Aviva recovery begins as new business jumps

Marion Dakers

INSURANCE group Aviva said there “remains much work to be done” on its recovery plan as it posted a 14 per cent rise in new business to £571m for the first nine months of the year.

The firm, which installed Mark Wilson as chief executive and set out a new strategy at the start of the year, said growth in its core UK life arm and a jump in French premiums had buoyed overall business. Capital generation was stable at £1.3bn.

Operating expenses came in at £2.28bn, or seven per cent lower than last year, leaving it on track to cut £400m on 2011 levels by next year.

Aviva’s combined ratio, a measure of premiums written against claims paid out, rose 0.2 points to 96.9 per cent.

“Aviva remains in the early stages of turnaround. Whilst we have resolved a key issue in the disposal of our US business and have made progress in a number of areas, there remains much work to be done,” said Wilson.

Shares in the group closed down two per cent.