However, the insurer saw growth in its personal and commercial lines divisions, driving an increase in GWP
Aviva has revealed that its UK’s general insurance (GI) business suffered an increase in its undiscounted combined operating ratio (COR) in the nine months to September 2023.
In a trading update published today (16 November 2023), the insurer reported a figure of 96.1% for the period, up from 94.5% this time last year.
The rise was driven by multiple factors, including an increase in claims frequency, increased reinsurance costs and inflationary pressures.
Inflation started to bite in 2022 and was exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine and knock-on effects on energy markets.
The January 2023 renewal season was also particularly gruelling following geopolitical and macroeconomic headwinds last year.
However, Aviva said that “actions taken to mitigate these dynamics continue to earn through this year and next”.
Despite the increase in its undiscounted COR, Aviva saw its UK gross written premium (GWP) jump from £3.94bn to £4.54bn year-on-year.
This was due to growth in its personal lines arm, which jumped 20% in a year to £2.15bn, while commercial revenue increased from £2.15bn to £2.39bn between 2022 and 2023.
Aviva highlighted that the rise in its commercial lines arm was down to “strong” new business and retention levels and that its personal lines division saw growth from propositions such as Aviva Zero and the Azur high net worth acquisition last year (12 August 2022).
“Aviva has delivered nine months of strong growth,” chief executive Amanda Blanc said.
“We have clear trading momentum, driven by our uniquely diversified business, as well as our leading positions in growing markets.
“GI premiums grew 13%, reflecting the strength of our operations in the UK, Canada, and Ireland, across both commercial and personal lines.”
Meanwhile, Aviva said it had been focusing on helping customers affected by Storms Babet and Ciarán since the end of Q3 2023.
The Met Office put in place amber and yellow weather warnings as Storm Ciarán crossed the southern half of the UK, while Storm Babet struck parts of eastern Scotland earlier in the year (19 and 20 October 2023).
“Customers are our number one focus and we helped them with claims,” Blanc said.
“After storms Babet and Ciarán in the UK, we’ve had teams on the ground helping our customers, arranging repairs to damaged properties and providing alternative accommodation.”
The insurer also highlighted that in UK GI, it estimated that claims from weather events to date, including these two recent storms, were within its annual long-term average weather assumption, which is c.4pp of the undiscounted COR.
His career began in 2019, when he joined a local north London newspaper after graduating from the University of Sheffield with a first-class honours degree in journalism.
Now working within the insurance sector, James has a particular focus on motor, M&A activity and financial reporting.View full Profile