Sales boost helps insurer Aviva edge towards recovery


Aviva today took tentative steps towards a recovery by posting  a steady, if not sexy, set of first-quarter numbers.

The insurer, which has been hampered by shareholder unrest, falling profits and operational issues in recent years, said new business sales rose 18 per cent to £191 million.

Increased demand for its products in the UK and Asia helped offset weakness in Spain and Italy. New chief executive Mark Wilson said Aviva was on course to deliver £400 million in cost savings by the end of the year. However, he conceded it would take some time to reverse the group’s fortunes.

“I am conscious of the challenges and do not want to set expectations at an unrealistic level. Progress so far has been satisfactory,” he added.

Aviva is almost a year into delivering its new strategy, which is focused on slimming down its structure. It has already sold off loss-making units such as its US business, and more are set to go. 

Wilson and chairman John McFarlane impressed investors at the AGM last week, although they will have their work cut out improving the share price, which languishes around the £3 mark.