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When two trains crashed near Paddington station in October 1999, killing 31 people, St Paul was quick to pay out £13.5m in claims money. The firm which provided property and liability insurance in the public and private sectors prides itself on its integrity. Every employee signs its conduct guidelines annually.

Part of a multinational chain covering 97 countries and based in Saint Paul Minnesota, St Paul has a relatively small operation in the UK. There is a family feel and can-do culture running through the three sites, two in London and a head office in Redhill Surrey.

The parent company is the oldest business in Minnesota and was founded in 1853 with a dollar for dollar prompt payment philosophy. Recently a joint bill of £105m from redundancy payments and September 11 hit it hard. It started to scale down its international operations in December.

The firm's buzzwords are creativity, strength, knowledge and integrity. Employees are encouraged to develop and are rewarded on individual achievements: there are no salary bands or grades. There are limitless subsidies for courses not related to work and the firm has an unlimited number of £10 awards for good service. Women are less well provided for, with only statutory maternity leave and no job protected break.

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