By working with charities and supporting worthy projects worldwide, Animal Friends will help improve the lives of animals; combat animal abuse and cruelty; assist in the protection of rare and endangered species; help conserve unique and vital habitats and assist local communities to protect and value their heritage.
Our Core Values
- To provide a positive environment that is motivated, energetic and committed.
- To make a difference by supporting individuals and providing opportunities.
- To openly provide information and create professional understanding about our insurance services.
- To consistently improve our service to exceed the expectations of our customers and become the best pet insurer we can be.
- To treat others as we would wish to be treated with respect, honesty and integrity.
- To lead by example with progressive ideas to set us apart from our competitors.
- To demonstrate commitment and support to animal welfare causes worldwide.
About Animal Friends
Animal Friends Pet Insurance was founded by Elaine Fairfax in 1998 with the sole aim of providing pet insurance as a means to help support animal welfare charities. Elaine had worked closely with many animal welfare charities throughout her life but she wanted to do even more to help animals. Thus, she decided to use her business skills to raise substantial funds through something people need; pet insurance
Since its inception Animal Friends Pet Insurance has grown to become not only an award-winning business but one of the largest pet insurance providers in the UK (Datamonitor 2013). Currently in our 18th year, we look after over 800,000 pets and offer cover for cats, dogs and horses (including rider insurance) with a range of different policies available.
Dedication and Excellence
Here at Animal Friends Pet Insurance we are committed to providing the best pet insurance service we can and as a result we have received many accolades recognising such a service:
- Named at the 2014 ConsumerMoneyFacts Awards.
- Received a 'Commendation' for our level of customer service at the same awards.
- Our exceptional claims processes led to us being awarded the 2013 ‘Outstanding Broker Claims Team of the Year’ at the Insurance Times Claims Excellence Awards, taking into account claims teams from all walks of the insurance industry, not just pet insurance.
- Won 2014 Insurance Times Broker Claims Initiative of the Year
- A 5-star rating from Defaqto for our Prestige pet insurance policy for 2014 & 2015
Animal Friends has been built from my genuine desire to use business to help animal charities. Animal Friends has bred a fantastic team spirit and a unique workplace atmosphere that every visitor remarks on. For the business it means an exceptional level of dedication and care by the staff which runs through each and every department.
-- Elaine Fairfax, Managing Director and Founder
Meet the Team
Managing Director and Founder
Hi, I’m Elaine the Managing Director and Founder of Animal Friends Insurance. I’m also a lifelong animal lover and have shared my home with many “animal friends” over the years. As you’ll see I love dogs and always carry packets of Schmakos in my bag in case I meet some waggy tailed friends on my travels – which I usually do! I also have 6 cats and 2 tortoises at home.
I’ve also been riding and around horses all my life. I have my BHS Stage 1 & 2 exams and I used to love teaching at my local riding school where I started and ran the British Gas Equestrian Club. I have looked after and owned a number of horses from a New Forest pony to Danish and Dutch Warmbloods but my favourite has to be my old Cob “Smellie”.
I took him on when he had bad emphysema and I brought him back to full health with lots of TLC, he then went on to win a number of veteran events and was a real character, enjoying orangeade and ice creams!
My greatest joy in heading our enthusiastic team here at Animal Friends is being able to help so many animal charities and meeting some wonderful people who have dedicated their lives to helping needy animals worldwide. I hope we can welcome your “animal friend” soon!
Hi, I’m Chris Fairfax the Marketing and Legal Director, like Elaine I am also a lifelong animal lover – in fact Elaine and I actually met at a riding stables!
As a kid all I wanted to do was to become a second David Attenborough but somehow I became a lawyer instead. After qualifying as both a Barrister and then solicitor, Elaine and I set up our own law firm where we helped animal charities, offering free advice and helping with fund raising. That gave us a taste to do more and Elaine came up with the idea for Animal Friends.
Over the years Elaine and I have shared our home with many kinds of animal friends from hamsters and gerbils to Henry the 8 foot Indian Python, with a mix of cats, horses and dogs in between. Currently 6 cats and 2 tortoises let us share their house!
Claims & Marketing Director
Hi, I’m Wes Pearson, Director of Claims, I’ve grown up around pets and particularly enjoy exercise with the family dog.
I have worked in the insurance industry for 16 years and have spent the last 10 years specialising in all different types of insurance claims, including Employers Liability, Public Liability, Property, Motor, Clinical negligence and of course Pet Insurance.
I have been at Animal Friends since April 2010 and enjoy every moment being around other pet owners.
I am also a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute and have achieved accreditation.
PA and Office Manager
Having joined Animal Friends on 8 February 2016, I am the newest member of the team.
I come from a family of cat lovers, all of whom have had their own little quirks, like stealing toast and crisps. Our current kitty is named Gibson, who we believe to be about 25 or 26 years old and still amazes us when he suddenly decides to tear around the house like a spring chicken! The rest of the time Gibson has his own bed placed under the radiator which is kept on for him even when there is no-one at home. The newest addition to the family is Doug – a Shih Tzu puppy and the first dog in our family.
