagement and delivering efficiency gains. The blog also discusses the current approaches to the adoption of technology across the AFM membership and poses a number of questions to CEOs and leadership teams that consider the potential opportunities surrounding technology and collaboration and the potential areas for future investment. Read more

The Mutual Ethos – Financial Mutuals, Friendly Societies, and Building Societies

Whitecap Consulting, in partnership with the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM), recently published a report analysing the strategic landscape for financial mutual organisations in the UK. The Whitecap team is summarising the key findings in a series of blogs.

In this article, Luke Freeman and Chloe Thompson of Whitecap Consulting compare and contrast Whitecap’s research with AFM to its analysis of the building society sector, which was published in partnership with the Building Societies Association (BSA) earlier this year. Key similarities that can be identified include the successful deployment of a range of strategies and business models; organisations being extremely purpose driven; the importance of mutuality but also evidence of the associated challenges surrounding tangibility and member benefits; the appetite for collaboration, especially on technology and lastly, the challenge of navigating digital transformation in order to stay relevant to current and prospective members.

Read more

Mutuality – People and purpose ahead of profit

Whitecap Consulting, in partnership with the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM) and a number of sponsoring organisations, recently published a report analysing the strategic landscape for financial mutual organisations in the UK. The Whitecap team is summarising the key findings of the report in a series of blogs.

In the first of these articles, Richard Coates and Chloe Thompson of Whitecap Consulting examine what impact mutuality has on the culture, behaviours and decision-making that are evidenced across the AFM membership. They also discuss the future opportunities for mutuality in light of the increased focus on social purpose, purpose-driven organisations and associated trends including conscious consumerism. In doing so, they pose several key questions for CEOs of AFM member organisations.

Click here to read the blog

New report outlines plan to ‘future proof’ financial mutuals

18 November, 2021

A report published today by the Association of Financial Mutuals and Whitecap Consulting highlights the key areas of current and future focus for mutual insurers and friendly societies, and provides a set of strategic considerations for the CEOs and boards of these organisations.

Read more

AFM CEO comments on the deal offered to LV= members from its sale to Bain Capital

4 November, 2021

If members feel aggrieved that the sale to Bain Capital for £530 million means that only £111 million will be paid to members in 2022 in return for their vote, with a 0.1% top up to with-profits policies for each year it was held, then that’s something they may have to get used to. Read more

Mutual providers of Child Trust Funds confirm commitment to support young people with a learning difficulty

20 October, 2021

The government has announced it will shortly be issuing a consultation designed to streamline the process by which children with learning difficulties can access their Child Trust Fund (CTF) when it matures. Read more

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