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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.

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."

08 July 2015

Mike Rogers, CEO of LV= is next chairman of the Association of Financial Mutuals

AFM adopts good corporate governance, by appointing its board of directors on an annual basis.  At its meeting on 8 July, the outgoing AFM Board approved the appointment of the incoming Board.   As Mark Goodale, CEO of Reliance Mutual had served the maximum term of three years as chair that is permitted by our constitution, he duly stood down and the Board appointed Mike Rogers, Group Chief Executive of LV= as his successor.

On his appointment, Mike Rogers said:  “As Chief Executive of one of the UK’s largest mutuals I am pleased to be able to take an active role in how we can best shape our industry to ensure we are well placed for the future. I believe that our mutual status gives us the ability to truly act in our members' and customers' best interests. The mutual model is not an old-fashioned one, in fact it is very modern and relevant to today’s economic environment and key to the success of the overall financial services sector. I look forward to being able to use my knowledge and skills to support the work of the AFM in the chairman role.”

27 March 2015

The Mutuals' Deferred Shares Act received royal assent in the House of Lords yesterday evening.

This was only possible because of the dedicated support from Lord Naseby and Jonathan Evans MP, as well as the commitment of the Treasury to ensure the Bill progressed swiftly enough through the parliamentary process.

AFM met with Treasury earlier this month to explore how to maintain momentum: before mutual insurers can begin to create new share capital there is a need for secondary legislation and regulatory approval.  Treasury has agreed to convene a working group with a range of interested parties, so that by the time the next Treasury Minister is appointed, there is a clear picture of how the shares will operate.

The range of discussions will include ensuring the shares count as regulatory capital, enabling retail consumers to buy the shares, determine how small as well as larger mutuals might take advantage of the shares, how the new capital opportunities available to the sector can contribute to a stronger mutual market more generally.

Commenting today, LV= chairman Mark Austen said: “We hope this marks a turning point in the legislative and regulatory attitude towards these ownership models to ensure their further development as an important and diverse part of the financial services industry.”

Royal Assent was granted during the prorogation process, marking the end of the parliamentary term.  During the same session, the Deregulation Act was given Royal Assent, which includes the legislation necessary to permit the transfer, from 6 April 2015, of Child Trust Fund accounts to Junior ISAs.

15 April 2015

Obtaining additional ISA allowances following the death of your spouse or civil partner 

Since 3 December 2014, where a person holding an ISA dies and that person was married or in a civil partnership, the surviving spouse/civil partner is entitled to an extra ISA allowance equal to the value of the ISA(s) held by their spouse/civil partner (even where the spouse/civil partner does not actually inherit the ISA). This is referred to as the Additional Permitted Subscription (APS) allowance. 

The attached leaflet  is available for use by all members and can be saved, printed or copied as required.