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pet insurance

Confused.com reveals that ‘Gender has never mattered less’

A new Confused.com report, entitled ‘UK caught in the gender blender’ anticipates new EU gender rules, which will come into force on 21 December 2012. The rules will mean that men and women will be treated identically when it comes to insurance, with no more gender-based discounts for women drivers. Cheaper life insurance for women will also become a thing of the past.

The report reveals that the rules of the gender battle between men and women have changed for good. The Future Laboratory, which compiled the research report on behalf of Confused.com, has identified that the ‘battle for gender-blindness’ will take over from the fight for equality, or feminism.

Other EU countries have already taken gender equality a lot further than the UK but Elise Claeson, who contributed to the Confused.com report, revealed that: “Gender neutrality has been a disaster in Sweden.”

Elise, who is a former equality expert at the Swedish Confederation of Professions, explains: “Gender neutrality has caused an epidemic of relationship breakdowns, because we are sexually attracted to the opposite, yet we have spent years trying to make men and women the same.”

But neuroscientist and author Lise Eliot argued in the report that people’s ability to drive well, to talk about emotions, and to read maps, are not set in stone by our genes or hormones. Instead, they are programmed to be girls and boys by the words and actions of parents and friends.

“Kids rise or fall according to what we believe about them,” she said. “Pre-schoolers are already aware of what’s acceptable to their peers and what’s not.”

She continued: “There is little solid evidence in human studies of sex differences in children’s brains. The idea that girl’s brains are wired for communication and boy’s for aggression is simply a fallacy.

“We still live in a clear two-gender culture. But rather than being something we are born with, our gender identity is set by the nurturing of our parents and the pressures of our peers.”

The report also examines the impact of the new EU gender rules, which will be enforced from 21 December 2012.

Matt Lloyd, Head of Life insurance from Confused.com feels that losing gender as a risk factor for insurance is a step backwards. He commented: “Gender is a stable and useful long term indicator of risk which cannot be replaced easily when the new law comes into effect on 21 December 2012. Women definitely have the most to lose through the changes relating to life insurance.

“It is likely that life insurers will be looking for a similar solution to telematics in the future and that the individual, not the group, will be rated.”

More than half (51%) of people in the UK think that women and men are equal when it comes to driving, sports (52%) and in the kitchen (52%). Tellingly, two thirds (66%) of people also say men and women are business equals.

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Confused.com Uncover the Nation’s Amorous Auto Habits

Confused.com has revealed that almost half* of male drivers in the UK admit that they have had got frisky in their car, and almost 30% of women admit this too. However, having an argument is a more likely pursuit, with nearly 60% of men and almost 63% of women fighting with their loved ones while in the car.

Other popular pastimes while in a vehicle include dumping a boyfriend/girlfriend (10% of men and 8% of women), being dumped (6% of men and 5% of women), flirting with another driver (24% of men and 18% of women), eating something (73% of men and 76% of women) and having a nap (42% of men and 29% of women).

Men voted Audi drivers the sexiest women drivers (21%) and women agreed, also voting male Audi drivers top with 31%. Male BMW drivers are considered second sexiest by women, with 25%. Men’s second choice was female Mini Cooper drivers with 14%.

The city admitting the most car friskiness is Brighton with 68% of drivers admitting having done the deed in their cars, while only 22% of drivers in Worcester say they have got frisky while in their cars.

Drivers were also asked how often they have sex each week, with the highest average of 2.9 times per week among those living in Coventry.

Gareth Kloet, head of car insurance at Confused.com said: “The results of this Confused.com survey bring a new meaning to the UK being a nation of car lovers. Although this is not a rating question that insurers would ask when people are applying for car insurance, perhaps it’s something we should look at in the future, judging by how many people are getting frisky in their cars.”

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LV Research Suggests Equity Release Set To Become Big Growth Area For IFAs

LV= conducted new research at its recent equity release road shows that reveals IFAs believe equity release is set to become a big growth area for their future business, helping to deal with the needs of the UK’s ageing population.