I previously worked for many years as a PA in a company allied to the motor industry so this is a very refreshing change for me and I am very much enjoying to my new career here with such a lovely, friendly bunch of people.
Head of Customer Services
I started at Animal Friends as an Office Junior in 2009. Over the past few years I have grown within the company developing my skills within the department to then progress to management. When joining Animal Friends I was looking for a career and that’s exactly what I have found here and I am enjoying every moment! Ensuring our customers are provided with a great service is my team’s top priority!
At home I enjoy relaxing with my two cats Mowgli and Fifi and long walks with my mischievous dog Neeko, however quite often Mowgli will decide to join us also!
Compliance & Resolutions Manager
Hi I’m Michael Wood, Compliance & Resolutions Manager; I’ve always been around animals coming from an agrarian background. I joined Animal Friends in October 2015 after previously working for a private medical Insurer. I have worked in the financial services industry for the past 13 years in compliance focussed roles across General Insurance, Consumer Credit, Mortgages, Savings and Investments.
I truly enjoy working in a place where everyone has such a passion for all things animal related; it really makes for an extremely unique financial services culture and fantastic environment to work in.
Head of Business Strategy
Hi, I’m Bogdan Szostek, Head of Business Strategy. I joined Animal Friends in 2014 after working in various industries, including the NHS, automotive, and life and health insurance.
I graduated with a degree in Financial Mathematics and specialise in statistical analysis, predictive modelling and pricing strategy. Animal Friends gave me a great opportunity to progress with my career and develop new skills, and thanks to their support I am also working on achieving my actuarial qualifications.
I grew up on a lovely countryside, surrounded by plenty of animals including cats, dogs and rabbits, cats being probably my favourite. Working at Animal Friends is particularly pleasant, because of its friendly atmosphere and extra support when pet owners can bring their companions to the office to give us all a helpful paw!
I joined Animal Friends in February 2016 having previously worked in finance based roles in global and UK based manufacturing and distribution businesses. I have also worked in financial services for a private medical insurer.
Animal Friends is an exciting, fast-growing business with so many people enthused by animals and their welfare. There are always pets in the offices. Despite an allergy to animal fur I am a cat lover, with a young cat named Tarquin. He is barred from the bedroom but there is always a paw under the door.
Head of Claims
I joined Animal Friends in January 2017 as Head of Claims.
I have been fortunate to work with a number of high profile, prestigious general insurance companies, always in a claims capacity and at the cutting edge of claims development. My passion and focus has always been the operational function of claims and working continuously to improve and ensure, the best claims experience for our customers.
My wife, son, daughter and I are fortunate to be able to share our home with our 2 rescue cats Koko and Kiki, who are brother and sister, plus our adorable labradoodle Teddy. The recent arrival of Esme, a reckless, fearless, accident-prone Snoodle puppy has upturned our home life, but it’s glorious fun! It’s great working in such a pet-friendly environment, but I had better make sure that I don’t bring Esme into the office as she will ruin it in 5 minutes!
Senior Management Accountant
I joined Animal Friends in May 2010 having previously spent 10 years working for a large life insurance company.
My family and I are rather animal mad, and currently have 4 cats and 3 dogs: an 11-year-old Border Collie; a 4-year-old West Highland Terrier and our latest addition, a 5-month-old German Shepherd! Luckily we enjoy walking in the countryside and usually come home with three very muddy and tired dogs.
It is always a pleasure coming to work, as there are always fresh challenges to be met. Everybody is friendly and helpful with a lovely warm atmosphere. It is also lovely being able to bring your dog to work as well – although I haven’t attempted all three in one day yet!
I joined Animal Friends in October 2015, having previously spent 13 years working as a recruiter and service manager within the charity sector.
No two days are ever the same in HR, but it is such a rewarding job to be able to support the company and our employees throughout their career with us. Animal Friends is a great place to work, with lovely people and a fantastic ethos.
At home we have a British Shorthair called Dolly, who has just celebrated her 21st birthday! You wouldn’t think she was that old though, as she can still race you up the stairs at bedtime to ensure she gets the best spot on the bed.
Head of Sales
I joined Animal Friends in July 2016, having previously worked within the Financial Services industry for 30 years in various Sales Management roles across general insurance, banking, and motor breakdown.
I’ve grown up around many animals including dogs, horses and rabbits. Animal Friends is a great place to work, with friendly colleagues who are totally focused on providing great service and support for all our customers and their pets.
Finance and Business Administration Manager
I joined Animal Friends in April 2016. I have been an animal lover all my life and have always had cats in my home, at one point we had 5 in total due to rescuing a couple. We now have two tabbies; Chocolate and Marmite, and two naughty black kittens called Thistle and Nettles. I also delved into the dog world in 2009 when we rescued George, a Westie. He is my best friend and is daft as a brush but I love him loads.
I really enjoy the challenge of my role and I love working here. The company’s ethos, the friendly staff and the fantastic Finance Team, makes it a wonderful place to come to work every day.