Belfast Telegraph

Aviva to merge three insurance arms in UK

Life and pensions giant Aviva is merging its UK insurance businesses as part of a shake-up that has sparked the departure of its European boss.

The group said Andy Briggs will be promoted from head of its UK life business to chief executive of the merged insurance division, covering life, general and health insurance.

Aviva's restructure will also see Maurice Tulloch - currently executive chairman of global general insurance - become chief executive of international insurance, heading up the group's insurance operations in France, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Poland, Turkey and India.

The firm's European boss, David McMillan, who is also chairman of its global health insurance division, has decided to quit as a result of the changes, Aviva added.

Aviva Investors, Aviva Asia and the group's digital businesses will remain unchanged under the overhaul.

The moves come as Aviva is making a digital push to offer a range of life and general insurance products online.

It has also been pulling out of some overseas markets in recent years.

A spokesman for Aviva said there is "no news on jobs today" following the decision to merge its three insurance arms in the UK.

The three divisions each have offices and call centres across the UK.

Group chief executive Mark Wilson insisted the firm was "growing in the UK".

He said: "We see significant opportunities to differentiate our business in the UK post-Brexit. We like the UK, we are investing in the UK, and we are growing in the UK.

"Our priorities are to continue to deepen our position in our home UK market with our 16 million customers, and to continue to grow in our core international markets to diversify and strengthen Aviva."

Aviva's general insurance division has major call centres in Norwich, York and Perth, while the life business has key sites in Bristol, York, Norwich and Sheffield.

The health insurance arm has call centres in Eastleigh and Sheffield.

Analysts at JP Morgan Cazenove said the announcement is "another step in Aviva's restructuring, is in line with its plans laid out at last year's investor day and is positive news, in our view".

Mr Briggs was previously chief executive of Friends Life, which Aviva bought in 2015.

He has more than 25 years of experience as a senior executive in the insurance industry, having also formerly acted as chief executive of Scottish Widows, headed Lloyds Banking Group's life business and led Prudential's retirement income division.

Aviva offers insurance to one in four UK households and has 33 million customers across 16 markets worldwide.