Research amongst IFAs that attended the road shows, which took place in May this year, showed that nearly all (98%) of them believe that there will be a surge in consumers using equity release over the next few years. 35% of the IFAs that attended said that equity release is already a core part of their business.

When looking into the reasons behind the future growth of the market, IFAs cited a shortfall in pension provision as the top reason for a future boost in people releasing the equity from their home, with funding to make home improvements and being able to help family onto the property ladder the next biggest motivators.

When looking into long term care planning, 88% of IFAs indicated that they believed, in the right circumstances, equity release could be the best option for people needing to fund long-term care in the home.

Vanessa Owen, LV=’s Head of Equity Release said: “Advisers can clearly see the importance property will play in people financing their future in and around retirement, and a large number of IFAs now class equity release as core to their business. Releasing the money locked in a home can, under the right circumstances, be a lifeline for cash poor, asset rich people in or at retirement. With people living longer and healthier lives many will want a cash injection to help pay for a standard of living they have grown used to in their working lives as well as paying for home improvements, dream holidays or medical care. People’s homes are often their greatest asset, so it makes sense for them to be able to access that capital when they need it.”

Andrea Rozario, Director General of equity release trade body SHIP, added: “It isn’t surprising that IFA’s believe in the future growth of equity release when you consider the longevity issues we face and the problems this brings. Clearly the shortfall in pensions, along with an increasing need to pay for care in later life is becoming more important for the consumer and turning to their biggest asset, often their property is a logical step. The use of this asset can help alleviate problems for customers as long as they are fully aware of all the options open to them and this is where advisers play a critical role.”

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M&S Money Credit Card Scoops Industry Award

M&S Money has won the 2010 Moneyfacts award for Best Card Provider (Introductory Rate). The awards were announced at the Millennium Hotel, Mayfair, London in front of 300 industry professionals from leading financial institutions who had gathered for the special luncheon which was hosted by ITV News’ Economics Editor, Daisy McAndrew.

M&S Money Credit Card Scoops Industry Award

The awards were presented to those companies that have consistently offered the most competitive products, the best levels of service and shown the greatest innovation in the personal finance world during the last twelve months.

The M&S Credit Card offers:
– 0% interest on all shopping for ten months from account opening
– 0% interest for six months on balance transfers made within six months of account opening (2.9% fee, minimum £5)
– No cash advance fee & 55 days interest free when buying M&S Travel Money with the card
– M&S points earned every time the card is used, with regular bonus offers of extra points on purchases at M&S
– 15.9% APR typical variable. Actual rate received will depend on an individual assessment of circumstances.

Colin Kersley, M&S Money Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted that the M&S credit card has been recognised at the Moneyfacts awards. The card not only has a competitive APR but also 10 months at 0% interest on shopping, making it one of the most attractive credit cards in the market.”

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LVAM To Be Offered By Verbatim

LV= Asset Management (LVAM), the fund management arm of mutual insurance and investment group LV=, has reached an agreement to offer the LV= Managed Portfolio fund range via Verbatim Asset Management, the investment firm launched by The SimplyBiz Group in February 2010.

LV= Managed Portfolios are global, unfettered, multi manager funds that are managed to reflect client risk profiles 4 to 7 within Dynamic Planner, the leading client risk profiling tool used by some 18,000 advisers in the UK. Verbatim is offering SimplyBiz Member Firms and Compliance First Clients use of its own risk a s s e s s m e n t tool – powered by Dynamic Planner – to better match product solutions to clients’ risk profiles completely free of charge.

Verbatim offers member firms a compliant and robust process that stretches f r o m the a s s e s s m e n t of client needs, through the determination of the right investment mix to meet those needs, and the selection of high quality products appropriate to the client’s a s s e t allocation. Clients will benefit f r o m suitable product matching, while advisers can be confident that TCF and RDR considerations will have been addressed.

About LV=
LV= is a registered trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. LV= offer a range of insurance products including home insurance policiesmotor insurance, life insurance, pet insurance and 50 plus life cover.

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M&S Pet Insurance Warns Chocolate Treats Can Be A Doggy Danger This Easter

M&S Pet Insurance is warning dog owners of the dangers of chocolate poisoning in household pets ahead of the Easter weekend.

