MUTUAL insurer Liverpool Victoria hailed a shake-up of the business as it posted a rise in sales and customer numbers.

The firm, which trades as LV= and owns Huddersfield-based roadside recovery operation Britannia Rescue, said life and pension sales rose by 7.5% to £92.2m in 2009, while its general insurance business moved into profit a year ahead of plan.

LV= posted underlying profits of £44.2m for 2009 against £2.3m last time.

On a reported pre-tax basis the group stays in the red with losses of £91.4m due to the cost of buying equity protection for member policies, pumping cash into its capital reserves and as a result of investment fluctuations.