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|Headquarters||Tiddington, Stratford-upon-Avon, England|
|Key people||Lindsay Sinclair (Chief Executive)|
|Products||Life, General, Pensions and Investments|
The National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Limited, trading as NFU Mutual, is a UK registered mutual insurance composite. It underwrites more than £1 billion (2008) in annual premium in life and general insurance lines for rural communities within the UK. NFU Mutual is based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. In contrast to insurance companies owned by their shareholders, NFU Mutual is owned by its policyholders.
Unlike most other UK insurers, NFU Mutual still uses a direct sales force. It has over 300 offices and over 5,000 staff and agents spread across the UK. This network enjoys a close relationship with the National Farmers Union (NFU). In 1909 the NFU Mutual was formed to offer insurance as an inducement for farmers to join the NFU. Many of the agents double as local union representatives. Many agents are self-employed and all are tied to NFU Mutual products.
From 1980 the NFU Mutual has accepted risks from outside of the farming community. NFU Mutual Direct was set up in 1996 to provide telephone and internet call centre services. The affiliate, Avon Insurance plc, provides personal protection and personal injury insurance.
NFU Mutual is currently engaged in a program to open new branches where NFU Mutual has never ventured before including Battle, East Sussex; Southport, Merseyside; and Oxford city centre. A further ten were planned for 2010.
There are currently 13 people on the board of directors, with these key individuals:
|Chief Executive||Lindsay Sinclair|
|Chairman of Board of Directors||Richard Percy|
|Finance Director||Kim Arif|
Lindsay Sinclair, the current CEO, joined NFU Mutual from ING Direct in autumn 2007. A New Zealander, aged 52, he is the first external CEO to be appointed at NFU Mutual. Ian Geden, his predecessor, was at NFU Mutual for more than 40 years.
NFU Mutual has strong financial solvency. It has assets of more than £10 billion and a Standard & Poor's credit rating of 'AA' (as of February 2005). NFU Mutual has a very high retention rate. Each year some 95% of policyholders renew. Underwriting is profitable.
In 2008, the general insurance book paid out £86 for every £100 premium received. Acquisition costs are high, reflecting the costs and commissions inherent in maintaining the branch network. Net written premium for general insurance grew by over 5% between 2007 and 2008.
NFU Mutual was formed in 1910 by 7 local farmers as the Midlands Farmers Mutual Insurance Society Ltd., with working capital of just £190. It was formed to provide an inducement for farmers to join the NFU, which had been formed 2 years earlier. The provision of cheap insurance cover for NFU members contributed to the early growth of the NFU and NFU Mutual. Life insurance cover was introduced during the 1920s.
Although originally providing insurance only for members of the National Farmers Union, the mutual diversified outside of the farming industry during the 1980s. Over half of the policies by number now originate outside of the farming community.
NFU Mutual currently trades within only the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. From 1948 to 1966, it offered insurance in Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe), Kenya and Tanganyika (now in Tanzania). In 1954 the NFU Mutual orchestrated the building of the new skyscraper, Farmer's Mutual House, in Harare.
As the NFU Mutual does not have shareholders, a large proportion of its profits are returned to customers in the form of a discount off the premiums of renewing customers. The discount ranges from 6% - 10% depending on the number of years that the policyholder has been using the mutual.
As part of the 100th anniversary, NFU Mutual intended to double the bonus for one year only.
- Victor Head; A Triumph of Hope, The Story of the National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Limited; The National Farmers Union; 1985;