Car insurance growth drives Aviva sales lift
Car insurer and pensions giant Aviva has grown half-year profits by 3% in the UK after adding 670,000 new motor customers since the start of last year.
The group, which uses actor Paul Whitehouse in its latest advertising campaign, said the improvement to £709m came after general insurance sales lifted 14% to £2.22bn - the sixth quarter in a row of growth.
The improvement follows upward pressure on car premium rates across the industry and a surge in the firm's own customer numbers, helped by the roll-out of direct pricing to brokers.
However, Aviva said its combined operating ratio - measuring operating costs as a percentage of revenues - improved by two percentage points in general insurance to 96%.
Across the group, which has operations in Europe and North America, Aviva said operating profits rose 5% to £1.38bn in the half year.
Andrew Moss, Aviva chief executive, said: "This has been a successful six months. We are beating all our operational targets."