Surge of 11% in Q1 pensions growth cut down to 5% overall

Aviva ‘s Q1 figures to the end of March show pensions sales rose by 11% because of currency changes but the overall sales rise was dragged down to just 5% by the rest of its business.

Aviva said its general insurance business was “on track”

Financial highlights:

  • Worldwide sales up 5% to £10,313m
  • Life and pensions sales up 11% to £9,569m
  • Group margin in line with full year 2008
  • Total bancassurance sales up 15%
  • IGD solvency surplus £2.5bn
  • GI combined operating ration to “meet or beat” 98%

Andrew Moss, Aviva's chief executive, said: “A disciplined approach to writing business and a focus on capital management will continue to serve us well. We have a diversified business which spans 28 countries and sells through a range of distribution channels. We continue to navigate a steady course through challenging times.”

General insurance

Aviva said: “Our first quarter combined operating ratio is in line with our target to 'meet or beat' a combined operating ratio of 98% and we expect to achieve our target for the year. During the quarter, weather experience has been neutral across the group as favourable experience in the UK has offset the cost of storms in France.

United Kingdom

Aviva said: “The UK general insurance operation, first quarter performance has benefited from better than expected weather resulting in reduced claims frequency. Premium volumes have reduced reflecting our stance of writing business for profit rather than volume, the withdrawal of single premium creditor products and the impact of the depressed economic climate, particularly in commercial lines where exposures are reducing. We have maintained excellent progress on our programmes to transform the business with their focus on core insurance skills, customer service and driving down distribution costs and are on track to deliver further annual cost savings of £150m by 2010, bringing the total savings to £350m from this business. We remain ahead of plan in the transformation of customer service centres with nearly half of business now being undertaken by the new centres of excellence.

Rest of the world

  • France: premiums have increased in a mature market
  • Ireland: affected by aggressive competition.
  • Ireland: health business outperforming competitors by a significant margin in terms of new members. Membership to 200,000, achieving a 9% market share
  • Netherlands: continuing pressure on rates
  • Canada: premium growth due to strong commercial lines and better retention in personal property. A new approach to pricing in personal lines in Ontario which is improving segmentation of the renewal book and competitive pricing on new business.