One million insurance customers unaware they could get up to £600 windfall

Insurance and retirement provider LV= is asking policy holders to vote on whether a sale should go ahead. If it gets the green light, customers could net a payout

A lot of people don't understand that as LV= is a mutual, policy holders are co-owners and entitled to vote.
Many people are unaware that as LV= is a mutual, policy holders are co-owners and entitled to vote

A million people are being encouraged to check their inbox for an email that could land them a windfall of up to £600.

Insurance and retirement provider LV= is asking members to vote on whether to accept a takeover that would net them a share of £212million – 40 times last night’s double rollover lottery jackpot.

But analysts last night said many of the UK’s 1.2million policy holders at the mutual don’t even realise they are automatically members entitled to cast a vote on the payment.

Emails to all policyholders were sent out this week reminding them to take part in the vote and determine whether the £530million takeover by equity giant Bain Capital should go ahead.

If the deal gets the go-ahead, every member will get a £100 boost, with 300,000 who hold “with profits” accounts entitled to initial payments of £600 and additional benefits worth up to £2,000 depending on their policy.

If the deal does not go though, LV= bosses have warned that members may face higher prices to cover future investments for the business to survive, meaning costlier premiums and charges.

Investment expert Jason Hollands said everyone should check whether they had been sent an email.

Customers are encouraged to check if they have received the email

He added: “A lot of people don’t understand that as LV= is a mutual, policy holders are co-owners and entitled to vote.

“They may not even know they have an email inviting them to vote, but they should search their inbox and junk mail to see if they have one.

“It’s really important that they vote on this, otherwise their voice won’t be heard. The email could be worth a lot of money if they help vote this takeover through.

“Most policyholders would be entitled to a hundred pounds, and people with profit bonds are potentially looking at £2,000.”

Bain Capital won the bidding for 178-year-old mutual LV+ earlier this year – but members must vote on whether to accept the bid before they can bank their windfall.

Directors insist it is the best deal available and are backing it because it gives members a payout, retains the society’s ethos, and secures the future of offices in Bournemouth, Exeter and Hitchin.

But some critics complain they have not ruled out job losses and that the business would be better off remaining a mutual.

It requires a supermajority of 75% of voters to back the sell-off, which means LV= – formerly known as Liverpool Victoria – losing its mutual status, meaning the vote will undoubtedly go down to the wire.

Jason Hollands, managing director of online investment service Bestinvest, added: “In some places, private equity is often painted as a bogey man, but I think that’s unfair. Of course there are cases where private equity does not work, but many businesses flourish.

“The business is badly in need of capital, which is why they put up the ‘For Sale’ sign. The Bain Capital bid was the most attractive one, according to the management.

“Members have to vote on what is in front of them, and the board have said this is the best offer.

“Other potential investors have had a year to come up with something more attractive, and that has not happened.

“The reality is that if another investor came forward in the future there would be no guarantee that members would get a payout. It is down to members now to vote on what is best for them.”

Members can vote by post or online before 2pm on December 8, or in a web session on December 10.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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