Aviva no longer a ‘couch potato’ as insurance firm announces 20pc rise in profits

Aviva, formerly Norwich Union, Surrey Street, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Aviva, formerly Norwich Union, Surrey Street, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Profits at insurance giant Aviva have leapt by 20pc to £2.665bn, the company announced this morning, as its group chief executive said it had 'completed the fix phase of our transformation'.


But Mark Wilson said there was still work to do in turning the business around, adding: 'Aviva has gone from being a couch potato to being able to run a 10k race in quite a quick time, but we are some way off completing our marathon.'

He said: '2015 was about stability and growth at Aviva, against a background of market volatility and uncertainty. Aviva is now a stronger and more focused business. We have completed the fix phase of our transformation.'

He added the company's balance sheet was 'one of the strongest and most resilient in the UK market', with the Solvency II coverage ratio standing at 180pc and economic capital surplus having tripled in four years. The final dividend was increased by 15pc to 14.05p per share.

'We enter 2016 from a position of strength. Our focus remains on transforming our business and delivering on our commitments,' he said.

Integration with Friends Life, which was acquired in a £5.6bn deal last spring, has been faster than expected, with the £225m savings programme expected to be completed by the end of 2016 – one year ahead of schedule.

Group internal loans fell from £5.8bn to £1.5bn at the end of February.

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Aviva also announced the appointment of Colm Holmes as chief executive of the company's UK general insurance arm, who will step up from chief financial officer to replace Maurice Tulloch, who will continue as chairman.

The division returned to growth in 2015, with a net written premium of £3.7bn and operating profit of £368m.

Mr Holmes said: 'It is a huge honour and responsibility to lead UKGI. I thank Maurice for handing me a business in such good shape, and I'm excited about collaborating with him in the future as the leader of the largest general insurance business within the group.'