Chocolate eggs and other treats left around the house at Easter can be a big temptation to four legged friends, however unlike most people they can become extremely unwell if they eat large amounts of chocolate which is intended for humans.

The toxic chemical within chocolate is called Theobromine and the amount contained within chocolate varies according to the type and quality of chocolate. Dark chocolate usually contains high levels of the toxic chemical, compared with white chocolate which contains comparatively little. Even a small amount of high quality dark chocolate eaten by a dog can cause clinical signs such as hyperexcitability and restlessness, vomiting, tremors and convulsions.

While M&S Pet Insurance policyholders have access to a 24-hour advice line, 365 days a year, meaning that if the worst happens this Easter they know they have support at the end of the phone, as it is much better to avoid the problem in the first place.

Vetfone nurses provide concerned pet owners with immediate advice on an animal’s condition and can decide whether emergency medical treatment is required.

Vetfone Deputy Operations Manager, Clare Scantlebury, said: “Easter is a great excuse to indulge in all things chocolaty, but dog owners should think carefully about storing chocolate eggs in a safe place out of the reach of hungry dogs.

“The potential danger depends on the amount of chocolate eaten, the type of chocolate and the size of the dog. If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate and is showing signs of illness, seek medical advice immediately.”

David Wells, M&S Head of Insurance, said: “It’s not just the chocolate at Easter which can cause illness and injury in pets. We have seen claims when dogs have eaten small novelty toys from Easter eggs and shredded plastic used as packing material in Easter baskets.

“Small toys may cause internal damage or an intestinal blockage which can be life threatening. Ideally keep these objects well out of reach of your pets and supervise your dogs closely if children are playing with the toys.”

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LV = Reveals Pet Sick Leave Costs UK Businesses £18 Million A Year

A new LV= commissioned report into the impact of pet illness and death on their owners’ work attendance has revealed that British businesses are losing £18 million* a year in lost workforce hours, as thousands of staff take ‘pet sick leave’ either to look after their sick animal or to grieve because their pet has died.

The UK is well known as a nation of animal lovers with nearly half of all adults in the UK owning a cat or dog. The new LV= pet insurance report found that one in ten dog or cat owners interviewed (11%) said they had stayed at home to nurse a sick pet, while 11% had stayed off work because they were so upset after their pet had died.

The 1.1 million pet owners who called in sick last year because their dog or cat was ill or had died, each took an average of 2.4 days off.

Rather than admit the truth to their employer, nearly a quarter of those who took time off for their pet (24%), told their boss they were staying off work due to their own ill health.

The LV= pet insurance policy, which covers cats and dogs, includes free bereavement counselling for the pet owner as standard. LV= is also one of the few insurers that will insure older cats and dogs, with no maximum age limit.

Emma Holyer, LV= pet insurance spokesperson, said: “It’s clearly an upsetting time when a beloved pet is sick or dying, and this report shows that many people suffer as much they would for a friend or relative. This has a significant impact on employers across the UK, as staff take time off because of their pets. To help owners through this difficult period, LV=’s pet health insurance policy now includes access to a free, confidential helpline on pet bereavement and illness. The helpline is manned by experienced therapists and counsellors to help pet owners get through troubled times.”

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M&S Home Insurance Helps Householders Reduce Their Environmental Impact

M&S is the first home insurance provider in the UK to offer policyholder claimants two unique features to help reduce their impact on the environment.

M&S Home Insurance is now offering the features to new customers at no added cost and will be making them available to existing customers on policy renewal from 1st February.

While lost or damaged possessions are usually replaced with equivalent new items M&S Home Insurance claimants for fridge freezers, refrigerators, washing machines, tumble dryers or dishwashers, will be offered an environmentally-friendly A rated energy-efficient replacement, saving up to 140kg of CO2 each year*.

Additionally, insured properties requiring a rebuild will be reconstructed in line with the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) 4, using sustainable materials where possible, emitting at least 44% less CO2 than building regulations stipulate**.

