Insurers announce plans for merger

Private medical insurer Exeter Friendly Society and income protection specialist Pioneer have agreed ‘transfer of engagement’ terms which, subject to membership and regulatory approval, will lead to the creation of a dedicated mutual healthcare insurer. Subject to all the necessary approvals, completion is scheduled for March 2008.

Exeter is a specialist provider of private medical insurance for individuals in the UK and the overseas expatriate market. Pioneer is an income protection insurance specialist.

Pioneer’s Chief Executive Andy Chapman says: “The advantage of joining forces with Exeter is that both organisations know each other well.  In fact, the cultural similarities are quite extraordinary.  The opportunity that this deal creates for us to develop exciting and innovative new products - not being offered by other insurers - should not be under-estimated. Customers need to be confident that, should they fall ill or have an accident, they have the appropriate security and financial protection in place.  With a growing need and demand in our respective product areas, we have ambitious plans to become a leading provider of quality healthcare products backed by first-class service levels.”

Roger Cawse, Chief Executive of Exeter adds: “This will be an exciting deal for both our members and staff, creating new opportunities in a broad range of areas of the business but, in particular, giving us a stronger platform for product design and distribution.  As a friendly society, customer service standards play a vital role in the way we do business. Long before the Financial Services Authority introduced ‘Treating Customers Fairly' our pledge had been to 'Treat people fairly, always'.  As mutual organisations, this is at the core of our decision-making, ensuring we consistently offer real value and deliver excellent service.”


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