It’s a busy day at Aviva headquarters – with the British insurance giant not only revealing its financial results for 2021, but also announcing a key acquisition.
Let’s start with the acquisition – one that the company believes will enhance its position in the fast-growing UK wealth market. It has swooped for Succession Wealth for £385 million. With the UK wealth market worth an eye-catching £1.6 trillion in 2020, and expected to grow at 7% per annum through 2024, CEO Amanda Blanc was understandably optimistic about the move.
“The acquisition… supports our strategy to grow sustainably, and expands Aviva’s ability to provide high quality financial advice,” she said.
Still, with the deal subject to approvals and expected to complete in the second half of the year, that’s one for the future. So how is the Aviva business performing now?
The answer, it seems is pretty well – with the company reporting a surge in GWP to £8.8 billion, up from £8.3 billion the year before, across its general insurance business; and a jump in GWP for its life new business sales from £29.9 billion to an eye-catching £36.7 billion.
“2021 was a year of significant strategic progress, right across Aviva,” said Blanc in a media statement. “We successfully completed the sale of eight non-core businesses, generating excellent value for our shareholders. Our financial position is strengthened, and Aviva is now a much simpler, leaner business, focused on our core markets in the UK, Ireland and Canada.”
Blanc also declared a total capital return to shareholders of £4.75 billion – including the existing £1 billion share buyback.
“Our people are central to our success, and it’s only right that they share in the value they’ve helped create,” she added. “So, we are giving each of our 22,000 employees £1,000 in Aviva shares, to say ‘thank you’.”
Focusing in on its general insurance business, the UK market saw a 75% jump in operating profit to reach £318 million over the year, while Ireland saw a 23% jump to £38 million. Canada remained its strongest performing region, however – enjoying a 42% rise to hit £406 million.
Total GWP across UK, Ireland and Canada was the highest for a decade, growing 6% to £8.8 billion (2020: £8.3 billion), including 7% growth in the UK and 6% in Canada. UK commercial lines GWP climbed 15% to £2,609 million (2020: £2,262 million); while Canada commercial lines GWP jumped 10% to £1,268 million (2020: £1,153 million) due to increased rate in the prevailing