The insurer hopes to continue investing in its direct business, as well as its commercial, broker and bank channels 

Aviva’s online trading has accelerated by more than 20% during the coronavirus lockdown.

Speaking about the digital demand from customers, Phil Bayles, Aviva’s chief sales and marketing officer, told Insurance Times that pre-pandemic, its commercial online business was good, but as the UK moved into lockdown, this increased significantly.

The insurer has invested heavily in its digital offering across the business, with the launch of its broker portal last year as well as digitising its commercial business lines and claims handling.

Colm Holmes, Aviva’s chief executive of general insurance, highlighted that 90% of the company’s business was executed digitally in 2020.

Holmes continued: “As we go into 2021 and beyond, our continued investment in digital capability [is] also driving our cost reductions, which are coming through. We are just re-platforming our business into a digitally enabled business.

“We know that is what our customers want and this is all about delivering against that customer need.

”You will continue to see investment in our direct business, but also in our commercial, broker and bank channel business, where we launched a digital proposition with Santander last year.”

Holmes admitted that innovation is a “continuous story”, however.

Reacting to a challenging year

Following the publication of Aviva’s 2020 full year financial results earlier this month, Holmes said he was most proud of how quickly Aviva reacted to customers and brokers needs during this “very challenging year”, which saw the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also in its results announcement, Aviva revealed its ambition to become the UK’s leading insurer and confirmed its acquisition of AXA XL’s high net worth private clients team, which is due to complete later this year.

The Covid-19 pandemic also highlighted that staff want to work from home more, therefore Aviva has adopted a more flexible working pattern.

“We have the capability to [do] so and productivity is not impacted. Our offices will act in a different way – they will act more as collaboration zones, customer training, customer facing work, strategy work,” Holmes said.

Aviva is also looking to reduce its carbon footprint by 30%.

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