David Wells, M&S Head of Insurance, said: “These new policy features, which we believe are firsts in the UK insurance market***, mean that the M&S Home Insurance policy is one of the most environmentally friendly products of its kind.”

Nick Kidd, of AXA Insurance, said: “It is becoming increasingly common for companies to launch ‘green’ products on the basis of carbon offsetting facilities which our research suggests is not valued by customers.

“The M&S product goes significantly further by providing tangible environmental benefits which will help customers to save energy, save money and ultimately, to help save the planet. According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average home will emit around 5 tonnes of CO2 a year, so these new product features can have a real impact.

“At AXA we’re committed to reducing our negative environmental impact and are really pleased to work with M&S Money on this innovative product.”

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Brits Will Spend More Than £1.7billion On Cat And Dog Food This Year

M&S Money has reported that Brits will spend more than £1.7billion on cat and dog food this year, and now the insurance provider is giving pet owners a chance to win a years’ supply of pet food.

Anyone who takes out or renews an M&S Pet Insurance policy before December 31st 2009 will be entered into a prize draw. There will be six prizes of Royal Canin dry pet food for one cat or one dog for one calendar year.

Last year £1.7billion (Estimated cost according to Mintel Report Pet Food and Pet Care Retailing, Retail Intelligence, October 2008) was spent on feeding the nation’s 14.5 million cats and dogs.

Consumers are becoming more concerned about what they feed their pets. A recent survey found that 90% of pet owners know that what they feed their pet affects is
health and therefore they want to feed their pets the best-quality food. High-quality premium foods are therefore a growing market sector.

Pet owners who want to keep their cats and dogs on a healthy diet but still keep costs down are increasingly turning to online pet stores. Bestpet, an online pet pharmacy and shop, has seen a 30% increase in sales of premium cat and dog food in the past year. The site sells pet medication and food costing up to 50% less than prices found at veterinary surgeries.

Charles Sweeney of Bestpet Pharmacy said: “Obesity is an increasing problem among cats and dogs. Pets that carry too much weight can suffer from heart complaints, diabetes and arthritis.

“Responsible pet owners who ensure their cats and dogs have a healthy diet and regular exercise can help reduce expensive vet bills in the future.”

M&S Pet Insurance policyholders can benefit from reduced pet food costs with a 5% discount from Bestpet.co.uk.

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M&S Money, Pet Insurance Provider, Warns Pet Owners Who Cut Back On Regular Treatments For Their Animals Will Increase The Risk Of Expensive Vet Bills In The Long-Term

As Spring arrives, M&S Money is highlighting that animal lovers can reduce the risk of their pets suffering from common conditions, such as dental disease and worms, by investing in regular, affordable treatments. For example, a single treatment to reduce the risk of fleas in household pets costs around £4. A vet bill to treat fleas can reach as much as £2,000 in severe cases.

Judith Roberts, M&S Insurance Manager, said: “Responsible pet owners know that regular treatments can help to reduce the likelihood of their pets suffering from common conditions. However, purchasing all the recommended medication can be expensive, particularly at this time. M&S Pet Insurance customers are turning to Bestpet to reduce the cost of these treatments and ensure their pets remain happy and healthy.”

M&S Pet Insurance has joined with the online pharmacy, Bestpet.co.uk, which already sells pet medication costing up to 50% less than buying at the vets, to help reduce the costs for pet-owners, with a further 5% discount on prescription and non-prescription drugs as well as pet foods.

Pet owners are also reminded that most insurance policies will not cover the cost of treating any illness that their pet should have been vaccinated against.

John Darlington of Bestpet Pharmacy said: “Even if a pet is insured they need to be treated regularly to prevent suffering and avoid potential claims as well as possible premium increases. Simple worming and flea treatment regimes can protect the pet from infestation. We are now approaching the high season for these ailments.”


M&S Money (the trading name of Marks & Spencer Financial Services) was founded in 1985 as the financial services division of Marks and Spencer Group plc. The company is now a top ten credit card provider and the second largest travel money retailer in the UK. M&S Money also offers a range of insurance cover, including home insurance and wedding insurance, as well as loans, savings and investment products.

