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Exclusive: Leading insurer ditches legal services offering

Savill: positive feedback

Leading insurance company LV= has ditched its legal services offering, less than two years after starting it, Legal Futures can reveal.

In January 2016, it launched a joint venture [1] with Bristol-based law firm Lyons Davidson to offer fixed-fee advice for wills, powers of attorney, probate, conveyancing, personal injury and employment law.

LV= is the country’s largest friendly society and said at the time that it saw legal services as an added benefit [2] “that fits our mutual values”, rather than a revenue stream.

However, it has now shut down LV= Legal Services. A spokeswoman said: “While feedback from our customers on the services we provided was very good, the sustainability of LV= Legal Services required scale and significant investment.

“To ensure we continue providing our customers with great products and quality customer service, it was decided that we’d instead focus on strengthening our capabilities in our core businesses of general insurance and life & pensions and any necessary investment is being put into these specific areas.

“As such, we’ve decided to no longer provide legal services. However, while it won’t be available to new customers, we will fulfil any services which existing customers have already purchased.”

Unlike other arrangements between law firms and insurers, LV= Legal Services was not an alternative business structure. Rather, the services were explicitly provided by Lyons Davidson, with Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Ltd permitting the firm to use the LV= brand in doing so.

Mark Savill, managing director of Lyons Davidson, added that “We are very pleased with the positive feedback we received on the quality of the service that we provided.

“We are continuing to provide services under the Lyons Davidson brand to customers of LV= who are looking for a consumer legal service.”

Liverpool Victoria is a shareholder in Lyons Davidson. According to Companies House, it has a class of non-voting shares that entitle the company to dividends as determined by a specific formula, and to capital to the extent of a return of amounts paid up on the shares.

The LV= spokeswoman said: “We have a broad commercial relationship with Lyons Davidson under which they provide a range of services to us and our customers and our decision to not continue providing consumer legal services does not affect this wider relationship.”

Lyons Davidsons’ other shareholders include ZPC Capital – part of Zurich Insurance – and telematics car insurance business Insure The Box.

It also has joint venture alternative business structures with Admiral and the AA. It was involved in Saga Legal Services too but the over-50s insurance and travel business closed that down a year ago [3].