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Pet Insurer wins top businesswoman award

ELAINE FAIRFAX, the founder of Animal Friends Insurance, (AFI) has been named the winner of the prestigious NatWest Everywoman Businesswoman of the Year Award.

Fifty-one year-old Elaine from Gillingham, Dorset beat hundreds of women entrepreneurs to be honoured and recognised as the winner of the 2005 NatWest everywoman Award. The judging panel believed that Elaine had made the most outstanding achievement in business with a unique business proposition. The Awards Ceremony included five awards with four categories defined by age plus the NatWest everywoman Award.

All net profits that AFI makes from selling pet insurance policies are donated to worthy animal welfare projects around the world. Badly let down by two partners and with no experience of the insurance industry, Elaine set out on a from-scratch learning curve to get to grips with the entire process of policy administration in-house. Whilst many level-headed advisers would have advised against it, Elaine has forged her own path to show how a business can be run successfully without putting short-term profit ahead of a long-term cost to society.

Elaine said: "I am overwhelmed at being chosen as the overall winner from so many strong entries. It's such a fantastic award to receive in recognition of the struggle I have had to get this far with my business and it's also a big boost for women in business - I was staggered to learn that just 3% of the country's active company directors are women; I hope my story will now encourage other women to go for it!"

Claire Martin, Head of External Affairs, NatWest added: "Elaine has managed to combine her passion for animals with her business life, an example which will be a huge inspiration to many other women considering business ownership. She has become a major player in a market dominated by 'big names' and made an impact with a unique proposition. We are delighted that she has been awarded this year's NatWest everywoman Award and wish her continued business success."