THE performance which prompted Aviva shareholders to oust chief executive Andrew Moss has been laid bare in figures from the company.
With its shares nearly 40% lower than a year ago, Britain’s biggest insurer revealed a 5% drop in long-term savings sales and flat general insurance and health premiums in the first three months of the year.
Aviva’s £1.3bn exposure to the troubled eurozone economies of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain also continued to hit the group, as life and pension sales in Italy and Spain tumbled 23%.
The soft performance comes despite a series of TV adverts starring actor Paul Whitehouse, known for his work with comedian Harry Enfield, in which he plays a variety of characters promoting a range of insurance products.
Stand-in boss John McFarlane repeated his pledge to lift the group’s financial performance as he prepares to conduct a strategic review of all its businesses.
McFarlane stepped in as executive deputy chairman following the abrupt exit of Moss, who stood down after investors staged a massive protest vote against Aviva’s annual pay report.
McFarlane described the first quarter performance as “solid” and said profitability in both Aviva’s life and general insurance businesses was in line with targets.
He said: “My first task is to make an improvement in the capital and financial strength in the group, as well as an improvement in our financial performance.
“While not underestimating the significance of the challenge, I am optimistic of the outcome.”