The figures showed that a recovery in the domestic insurance market was offset by a sales of 18 per cent in the struggling US market.
Llfe and pensions sales in the quarter totalled £9.13bn from £9.57bn a year ago.
Analysts had penciled in sales of £8.48bn, with estimates ranging from £7.9bn to £9.19bn.
Aviva said UK life sales were flat year-on-year but up 14 per cent on the fourth quarter as Aviva cashed in on an increase in the minimum retirement age that has boosted volumes across the pension industry.
Aviva said separately it had shareholder exposure to the sovereign debt of Greece, Spain and Portugal totalling £900m at the end of March, with Greece alone accounting for £150m of that.