MAJOR Dorset employer LV= has joined with Allianz Group to create the third biggest personal insurer in the UK.

The move will not affect the status of the Westbourne-quartered business as a mutual society or cost any jobs.

The first phase of the deal will see Allianz pay £500million for a 49 per cent stake in LV=’s general insurance business.

Their joint venture, under the LV= brand, will have more than six million customers and annual income of more than £1.7billion in gross income from premiums.

Richard Rowney, chief executive of LV=, said: “With this deal, LV= has a positive future in both general insurance and life and pensions.

“The strategic partnership with Allianz will allow us to continue to benefit from a growing personal insurance business while also enabling us to strengthen our capital position, leaving us well placed to continue to expand our life and pensions business and pursue new digital opportunities.”

Oliver Bate, chief executive of Allianz Group, said: “I am thrilled to join forces with LV=, one of UK’s most respected and loved brands. This partnership will first and foremost benefit our customers who will have access to an expanded range of products backed by the financial strength of Allianz. We value LV=’s strong brand and market positioning.”

The two businesses said the deal would create a “strong and customer-centric insurer” in the personal, home and motor insurance markets.

They said LV=, which is the UK’s most trusted and recommended insurer, would have the financial strength and expertise to grow further in general insurance, while developing its core life and pensions business.

The second stage of the transaction will take place in 2019 and will see Allianz pay £213m for a further 20.9 per cent of LV=’s general insurance business.

The joint venture will be run by Steve Treloar, managing director of LV=’s general insurance arm, reporting to a board of directors from both organisations.

Mr Treloar said: “Our joint venture will be a leading personal insurer with a diversified distribution base across direct, broker and corporate partner channels.

“The combination of LV=’s strong brand, longstanding reputation in personal insurance and excellent customer service with the financial strength, digital expertise and data analytics of Allianz, the world’s largest P&C (property and casualty) insurer, will allow us to further develop and expand the products and services that our customers demand.”