Aviva announces first quarter trading update

Aviva-Group-Chief-Executive-Officer-Maurice-Tulloch

Authored by Aviva

Maurice Tulloch, Aviva Group Chief Executive Officer, said:

“In responding to COVID-19, Aviva moved quickly to support our customers, introducing a range of measures to help, including financial assistance. I am proud of how Aviva’s people have adapted and maintained excellent day to day service for our customers when they need us most.”

“Aviva had a solid first quarter of trading. General Insurance sales increased 3% and we had a strong performance in Life Insurance where new business increased 28%. Based on analysis as at 30 April, our estimate of the COVID-19 claims impact on general insurance, incorporating notified and projected claims, is £160 million net of reinsurance.”

“At 31 March, our estimated solvency ratio remains strong at 182% and incorporates COVID-19 related impacts. The economic outlook remains uncertain and will affect our business, however the strength of our capital and liquidity means we are well positioned to manage this crisis and continue to support our customers.”

Highlights

First quarter trading

  • Aviva made a strong start to the year. Life new business sales (PVNBP) rose 28% to £12.3 billion (1Q19: £9.6 billion) and value of new business (VNB) grew 18% to £311 million (1Q19: £263 million);
  •  General insurance net written premium gained 3% to £2.4 billion (1Q19: £2.3 billion). Excluding COVID-19 impacts, Canada achieved strong underwriting results while the UK was affected by February storms;
  • A quick and smooth transition to working remotely has enabled us to maintain strong customer service.

Capital and liquidity

  • Aviva is taking a prudent approach on capital and cash given the uncertain economic outlook;
  • At 31 March, Aviva’s Solvency II cover ratio‡# is estimated at 182% and reflects COVID-19 related impacts;
  • The reduction in cover ratio compared with FY19 (206%‡#) is consistent with our published sensitivities and primarily reflects capital markets impacts, in particular the widening of corporate credit spreads, reductions in risk free yields and declines in equity markets;
  • We have moved early to recognise the impact that COVID-19 could have on our business through:
    • Allowance for a range of COVID-19 impacts in general insurance;
    • Updated UK property assumptions at 1Q20: Brexit property allowance released; 15% fall in commercial property; 12% fall in residential property followed by long-term growth; and
    • Adjustment for potential future credit rating downgrades (full letter downgrade on 10% of BBB rated bonds and 5% on bonds rated A and above) in our UK annuity corporate bond portfolio.
  • Solvency II estimated own funds per share# at 31 March was 372 pence per share (FY19: 423 pence);
  • At 30 April, Aviva’s holding company liquidity was £2.5 billion.

Impact on general insurance claims

  • We are still in the early stages of claims development on COVID-19 and so its ultimate impact on Aviva still has a high level of uncertainty;
  • However, based on analysis as at 30 April, our estimate of COVID-19 related claims in our general insurance businesses, incorporating notified and projected claims, is £160 million net of reinsurance;
  • This is based on estimated claims in business interruption insurance, other commercial lines and travel insurance and allows for favourable impacts in other product lines.

Investment portfolio

  • Aviva’s high quality investment portfolio continues to perform well;
  • In our shareholder corporate bond portfolio, approximately 5% is invested in sectors most directly impacted by COVID-19, such as airlines, retail, leisure, and oil & gas;
  • In 2020, our shareholder-backed corporate bond portfolio has had no defaults. Less than £10 million of bonds have had credit ratings downgraded below investment grade to the end of the first quarter, while just 3% of the portfolio has been downgraded to a lower rating “letter”;
  • Our commercial mortgage portfolio has a low loan to value ratio and strong interest cover. We anticipate pressure on covenants for some borrowers, however, at the present time this has not translated into any meaningful impact on debt service;

Outlook

  • COVID-19 provides unprecedented uncertainty and could give rise to a severe economic downturn. This may adversely impact our results, not least potential changes in investment performance, capital generation and remittances;
  • Early 2Q20 trends have seen new business sales decline across many of our businesses due to worldwide Government enforced confinement measures. While customer activity levels have risen somewhat more recently as we help distributors and customers manage through these measures, sales volumes for the year overall are likely to remain below expectations;
  • In addition to the estimated general insurance claims impact from COVID-19, financial market performance and economic activity are also likely to impact revenues in our savings and asset management businesses, which are sensitive to asset values.
  • In life insurance, mortality and longevity claims experience arising from COVID-19 are expected to broadly offset;
  • We are supporting customers and the broader community, not least through our £43 million contribution to various funds and charities, and our numerous customer support initiatives;
  • We remain committed to achieving our 2022 targets, however, COVID-19 is expected to provide additional challenges to achieving these targets. We remain focused on enhancing customer and operational fundamentals to drive improved returns, better efficiency and cash-flow. 

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR
FREE BI-WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Latest video

Aviva Full Year 2019 Financial Results - Maurice Tulloch interview

Maurice Tulloch, CEO, Aviva plc talks through the headlines of the company's 2019 full year results.For more details CLICK HERE click here for more