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About Animal Friends

Our Ethos

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Our Aims

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.


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Our Mission Statement

A commitment to providing cat, dog, and horse insurance cover with a quality of service that will be remembered and recommended, whilst helping charities worldwide and raising awareness of their work .


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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

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The Company

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.


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Animal Welfare

Our business is built upon the foundation and core of our ethos; by providing a range of pet insurance policies we are able to donate and support over 300 across the UK and worldwide, meaning that the total amount of money we have donated to date is:

£3,722,000


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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

Customer Reviews

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Meet the Team

Wes Pearson

Managing Director

Hi, I’m Wes Pearson, Managing Director. 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.


Elaine Fairfax

Founder and Charity Ambassador

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 is being able to help so many animal charities and meeting wonderful people who have dedicated their lives to helping needy animals worldwide.


Nigel Hawkes

Management Accountant

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.


Bogdan Szostek

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!


Michael Wood

Compliance 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.


Lauren Bage

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!


Gina Wall

Director of Sales and Marketing

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.


Nigel Summerfield

Director 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!


Richard Wallis

Director of Customer Experience

Having spent 30 years in the insurance industry I use that experience to improve our support to pet owners who protect their animal companions through us. I joined Animal Friends 2 years ago to help them carry on and expand their great work. That time has already been very varied and exciting working with all areas of our company.

It’s very important to me, and Animal Friends as a whole, that our customers have a great experience when they need us, and peace of mind in respect of their policy when they are concentrating on other things.