Insurers to post upbeat numbers

TWO of the UK’s biggest insurers are set to announce an upturn in business when they update the market on trading this week.

Aviva is expected to unveil a £1bn increase in life and pension sales to £25bn when it reports figures for the first nine months of the year tomorrow.

And Standard Life, which posts numbers for the third quarter on Wednesday, is forecast to say that group assets under administration have risen by 10 per cent to £186.9bn.

Standard Life’s long term net savings are tipped to have more than doubled to £3.67bn from £1.4bn a year ago and investment management third party net inflows should have increased to £7.08bn from £4.3bn last time.

However, the Edinburgh-based group’s UK individual pensions new business is thought likely to have dropped by about three per cent in the nine months to £381m, while UK investment bonds are thought to have dipped nearly a third to £133m and new business in UK annuities to have declined 17 per cent to £293m.

Aviva is expected to focus on its continental European business tomorrow, although it will update on progress in its UK business.

The insurer’s European business outside the UK generated £16.3bn in revenue last year, contributing more than a third of the company’s total sales as it reported profits of £2bn.

Aviva is likely to point towards Europe as the region offering the best prospects rather than Asia, with forecasts showing better growth in the next five years than in the Far East outside Japan.

Poland is one of the countries expected to become a core emerging market, along with Turkey.