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Aviva’s UK life and pensions sales down 12%

Aviva’s UK life and pensions business was down 12 per cent from £2.8bn to £2.5bn in the first quarter of 2009 compared with the same time last year, on a PVNBP basis.

The firm’s overall life and pensions business has increased 11 per cent from £8.6bn to £9.56bn over the same period.

Pension sales in general fell to £989m from £1.1bn in Q1 2009 compared with the same quarter last year and overall protection sales suffered a heavy blow due to the Competition Commission’s ruling on payment protection insurance – falling by 24 per cent to £245m. Total annuity sales have fallen by 8 per cent to £475m compared with 2008.

The sale of collective investments were down 60 per cent to £175m.

But, Aviva’s individual pensions sales in the UK increased from £777m to £900m in the first quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2008 while individual annuity sales increased from £328m to £407m over this period. The firm believes this improvement shows green shoots in the market.

The firm has boosted its IGD capital surplus from £2bn at the end of 2008 to £2.5bn at the end of March, after deducting the 2008 final dividend. It says that a 40 per cent fall in equity markets would reduce the IGD by £200m as at March 31, 2009.

Negotiations with policyholder advocate Clare Spottiswoode on the re-attribution of the firm’s inherited estates are drawing to a close, although the firm would not hint at whether a deal would be struck.

The estimated estate value of the estates at the end of March was £1.4bn.

Aviva confirmed that UK life finance director Nic Nicandrou has resigned after reports in the weekend press that he is moving to Prudential. The business’ chief actuary John Lister will take over in the role.

Chief executive Andrew Moss says: “It’s encouraging to see that people are continuing to save with companies they trust, like Aviva. Sales are resilient and we’ve taken action to improve margins in key markets. It is particularly pleasing to see bancassurance sales rebound as banks refocus on insurance as an important contributor to their earnings.

“We continue to manage our capital position effectively. At the end of March our capital surplus was significantly increased at £2.5bn, after allowing for payment of the 2008 final dividend.

“A disciplined approach to writing business and a focus on capital management will continue to serve us well. We have a diversified business which spans 28 countries and sells through a range of distribution channels. We continue to navigate a steady course through challenging times.”

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