Results ‘not as good as people expected’, says chief executive as Aviva announces after-tax loss

Norwich Union chief executive Igal Mayer has admitted that the insurer’s 2008 performance in UK personal lines was disappointing. “The results are not as good as people expected,” he said.

Net written premium in personal motor was £1.33bn, down from £1.43bn in 2007. The insurer posted an underwriting loss of £37m for personal motor (see table, right).

Mayer blamed claim farming in personal injury and credit hire for some of the losses.

“It’s something we have to tackle as an industry,” he said.

Net written premium for homeowner business fell to £1.19bn in 2008, from £1.22bn in 2007. But Mayer said last year’s homeowner results were affected by complex claims from the 2007 floods. He said the combined operating ratio would have been 100% were it not for prior year claims relating to the floods. “The household account ... I view it as treading water. It’s not good enough, and it has to produce an operating profit.”

Commercial lines fared better, but net written premium for commercial motor fell to £577m.

Aviva as a group reported a 4% rise in pre-tax profit to £2.3bn, but an after-tax loss of £885m.