SALES fell by 43% at insurance company Hibernian Aviva during the first three months of the year, compared with the same period last year.
First quarter figures published yesterday by British insurance group, Aviva — which owns the Hibernian brand here — showed that the year-on-year sales decline at the Irish business was in line with the sharp decline in the overall Irish life and pensions market and “reflects reduced demand across both retail and bancassurance channels with consumers being deterred by volatile equity markets, the slowdown in economic growth and property market uncertainty”.
Hibernian Aviva chief Stuart Purdy said yesterday that the company’s market share in both the pensions and health insurance areas — since buying a majority stake in Vivas Health last year, Hibernian’s share of the health insurance market has grown from 5% to 9% — are continuing to rise. The health insurance arm of the company now has approximately 200,000 customers in Ireland.
However, Mr Purdy also said that the current challenging trading conditions in the Irish market showed in the company’s overall sales figures for the quarter.
He added that the company was seeing “progress” across its business in the current quarter, but went on to warn that price rises would be inevitable — especially in the general insurance area, where Ireland is affected by “aggressive” competition. However, no further job losses are anticipated at the Irish operations.
On an overall group basis, Aviva actually posted a 5% year-on-year increase in first quarter revenues to £10.3 million (€11.5m). Group life and pension sales were up by 11% on the same period last year, to £9.57m.
On a group basis, Aviva said it was in a strong financial state with its IGD (insurance group directive) capital surplus — which industry players must show to prove they’re not in danger of insolvency — up from £2 billion to £2.5bn between the end of December and the end of last month.
It added that this would withstand further deterioration in the equity markets — a 40% further fall in the value of the markets would, apparently, only reduce its IGD by £200,000, while a 40% rise in markets would add £800,000.
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