Maintaining the co operative difference


CIS operates in one of the most dynamic and complex insurance markets in the world. Insurance is one of the UK’s major industries, with an estimated 700 businesses providing investment and protection products to more than 46 million customers. In recent years, competition in the industry has intensified. To survive and continue to prosper, banks, building societies and life assurance companies are having to adapt their business operations and their strategies. One result of this process has been the trend for insurers and building societies to forsake their mutual status and become public limited companies. This case study looks at the reasons behind such a move. It examines the impact for customers and explains why the CIS as a life assurance society is committed to maintaining its co-operative basis of trading. So what exactly is a mutual organisation? What makes a mutual organisation different from a public limited company (plc) is that it exists only to serve its members or customers. A mutual society does not have any outside owners or shareholders and so all profits are applied for the benefit of its customers. A plc, on the other hand, is owned by its shareholders who require an ongoing return…

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