LVSep 13 2017

LV invests millions in robo-advice

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LV invests millions in robo-advice

LV, the mutual insurer, retirement and investment group, has revealed how much it has invested so far in improving its technology, including on its robo-advice arm Retirement Wizard.

The provider has ploughed more than £80m into updating itstechnology during the last two years, the company said in its half year results today (13 September).

Richard Rowney, group chief executive at LV, said: “Our continued investment in digital initiatives is enabling us to both reduce costs and improve productivity.”

Mindful of the need to bring its customers along with moves to modernise its service, at the same time that it invests in robo-advice the provider is improving customer satisfaction levels, Mr Rowney said.

“This combination of factors underpins the growth in both our trading businesses, and together with the significant capital strengthening actions underway leaves the group well positioned for the future.”

In the first six months of 2017, LV saw its operating profit from trading operations increase by 58 per cent to £82m, when compared to last year.

This result was largely due to an increase of the general insurance profit – up by 123 per cent to £49m – and the result of the life and pensions business – an 18 per cent growth to £33m.

The provider had an increase of new business premiums in the life and pension sector of 8 per cent to £1bn, when compared to the first six months of the previous year.

This was led by a hike in its pensions business, up by 29 per cent to £654m, partly driven by transfers from final salary schemes, as people continue to exercise their options under the pension freedom reforms.

The provider is also seeing strong growth in its corporate business, where it works with employee benefit consultants and corporate partners to provide specialist retirement advice and tools to their pension scheme members.

LV has 19 such schemes either live or in implementation stage, the company said.

In the six months to December, LV saw its general insurance arm lose £26m due to one-off costs associated with the cut in the Ogden discount rate, used to calculate the amount of compensation paid to severely injured claimants.

Mr Rowney said the company has “successfully managed the impact of the Ogden discount rate change and premiums are up 4 per cent to £817m”.

During the first six months of the year, the provider announced a strategic partnership with Allianz, where the company agreed to pay £500m for a 49 per cent stake in LV’s general insurance business.

Mr Rowney said: “Following completion of the transaction, we will continue to benefit from a growing general insurance venture, while being better able to invest in our core life and pensions business and pursue new digital opportunities.

“I am also excited by the potential to work together with Allianz in other areas over the long term.”

LV is also tackling its costs, having started a reduction programme targeting over £40m by the end of 2018.

The company has achieved a reduction in gross expenses by £12m to £200m in the first six months.

According to Mr Rowney, “savings have largely been achieved through strong day-to-day cost management discipline and an ongoing review of discretionary spend”.

He said: “Management continues to focus on underlying trading cost control.”