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Latest Press Releases And Comments

Here we cover all the very latest news. If you have a specific enquiry or something you’d like to find out about, please get in touch. Contact Martin Shaw at AFM via email martin@financialmutuals.org or call 0788 754 7195.

19 June 2017

Mutually Yours, June 2017

This edition of our newsletter includes the following items:

  • All Change in Westminster?
  • AFM Conference 2017
  • Regulation: nothing but blue skies?
  • Ethical dilemmas in insurance
  • Member update
  • Events

08 June 2017

AFM responses to FCA on IDD implementation

The Insurance Distribution Directive makes significant changes to the way insurers provide information to customers about products.  FCA is issuing two consultations on this in 2017: our response to the first one can be downloaded here.

28 April 2017

AFM Mutually Yours, April 2017 out now with all the latest on financial mutuals

This month’s Mutually Yours includes articles on:

  • All change in Westminster?
  • New AFM initiatives
  • New Associate member
  • AFM Member news
  • Governance in our members and in the AFM
  • Coming up... AFM conference and events
  • For your reading pleasure

For AFM member news, click here.

 

27 April 2017

AFM responds to EIOPA on complex insurance-based investment products

AFM has issued its response to European insurance regulator EIOPA on its consultation on complex insurance-based investment products.  We welcome the pragmatic approach taken, but recognise there is still scope for home regulators, including FCA, to take a less helpful approach.  We are concerned this would affect thousands of consumers who purchase products from financial mutuals.

For our full response, follow this link.

 

24 January 2017

AFM staff survey 2016 shows overwhelming support for mutual and not-for-profit ownership and leadership

Our new survey on the attitudes of staff in AFM members to their ownership model, and to the leadership model, demonstrate how important it is for employees of the organisation to be its strongest advocates.  

Employees in the sector recognise how the model of ownership has a positive influence on the values and ethics of the business, and that customers are attracted to the model.

Coupled with leadership that is perceived as visionary, and which enables staff to deliver great results, that looks like a recipe for sucess.

To see a summary of the slides, click HERE.

 

 

02 January 2017

AFM welcomes 8 new member companies from the BHCA

On 1 January 2017, members of the British Health Care Association transferred their membership to AFM.  This brings AFM membership now to 47, with another 22 Associate members.

The new members are all health cash plan providers, and are run on a not-for-profit basis.  This reinforces AFM's growing role in healthcare and protection, and strengthens its voice for representing small insurers run in the best interests of their members.

To coincide with the widened membership, AFM is establishing a new Healthcare and Protection Committee, and is redesigning its website to stress the increasing focus on healthcare.  The BHCA website has now closed, though their branding will be retained on AFM's website and, for two year's at least, on its health related project work.

The new members are:

  • BHSF
  • HSF Health Plan
  • Medicash
  • Orchard Healthcare
  • Plutus Health
  • UK Healthcare
  • Westfield Health
  • WHA Healthcare

The new members from BHCA join Paycare and Sovereign Health Care, who were previously members of both BHCA and AFM.

17 October 2016

British Health Care Association joins forces with AFM

The Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM) and The British Healthcare Association (BHCA) announce today that they will merge – a move, which bolsters their membership of financial mutuals and not-for-profit insurers, and confirms them as a stronger force in the healthcare sector.

For more, click here.

11 May 2016

The University of Oxford has launched a new report on 'Collaboration and partnership driving growth in the UK financial mutuals sector'.  The report was sponsored by AFM alongside the Building Societies Association.

To see the press release, including a quote from AFM, click here.

To read the full report, click here.

01 April 2016

Association of Financial Mutuals appoints new Chairman and vice-Chairman

April 2016

The Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM) - the trade body that represents mutual insurers, friendly societies and other financial mutuals in the UK – have appointed a new Chairman and Vice-Chairman.

At its March 2016 meeting the Board approved the appointment of Andy Chapman, Chief Executive of The Exeter as Chairman, and of Jane Nelson, Chief Executive of The Oddfellows as Vice-Chairman.

Both have served on the AFM Board for a number of years, and were appointed following approval by members of a new strategy in January, that will see AFM’s activities focus on the interests of smaller mutuals and friendly societies.

Andy Chapman has been Chief Executive of The Exeter since March 2008, when the organisation as it is today was created, merging together two friendly societies with a rich heritage in income protection and private medical insurance.  The insurer has been a Cover Excellence awards winner in each of the last five years.

Andy Chapman, Chairman of the Association of Financial Mutuals commented: “I’m delighted to become the latest Chairman of AFM.  The mutual insurance sector has grown 40% since 2007, in contrast to the UK insurance sector as a whole which has shrunk by 20% since the start of the financial crisis.  With 30 million policyholders, the sector is highly trusted by its customers and offers a real alternative to PLC insurers.  Small mutuals in particular have demonstrated a real flair for developing new products and innovative ways of working, and it will be a great pleasure for me to spread the word about the importance of a thriving mutual sector.”

Jane Nelson joined The Oddfellows in 1995 as Financial Controller, and then Finance Director, and became its Chief Executive in 2012.  The Society is over 200 years old, and through that time has combined the provision of savings and insurance plans with a wide range of social activities and the provision of care support across the UK.

Commenting on her appointment, Jane said: "I am very pleased to have been appointed Vice-chair of AFM.  The trade body combines its role of championing mutuality with a commitment to helping its members work in the best interests of their customers.  This is crucial to the success of the mutual sector in the future.”

26 February 2016

AFM's comments on the possible impact on mutual insurers of a decision by the UK to leave the European Union:

“Mutual insurers in the UK grew rapidly in the industrial revolution to serve local communities and trades, and they continue to work as part of those communities today.  Almost all the members of mutuals live in the UK, and mutuals employ all their staff here, pay their taxes here, and invest their assets predominantly in companies, government gilts and property in the UK.  Regardless of the result in the June referendum, with a focus solely on serving UK consumers, mutual insurers are unlikely to change a business model that has enabled them to grow more rapidly in recent years than the British insurance industry as a whole.  AFM research shows people trust mutuals more than PLCs, so during any uncertainty in the aftermath of the referendum mutuals could see a greater surge in business activity.

"If there is a decision to leave the EU, the most apparent impact on most mutuals will be the effect on the wider economy; for example how it affects the investment climate, interest rates and general prosperity.  Regulation is another key issue: in recent years the majority of insurance regulation has emanated from Europe, particularly via Solvency 2, and this has coincided with a time of closer scrutiny and much higher compliance costs.  Much of the UK rulebook will need to be rewritten, though as the UK regulators have actively embraced European rules, and as issues such as consumer protection and effective stewardship are now universally accepted, it is unclear that the tone of regulation would change significantly.

“More generally, the nature of mutuality is about people coming together to create shared solutions to common problems, and we expect to continue working with and learning from the experiences of other mutuals, both in the UK and abroad, whatever happens."