Aviva, Direct Line and RSA set to reveal mixed half-year fortunes

 
Oliver Gill
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Insurers have warned government changes to the personal injury discount rate will push up annual motor premiums (Source: Getty)

Aviva could deliver a surprise gift to investors when it reports its half-year figures on Thursday.

Company supplied consensus expectations indicate the insurance giant will post low double-digit growth of operating profits and dividends.

In February, Aviva revealed it had added £1.1bn of cash to its balance sheet. Since then it has sold Friends Provident (netting the firm £340m) and shares in its Spanish division (for £400m).

“We are not anticipating any major shocks,” said Panmure Gordon equity analyst Barrie Cornes, adding:

Although we think that there is room for a surprise on the interim dividend.

Read more: Aviva sells loss-making Friends Provident for £340m

Rivals

FTSE 100 rivals Direct Line and RSA will post their six-month returns on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

Given its large motor insurance division, former Royal Bank of Scotland-owned Direct Line took a chunky £217m hit from the government’s decision to adjust the pricing of personal injury payouts.

As the “dust settles” on the discount rate intervention by the justice ministry, Peel Hunt analyst Andreas van Embden said: “The half-year results should see stable motor results but a tough comparison in home as margin pressure bites.”

More Than owner RSA – like Aviva – has had plenty to cheer about in recent results announcements. With the 2014 nightmare of three profit warnings within six weeks firmly behind it, boss Stephen Hester said in February the turnaround is complete.

“We’re planning on the outside world giving us no help… We’re just making it better,” he said.

Read more: Direct Line profits take £217m hit from discount rate cut

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