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Mutuals pay out £687m in claims and other benefits

AFM members’ income rose by 7.5% last year

Members of the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM) paid out £687m in claims and other policyholder benefits in 2018 – equivalent to nearly £2m a day.

Their income increased by 7.5% to reach £1,075m, in contrast to the UK insurance sector which saw overall growth of less than 1% last year, according to Swiss Re’s sigma report. 

The AFM said most UK mutuals tend to operate only in the UK market, so the growth can be contrasted to UK household spending on insurance, which fell 9% in 2018 according to government data. 

General insurance premiums grew most rapidly for AFM members, up 17% to £261m. Health and pensions providers saw an increase in income of 7% to £575m, while life and savings income fell £1m to £238m. 

AFM members between them now have around 8.3 million policyholders.  

Martin Shaw, chief executive of the AFM, said despite falling equity markets, Brexit uncertainty and lack of consumer confidence, AFM members continued to grow and to take market share from bigger, shareholder-owned insurers.

“It’s a trend we’ve seen since the beginning of the financial crisis and it’s clear evidence that consumers continue to have more trust in mutuals and recognise they offer better value for money,” he stated.