NWP drops as one-off corporate deal expires

Aviva’s UK general insurance net written premium fell 4% to £974m in the first quarter of 2012 (Q1 2011: £1bn) as a one-off corporate partnership deal worth between £60m and £70m expired.

However, the company’s UK combined ratio improved three percentage points to 97% (Q1 2011: 100%, excluding RAC). The company attributed the better combined ratio to “ongoing focus on underwriting and claims management in Q1 2012”.

The one-off corporate partnership deal was with one of Aviva’s banking partners and was for protection business, Aviva’s UK general insurance chief executive David McMillan explained.

Excluding the expiry of the one-off deal, Aviva said its first quarter 2012 underlying sales were up 3% on the same period last year. The company added that it now has 2.3 million personal motor customers in the UK, with 70,000 new customers added since the start of the year.

Group-wide, Aviva’s general insurance combined ratio improved to 96% (Q1 2011: 97%). Group general insurance and health net written was flat at £2.2bn.

The company also announced that its Insurance Group Directive solvency surplus was £3.2bn at 31 March 2012, up from £2.2bn at the end of 2011.
Aviva’s executive deputy chairman John McFarlane revealed that the strategic review of Aviva’s business, which he announced when he took over from former chief executive Andrew Moss would be conducted in June and the company would provide an update in July.

He also said that the search for a new chief executive would take the remainder of the year “as we need to appoint the best person in the world available to us”.

McFarlane will run Aviva until a new chief executive is found, after which he will be non-executive chairman of the group.