Strong results for insurance giant Aviva as group reports growth across the board

Aviva building on Surrey Street, Norwich
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Aviva building on Surrey Street, Norwich PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Norwich insurance giant Aviva has said it is in a strong position to grow after announcing its full year results.

Aviva group chief executive Mark Wilson. Picture: Aviva

Aviva group chief executive Mark Wilson. Picture: Aviva - Credit: Aviva

The EDP/EADT Top100 company revealed its operating profit rose 12% to £3.01bn in 2016 and the group now has £450bn of assets under management.

But group chief executive Mark Wilson warned changes made to the Ogden rate, which sets the cost of personal injury losses, would hit younger and older drivers – although he said the £380m hit to Aviva's profits would not affect shareholders.

Mr Wilson said: 'The Ogden reduction was a bit disappointing because the people it impacts are younger and older drivers.'

He added: 'I am glad that the government is doing an urgent review. Looking around the world I haven't seen anywhere that uses a negative rate like this.'

Aviva delivered better-than-expected results across the board and has generated excess capital of £1.8bn, some of which will be invested in further growth.

Mr Wilson said: 'Aviva's results are simple and clear cut: more operating profit, more capital, more cash, more dividend.

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'And there is more to come.

'Aviva's financial position has been transformed and a distinctly stronger balance sheet and excess capital give Aviva more options.

'We are now actively planning a capital return to our shareholders and debt reduction in 2017 and will invest further to grow our businesses.

'The numbers speak for themselves. Fund management delivered a breakout year with strong positive net flows and operating profit up 30%.

'General insurance is growing, with operating profit up 17%, and in UK Digital we have doubled online registrations to five million. We are becoming a digital disruptor for the benefit of our customers.'

Mr Wilson said he wanted Aviva to become a '320-year-old disruptor' and to lead the insurance market into the 21st century through digital innovations.

Headquartered in Surrey Street, Aviva has some 31 million customers across the world and the group is made up of a number of arms including general insurance, health insurance, life insurance and fund management.