With a market capitalisation of US$190 billion (as at 7 October 2008), the HSBC Group is one of the world’s largest financial services organisations. Over 100 million customers worldwide entrust HSBC with US$1.2 trillion in deposits. With a tier one capital ratio of 8.8% and a loan to deposit ratio of 90% as at 30 June 2008, the Group remains one of the most strongly capitalised and liquid banks in the world.

M&S Money has an executive committee comprising an equal number of representatives from HSBC and Marks & Spencer.

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LV= Has Reported That One In Three People In The UK Believe That Their Neighbourhood Has Declined Since They Moved To The Area

LV=, the UK insurance company, has commissioned a new report that has revealed that UK neighbourhoods appear to be in decline, with one in three people (33%) believing that their neighbourhood has gotten worse since they moved to the area. Moreover, a quarter of people said that they would like to move out of their neighbourhood, with less than one in ten saying that they would like it to remain ‘as it is’.

The ‘UK Neighbourhoods Report’ from LV, commissioned amongst more than 4000 home owners and home renters in the UK, paints a bleak picture of the declining standards of neighbourhoods in the UK. People say that compared to five years ago, they feel less safe, that local amenities and services have deteriorated, plus they have a growing fear of becoming a victim of street crime.

The report revealed that for most people, the concept of an ideal neighbourhood is one where they can live a quiet life free from the threat of street crime and anti-social behaviour. However, one in three people (32%) in the UK said that they feel they have seen an increase in street crime in their neighbourhood, with only 8% of people saying they have seen a drop over the last five years. This led to one in four people (28%) saying they feel unsafe walking in their neighbourhood at night.

Recently the Government announced that crime prevention and neighbourhood safety would be taken more seriously, with Communities Minister Baroness Andrews announcing a £500 million plan to revive deprived communities across the country, with the aim of cutting crime levels, improving educational achievements and boosting job opportunities.

John ‘O Roarke, managing director of LV Home Insurance, said: “This report shows that a large number of people throughout the country are not happy with the area they live in and, although there are many reasons for this, part of this is because of the apparent rise in street crime over the years. It is only natural for people to feel they should be able to rely on the police and crime prevention measures to make them feel secure but most people see standards largely as ‘average’, with a further quarter saying they actually regard it as poor.

“This paints a bleak picture of how large parts of society view their local areas, so this announcement by the Government to inject £500 million into certain areas to help tackle street crime is much needed.”

According to the report from the home insurer, the most popular thing that people in the UK want to change about their neighbourhood is the level of council tax they pay, with four out of ten people (40%) saying this is the biggest issue for them.

John ‘O Roarke continued: “Council tax has never been the most popular of bills but the fact that so many people are unhappy with the level they are paying can probably be linked back to the fact that people generally appear to believe that their local services need a lot of improvements made.

“It’s all too easy to say that if people are that unhappy with their neighbourhood, then they should move to somewhere else but with the current housing market decline and the credit crunch, it’s a difficult period for those who are aiming to sell their homes or move on. The Government has announced a number of steps to tackle neighbourhood concerns but only time will tell if they are enough.”

About LV=
LV= offers car insurancehome insurance and travel and pet insurance direct to consumers by telephone from its UK call centres in Bournemouth and Croydon and online.

LV= is a trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and LV= is a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.

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M&S Money urge pet owners to ensure household medication is securely stored following increase in reports of pet poisonings

M&S Money has urged pet owners to ensure medication is securely stored around the house following a large increase in reports of pet poisonings.

The potentially fatal mishap is a growing problem across the UK, with a 34% year-on-year increase in reported cases to Vetfone – a 24-hour advice line available to M&S Pet Insurance customers. Vetfone is manned by qualified veterinary nurses who can give concerned animal lovers immediate advice on a pet’s condition. Around 70% of calls to the service by M&S Money customers are made out of normal veterinary hours.

One of the major increases of poisonings seen involves nicotine-based products, including nicotine patches, chewing gum and inhalers.

