Aviva set for Irish health insurance market comeback

Joint venture to become fourth market player

Aviva set for Irish health insurance market comeback

Insurance News

By Terry Gangcuangco

British insurance giant Aviva, which sold its health insurance business in Ireland in 2016, is set to make a market comeback.

The return will be via a 50/50 joint venture with Douglasdale, a new company set up by the trio behind VIVAS Health and GloHealth.

Aviva’s health insurance history in Ireland

It was in 2008 that Aviva entered the Irish health insurance market by acquiring 70% of VIVAS Health. Set up in 2004, VIVAS Health subsequently became known as Aviva Health.

In 2016, Irish Life purchased Aviva Health, marking Aviva’s exit from health insurance in Ireland. At the time, Irish Life also took full ownership of GloHealth. The acquired businesses formed what came to be Irish Life Health.

Aside from Irish Life Health, the other existing players in the health insurance market in Ireland are VHI and Laya. A fourth one is set to be rolled out by Aviva and Douglasdale in the second half of the year.

Expansion of Aviva’s offerings in the Irish market

First reported by The Phoenix magazine, the expansion in Ireland was described by Aviva Insurance Ireland chief executive Declan O’Rourke as “great news” for consumers.

The Irish Times quoted the CEO as saying: “Aviva is delighted to support the set-up of an exciting new health insurance business in Ireland. This is great news for Irish consumers as it will provide greater choice and value.

“This investment expands Aviva’s offering in Ireland to general, life, and health insurance and further demonstrates Aviva’s commitment to continue to grow in Ireland as a leading financial services provider.”

Meanwhile, it was noted that the to-be-launched health insurer doesn’t have a name yet.

Douglasdale trio

The group teaming up with Aviva for the comeback is led by Oliver Tattan, who served as chief executive at VHI from 1998 to 2001 before co-founding VIVAS Health and GloHealth.

Tattan is joined by Jim Dowdall and Stephen Loughman. Following the sale of VIVAS Health, which Dowdall co-founded, he headed Aviva Health before holding the position of Aviva Ireland CEO until 2011. After he left Aviva, Dowdall co-founded GloHealth and was at the helm of the business even post-sale.

Loughman, a former actuary at VHI, was chief financial officer at VIVAS Health, GloHealth, and Irish Life Health.       

The JV, which will see Aviva taking a 50% shareholding in the new market player, is subject to regulatory approvals.

What do you think about this story? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!