Rising premiums boost profits at Aviva Ireland

Rising premiums, lower claims, and better weather conditions helped drive a 12% year-on-year rise in profits at insurer Aviva Ireland in the first half of the year.

Aviva said it is well-positioned for further growth in Ireland on the back of generating first-half operating profits of €48m.

This is despite it seeing life insurance profits halve and its motor division remaining a “challenging” part of the business.

Aviva Ireland’s general insurance arm grew net written premium by 12% in the first half, with combined operating ratio — a key measure of profitability in general insurance — rising seven percentage points, to 84.7%, on the same period last year.

Life profits, in the first half, fell from €14.6m to €7m, but Aviva said investment in new products, better distribution and digital capability should lead to profit growth in the second half.

The life insurance arm, however, saw “significant” growth in sales of retirement products and bulk purchase annuities.

Aviva Ireland chief executive John Quinlan said there is “significant opportunity” to grow both the life and general insurance arms. On a group-wide basis, Aviva posted an 11% year-on-year rise in first-half operating profit to £1.47bn (€1.63bn).

Aviva said the process of restructuring the Irish business into a full group subsidiary, rather than a branch of the UK business, is ongoing. It added, however, it will remove uncertainty caused by Brexit and “underlines” the group’s commitment to Ireland.

“We are working closely with the Central Bank on the authorisation process, which is well underway,” said Mr Quinlan.

Aviva’s figures and a decent first-half performance from Axa — along with RSA Ireland this week posting a first-half profit of €2.23m and reaffirming its expectation of returning to full-year profitability here this year — indicate further signs of stabilisation in Ireland’s volatile insurance markets.

Axa posted first-half net profits of €3.27bn, up 2%. Its UK and Ireland life and savings arm revenues grew 5% to €2.56bn, with health revenues up 6% to €6.5bn.


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