The toxic dose of nicotine in dogs is five milligrams per pound pet bodyweight and a dose of 10mg/lb can be lethal. While a cigarette contains 15-25 milligrams of nicotine, nicotine patches can contain much more at between 8-114 milligrams of nicotine and even nicotine inhalers contain around 10 milligrams of nicotine. Signs of toxicity are dose-dependent and include tremors, weakness, depression and vomiting.

Vetfone Operations Manager & Senior Emergency Vet Nurse, Louise O’Dwyer, said:”It is very concerning that there has been such a large increase in reported pet poisonings.

“Nicotine poisoning can be particularly serious. Remember prevention is better than cure, so ensure products such as cigarettes, nicotine patches and gums and even ashtrays containing cigarette butts are kept away from your pets reach.”

M&S Money Insurance Manager, Judith Roberts, said: “Anyone who suspects that their pet has swallowed household medication should first try and identify what’s been eaten, by recovering packaging such as blister packs or boxes and then seek immediate veterinary advice.

“M&S Pet Insurance policyholders can rest assured that a qualified veterinary expert is available round the clock to provide advice and answer questions should a pet become unwell.”

About M&S Money

M&S Money (the trading name of Marks & Spencer Financial Services) was founded in 1985 as the financial services division of Marks and Spencer Group plc. The company is now a top ten credit card provider and the second largest travel money retailer in the UK. M&S Money also offers a range of insurance cover, including home insurance and car insurance, as well as loans, savings and investment products.

In November 2004, Marks & Spencer sold M&S Money to HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations with over 9,500 offices in 85 countries and territories.

M&S Money has an executive committee comprising an equal number of representatives from HSBC and Marks & Spencer.

The company employs 1,200 staff at its headquarters in Chester, delivering personal financial services to its customers, reflecting the core values of Marks & Spencer – quality, value, service, innovation and trust.

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A Surge In Pet Owners Changing Their Pets Diets And Swapping Meat For Vegetables And Fruit

The latest report from insurance provider LV= has shown that health concerns have led to a surge in pet owners changing their pets’ diets and swapping meat for vegetables and fruit.

40% of pet owners now feed their pets up to three portions of fruit and veg a day and according to the new research by pet insurer LV= there are now more than 145,000 cats and dogs in the UK on a vegetarian diet.

In turning their animals vegetarian, these pet owners are following celebrity dog-owners such as Alicia Silverstone* and Paul McCartney** who feed their dogs a vegan and vegetarian diet respectively.

One of the main reasons for the trend in vegetable heavy diets is the perceived health benefit, with 42% of pet owners who have increased the number of vegetables in their pets’ diet saying they have done so to improve the health of their animal.

16% of pet owners said they simply follow Government nutritional advice for humans, such as eating five portions of vegetable and fruit a day, and apply it to their pet.

According to the report from LV=, other reasons given include the cheaper cost of a vegetarian diet (12%), because organic pet food is a waste of money (29%) and because it’s more ethical (4%). Just one in four (24%) of the UK’s cats and dogs now exist on a meat-only diet.

The most popular vegetables to give to pets are carrots (19%), potatoes (12%) and peas (11%).

As well as pets eating more vegetables, the LV= research shows that 13% of UK pets are given vitamin or vegetable supplements daily.

Health-conscious owners say they have noticed a range of improvements from their veggie-eating pets, from fewer health problems (27%), glossier coats (21%), and a better digestion (28%), to loss of weight (13%).

Emma Holyer, Spokesperson for LV=, said: “As this research shows there are thousands of cats and dogs consuming vegetables in their diets without any problems. In fact, these diets are well known for relieving arthritis, skin and fur problems and obesity in dogs.

“However, pet owners thinking of putting their pet on a vegetable only diet should check with their vet. Cats cannot survive on a vegetarian diet and will need specialist supplements, and although dogs can survive, a sudden change in diet is likely to cause problems. Animals are just like humans in that they need a mixture of minerals and vitamins to keep them healthy, and cutting out whole food groups, like protein, can seriously damage their health.”

About LV=
LV= is a trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and LV= is a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.

