Market InSights: UK 2014

Mutual insurers have been the fastest-growing part of the UK insurance industry since the financial crisis, according to the latest financial research from the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF).

The Market InSights: UK 2014 report, published in partnership with the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM), the UK trade body and ICMIF member, shows that the UK mutual insurance sector recorded an impressive overall premium growth of 40% since 2007, compared with a contraction of more than 20% by the total UK market during the same period. As a result, mutuals' share of the total UK market increased from 4.4% in 2007 to 7.7% in 2014.

Collectively, UK mutual insurers wrote GBP 16 billion in insurance premiums in 2014, and held more than GBP 140 billion in assets. The report also highlights that there were approximately 100 mutual insurers writing business in the UK in 2014. These insurance companies collectively employed more than 25,000 people and served around 30 million members/policyholders. The majority of the UK’s oldest insurers still operating today are mutual (mostly friendly society) insurers, as many have been writing business and serving their members for over 150 years.

The Market InSights report includes a year-on-year analysis of the premium and market share growth of the mutual sector since 2007, with comparison to the rest of the UK insurance sector. The report also includes analysis of mutual premium income by line of life and non-life business; asset growth; and a definitive list of the 30 largest mutual insurers ranked by 2014 premium income.

Commenting on the report, Mike Rogers, Chairman of the AFM and Group Chief Executive of LV=, said “Mutual insurers in the UK have now seen a number of years of consistent growth – one that outstrips that of non-mutual insurers. The conclusion we can draw from this is that not only did people see the sector as a ‘safe pair of hands’ during the crisis, but their confidence continues, and mutuals are well placed to drive growth in UK insurance.”

He added: “These figures demonstrate that the mutual sector is key to economic growth in the UK. Our voice is an important one and we need to work with the Government on securing continued, profitable growth for mutuals and ensure we are as well placed as PLCs to prosper.”

The Market InSights reports are a series of market-specific reports compiled using the latest data from ICMIF's Global Mutual Market Share research, a market intelligence report on the size and performance of the global mutual and cooperative insurance industry. The latest research highlights that the mutual and cooperative model represents more than 27% of the global insurance market by premium income and has also continued as fastest-growing part of the global insurance industry since 2007.

The Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM) is the trade body that represents mutual insurers, friendly societies and other financial mutuals across the UK. Launched on 1 January 2010, following the merger of The Association of Mutual Insurers and the Association of Friendly Societies, AFM now comprises 47 member companies. Between them, mutual insurers manage the savings, pensions, protection and healthcare needs of over 30 million people in the UK and Ireland.