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LV= AGM underlines commitment to mutuality

19/10/2022
FINANCIAL AND CORPORATE

LV=’s 2022 AGM was held at the Village Hotel in Bournemouth on 18 October 2022.

The full recording of the AGM, including all questions and answers, is available on our website: www.LV.com/AGM

Chair Simon Moore and CEO David Hynam addressed members for the first time, underlining their commitment to LV=’s mutuality and to achieving the very best for LV=’s members.

Simon Moore stated: “This board, your board, is committed to that mutual future. We are here to make a mutual future work for you” while underlining the steps LV= is taking to ensure the sustainability of the wider mutual sector, including talks to join the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM).

David Hynam praised LV=’s culture: “The values of LV=’s mutual culture are very important – I’m a passionate believer in diverse and inclusive organisations” while signalling the importance of competing in the areas of the market where LV= is strongest, saying it was a “new chapter” for the business.

“So to start with making mutuality work: I wasn't around during the strategic review process – that happened a couple of years ago – but during that process the Board concluded that the Bain deal was the best option for members. Members in the general meeting said they didn't agree. They valued mutuality, and they valued membership. This board, your board, is committed to that mutual future. We are here to make a mutual future work for you.

“We have entered discussions about joining the Association [of Financial Mutuals], and I hope to conclude those satisfactorily over the next few months. It's part of our commitment to the wider mutual community.

“David [Hynam] and I are very clear: LV= today, under new leadership, will hold transparency and fairness at the heart of what we do.
“We are going to build a company in the co-operative spirit, standing alongside one another as our founders in the nineteenth century did. This will be a truly successful company focused on your long-term benefit.”

 
Simon MooreLV= Chair

On the subject of active engagement with members, Moore made two key commitments:

  • “We're going to build on the success of the existing Members Forum by establishing our new online community. The purpose of that is to draw on a diverse range of views from every place in the country, from every age and every background. We want more dialogue. We want more engagement.
  • “In order to bring the With-Profits Committee closer to the board, I have asked the chairman of the With-Profits Committee to join the board as a permanent attendee… that will bring the voice of the with-profits member into the boardroom.”

Moore also added a note of caution with regard to external factors, adding, “consumer confidence is low … with turbulence for investors large and investors small” and that LV= will “need to provide balance against the current challenging market.”

“I’ve worked for some great brands and in all sorts of company structures. Those with most success are purpose-driven and put members and customers at the very centre of what they do. The values of LV=’s mutual culture are very important - I’m a passionate believer in diverse and inclusive organisations. I want members to be proud to be a part of LV= and I want our teams to feel that pride too.
 
“This is a new chapter for LV= and we have to be able to compete in the areas where we are strong. Although we are facing a period of unrivalled economic uncertainty and a challenging market, we must remain focused on our specialised offering, where we are consistently strong and where we are delivering real growth in the business.
 
“Our job – my job – is to ensure we equip LV= for a future of long-term success for members. That means making the right decisions today, and looking after our members both now and in the future.”
David HynamCEO

Barry Cudmore, Chief Financial Officer, pointed to LV=’s resilience in the face of economic challenges. He said:

“Despite a challenging year, LV= proved resilient and overall we saw good financial performance in 2021. We were well capitalised and we made good progress on volumes, margin and efficiencies. We also outperformed our key targets, including our new business sales and profitability targets.

“We aim to deliver strong investment returns for members by targeting with-profits returns at or above the benchmark.

“Our main With-Profits Fund delivered a good overall return for 2021 of 6.8%. The average return over the last three years was just over 10%

“The total profit related bonuses we shared with members in 2021 was £38 million.

“We were able to share this with our with-profits members through a mutual bonus of £28 million and an exit bonus of £10 million introduced following the sale of the general insurance business.

“Looking to 2022 and beyond: businesses and society face very challenging times. As a business, we will do all we can to prepare for any market volatility and weather this. However, we are not immune and like all businesses, we will feel the effects of external pressure and believe there are some strong headwinds. As a leadership team we will continue to make business decisions ensuring we are financially robust and are doing what is right for our members and advisers.”

Clive Bolton, Managing Director of Protection, Savings and Retirement talked about the transformation of LV=’s business:

“In the period leading up to 2019, LV= was in a very different place to where it is now. The business was suffering from reducing sales in key areas and there was no focus around who

LV=’s target customer was. The business was not clear on where it should be competing, nor its offer to the market.

“The cost base was high and the ageing IT infrastructure made us difficult to do business with. In addition, the With-Profits Fund was reducing in size due to increasingly low sales of with profits investment products and this seriously restricted the ability for the business to invest in its future.

“Our challenge was to develop and implement a plan that would address these issues and create a strong and sustainable business fit for the future.”

LV=’s four-pillar turnaround strategy has led to an improved financial performance:

  • “Firstly, Smoothed Managed Fund flows have more than doubled in 2021 contributing to the health of the With-Profits Fund. This is a significant achievement.
  • “Similarly our Protection sales have increased substantially as we started to refocus the business on larger cases and premium products.
  • “Expenses have been reduced as we remove the Group cost not required after the sale of the General Insurance business and aligned company resources more effectively to the strategy.
  •  “Finally, most pleasing has been the return to profitability for the new business in 2021.”

Jo Noone, Director of Customer and Adviser Experience spoke about the importance we place on delivering for our customers and members:

“In 2021 we paid out over £119 million pounds in life insurance, income protection and critical illness claims. We always look to pay a claim in line with our terms and conditions, and so far this year we have approved and paid 97% of all life claims submitted to us.

“The speed at which we pay claims is important too. We have already made significant improvements across all areas, for example the time it takes us to pay protection claims has improved to an average of 4 working days, down from 14 days.

“At LV= we have a robust review process with 72% of complaints being resolved within three days, compared to the market average of 50%.

“The Financial Ombudsman Service upheld 95% of referrals to them from members appealing our decisions, compared to the market average of 63%.

“Our complaints team has recently been recognised as a winner in the Collaboration Network Awards for the Best Approach to Complaints.”