LV= employs over 2,700 people, serves more than 2.5 million customers and members, and manages more than £7.7 billion on their behalf. LV= is the UK’s largest friendly society offering a wide range of financial products including home, car insurancepet insurance and travel insurance direct to consumers.

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LV= Has Announced That It Has Become An Official Sponsor Of Harlequins Rugby Club

LV=, the UK based insurance, investment and pensions group, has announced today that it has become an official sponsor of Harlequins Rugby Club, with a three year deal.

The deal signifies the strength of the club to attract a new investment, as well as LV=’s ability to continue to expand its business even during the current economic downturn.

In addition to branding rights on the team’s kit and perimeter boards, the West Stand of the club’s home ground, the Twickenham Stoop Stadium, has been renamed the LV= Stand’.

Harlequins play at the top level of English rugby, the Guinness Premiership, and also internationally in the Heineken Cup, which has started well for the team with a win in both of their first two matches, with a recent 42-21 home victory against Ulster.

LV= has sponsored the most prestigious title in domestic cricket, the LV= County Championship, as well as sponsoring a number of community and educational sponsorships local to its headquarters in Bournemouth, but this deal represents the first time that LV= has stepped into the world of rugby.

LV= Group Marketing Director David Radford says: “This is a great opportunity to take our brand in an exciting new direction. Harlequins has a strong heritage and a loyal following in rugby, which matches well with our business target audiences.”

Dean Richards, Harlequin’s Director of Rugby comments: “We’re delighted to welcome LV= as an official sponsor. The backing of a brand with a long tradition yet a bright, fresh appeal makes a good match for our club. We look forward to enjoying a successful first season together.”

About LV=
LV= is a trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and LV= is a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.

LV= employs over 2,700 people, serves more than 2.5 million customers and members, and manages more than £7.7 billion on their behalf. LV= is the UK’s largest friendly society and a leading mutual financial services provider, aiming to help customers find freedom from financial worry by providing a wide range of reliable and good value financial products, including home insurancecar insurance and pet and travel insurancedirect to consumers.

LV also offers insurance products exclusively to brokers via the Highway and ABC Insurance brands.

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Highway Insurance Group Acquired by LV

LV=, the UK based insurance, investment and pensions group, has announced its acquisition of the Highway Insurance Group, which includes Highway Insurance and Hero Insurance Services, further expanding the fast growing general insurance division of LV=.

The initial offer of 73.35p per share, which was recommended by the Highway Board, was made in August. Highway shareholders also received their interim dividend of 1.65p, payable at the start of October 2008. This gives an overall value of the entire issued share capital of Highway of £150m.

Fenchurch Advisory Partners acted as exclusive financial adviser to LV while Shore Capital Stockbrokers acted as corporate broker to LV=.

Mike Rogers, Group Chief Executive of LV= said: “We are pleased to have completed this deal quickly and we look forward to welcoming Highway into the LV= Group. This acquisition makes sound strategic sense and will assist us in our stated ambition to become a top five insurer in our chosen markets by 2012.”

He continued, “Highway is highly complementary to our existing general insurance operations and will provide a strong platform for growth. Putting the strengths of LV= and Highway together will enable us to compete even more effectively in the insurance broker market.”

Highway Insurance will become part of the LV= General Insurance business which is led by Managing Director John O’Roarke, who formerly headed up the Churchill and RBS Insurance businesses.

Andrew Gibson, Chief Executive of Highway, will be staying on in an advisory capacity until the end of the year, when he will be leaving to explore opportunities outside the LV= Group.

As LV= is a mutual organisation, owned by its members, Highway Insurance will be de-listed from the London Stock Exchange in due course.

About LV=:

LV= is a trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and LV= is a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies. LV= employs over 2,700 people, serves more than 2.5 million customers and members, and manages more than £7.7 billion on their behalf. LV= is the UK’s largest friendly society and a leading mutual financial services provider, providing home insurance and car insurance well as travel and pet insurance direct to consumers. It also offers insurance products exclusively to brokers via the Highway and ABC Insurance brands.

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