IFAJun 3 2019

Industry turns back on general insurance

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Industry turns back on general insurance
ByAmy Austin

Insurance giants are moving away from general insurance to pump funds into their pension and life business instead, FTAdviser has learnt.

LV announced last week (May 31) that it has sold its GI business to German insurer Allianz, while L&G has done the same.

Aviva is also considering a split of its pension and life arm from its other insurance business.

LV sold its remaining 30.1 per cent stake for £365m, completing a process that started in December 2017 and saw the insurer pocket a total £1.078bn to invest in its pensions and life insurance business.

A spokesperson for LV told FTAdviser: "We had grown the GI business to in excess of £1bn at which point it made sense to realise some of the value. 

"We ran the GI partnership with Allianz while the priorities of the two businesses were aligned. However, more recently it has become clear that Allianz want to continue investing in GI in the UK. 

"We want to use our capital to grow life and pensions so it made sense for us to complete the sale of the GI business to enable us to focus on growing this area of the business."

The mutual insurer stated pensions was its heritage and there were good growth opportunities in this area.

LV is also planning to convert from a friendly society to a company limited by guarantee, with members voting in favour of these proposals last week. This would enable it to become more competitive in the market, it stated.

Meanwhile, L&G sold its GI business to Allianz for £242m, and much like LV it stated reinvestment in core areas was a reason for moving away from this market. These include life insurance & pensions, annuities and investment management.

John Godfrey, group corporate affairs director at L&G, said: "GI was a small-ish business for us, on average less than 2-3 per cent of our profit and loss, and it was not part of our strategy to grow to market-leading scale under our ownership. It now has a great opportunity to do that with Allianz."

He added: "GI or household insurance is very different to life & pensions so synergies and cross-selling opportunities are small, and a sort of life-GI barbell doesn’t make sense, at least to us. 

"But redeploying proceeds from this sale into the core activities that we already do really well enables us to deliver the best results for customers and shareholders."

Last week it was revealed that Aviva is preparing to unveil a big shake-up of its UK business and is expected to split out its GI business.