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.”
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.
- 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;
- Further detail on investments can be downloaded at: www.aviva.com/investors/presentations
- 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.
‡ Denotes Alternative Performance Measures (APMs) which are key performance indicators of the Group used to measure our performance and financial strength. Further details of this measure are included in the ‘Other information’ section of FY19 Analyst Pack.
# The estimated Solvency II position represents the shareholder view only.
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Notes to editors
- All comparators are for the first quarter of 2019 position unless otherwise stated.
- All figures have been translated at average exchange rates applying for the period, with the exception of the capital position which is translated at the closing rates on 31 March 2020. The average rates employed in this announcement are 1 euro = £0.86 (Q1 2019: 1 euro = £0.87) and CAD$1 = £0.58 (Q1 2019: CAD$1 = £0.58). Growth rates in this announcement have been provided in sterling terms unless stated otherwise.
- For information on how Aviva is helping our people, customers and communities impacted by COVID-19 visit: www.aviva.com/covid-19-our-response/
- For a more detailed description of risks faced by our business, please see the ‘Risk factors’ section in Aviva’s most recent Euro Medium Term Note Programme Prospectus (updated May 2020) https://www.aviva.com/investors/credit-ratings-and-debt/
- Aviva is a leading international savings, retirement and insurance business. We exist to be with people when it really matters, throughout their lives – to help them make the most of life. We have been taking care of people for more than 320 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’.
- Our vision is to earn our customers’ trust as the best place to save for the future, navigate retirement and insure what matters most to them. In 2019, we paid £33.2 billion in claims and benefits on behalf of our 33.4 million customers.
- We operate through five business divisions: Investments, Savings & Retirement; UK Life; General Insurance; Europe Life; and Asia Life; and focus on three strategic priorities: deliver great customer outcomes, excel at the fundamentals and invest in sustainable growth.
- Total group assets under management at Aviva group are £510 billion and our Solvency II capital surplus is £12.6 billion (FY19). Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE 100 index.
- For more details on what we do, our business and how we help our customers, visit www.aviva.com/about-us
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