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Heart to heart

It’s Valentines Day and the Finextra mailbox, as ever, is crammed with messages of affection from doting PR bunnies. Spurious press releases linked to the annual love-in are an occupational hazard for financial journalists at this time of the year.  

Our passions were initially aroused by an e-mail from UK insurer Legal & General headlined 'Matters of the Heart'. Then we read the misanthropic punchline: "Legal & General urges people to consider critical illness cover this Valentine’s Day." 

More Th>n also sought to dampen our ardour with the news that half of all first marriages end in divorce. This is apparently good news for the online insurance firm as it offers customers free prenup and divorce documents as part of its Family Legal Services extension to home insurance. 

Saga Motor Insurance alerts us to the thrilling news that today’s over 50s are unlikely to fall for someone in a flash car, while the AA, in a saucily-headlined press release ‘Squeals on wheels’, breaks the news that one in three Valentines admit to sex in cars. 

But the prize for the most desperate PR stunt goes to the Merchants Payments Coalition, which gloomily informs us that credit card fees add $169 million to the cost of Valentine's Day. We particularly enjoyed this colourful quote from MPC chairman Mallory Duncan: “Visa and MasterCard are plucking a few petals off every rose this Valentine's Day.”

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