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LV profits jump as ‘tough trading conditions’ dent life insurance arm

By Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

Insurance firm LV has reported  a jump in like-for-like profits for the first half of the year, despite a downturn in sales for its life and pensions business.

The firm, which specialises in mutual insurance, retirement and investment, said profits bounced higher on the back of improving investment markets, which offset cost increases.

LV posted like-for-like pre-tax profits of £35 million for the six months to June 30, up 191% from £12 million in the same period in 2018.

Nevertheless, the company said that its life and pensions division, one of its largest arms, has faced “tough trading conditions” in 2019.

The division saw sales slide by 26.8% to £710 million, from £970 million in the same period last year.

Its savings and retirement business also saw sales plunge, as they fell 31.5% to £560 million amid a continued decline in the pensions market.

The half-year figures come after LV agreed a deal to sell its remaining shares in the LV General Insurance business to Allianz for £365 million.

The deal will be completed at the end of 2019 and “represents a good deal for members”, the company said.

Richard Rowney, LV Group chief executive, said: “2019 is an important year in the evolution of LV as we establish the foundations from which to build a better mutual for the future.

“One of the foundations of our success over the years has been the strength of the LV brand and this remains in good health.

“By the end of 2019 we will have completed our transition to a pure life and pensions provider with a clear focus on the low risk, advice led, mass affluent market.

“We look to the future with confidence as we build momentum across savings and retirement, and protection while continuing to provide a good service to our heritage customers.”