One of the UK’s leading Friendly Societies, Royal Liver Assurance, has doubled to around 750 the number of Toyota cars in its 1,100-strong fleet, following the acquisition of 500 field staff from another insurer.

The Society is now responsible for around five million policies in the UK and Ireland. While many financial services companies are switching to phone and online trading, Royal Liver’s service remains firmly based on personal contact, with its Home Service Representatives visiting customers both to sell policies and collect premiums.

Royal Liver currently operates a three-band fleet car system with a choice of marques for its sales executives, and has run Toyota vehicles for several years. But when it acquired the Personal Financial Services division of Friends Provident last summer and had to assimilate some 500 of its agents around the UK, the demand for Toyotas leapt.

“On top of their arrival a roll-out for our existing sales and collection staff was already in place, and Toyota came up trumps,” says HR Director Michael F Samps. The Avensis 1.6 GS has proved an overwhelming favourite among existing and new sales executives, while the Corolla 1.4S three-door hatchback was the specified model for the separate collection team.

“The lion’s share of the orders went to Toyota because they offered much better value for money for the drivers and the company got best value as well,” says Mr Samps.

“The benchmark car for the sales force is the Avensis 1.6 GS. With sat nav in, it’s head and shoulders above the rest of the field at the moment, so it was obviously snapped up. Feedback from the drivers has been excellent.”

Royal Liver has ordered 376 Toyota Corollas over the past year. “With the Corolla the price was right and we’ve not had any problems with them,” says Fleet Manager John Young. All the vehicles are obtained on contract purchase through Interleasing on three-year terms, based on average annual mileages of 20,000. The drivers are based at regional offices around the UK as well as in Ireland, where a separate roll-out including Toyota vehicles is about to start.

“The numbers of cars needed has been a bit scary,” says Mr Young, but he reports that he has had “plenty of back-up and brilliant service” from Toyota Fleet, whose account-handler “has always been there when we need him. Anything we need we just have to ask. It’s all been very positive.”

“Feedback of this sort is extremely encouraging,” says Jon Pollock, General Manager of Toyota Fleet. “These have been very big orders for our most popular fleet models and they underline the breadth of their appeal, both to drivers and to businesses. We look forward to continuing to supply Royal Liver Assurance and to providing the high level of service they have come to expect.”

Notes to Editor: Royal Liver Assurance Ltd is an incorporated Friendly Society and was founded in Liverpool in 1850. In 1911 it built and opened the landmark Royal Liver Building, which continues to be its head office for its national operations throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Today Royal Liver employs around 2,700 people and offers a wide range of financial services and products including life assurance, serious illness survival cover, savings and personal pensions. General insurance products are offered through Royal Liver Insurance Services, the subsidiary companies of Royal Liver Assurance.

Royal Liver operates through 45 branch offices in the UK and Ireland and is responsible for funds under management approaching £3 billion and over 5 million policies. It is regulated by the Personal Investment Authority (for investment business only).


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