Aviva completes £900m bulk annuity deal with Thomas Cook

Aviva logo on office glass window

Aviva has completed1 a £900million bulk annuity buy-in transaction with the Trustees of the Thomas Cook Pension Plan (the Plan).

Aviva will insure the defined benefit pension liabilities for more than 12,500 members, providing pension benefits at or in excess of Pension Protection Fund (PPF) compensation levels. The buy-in and eventual buy-out will result in a better outcome for the vast majority of members than they may have expected after the liquidation of Thomas Cook.  No member will see any reduction in benefits.

The scheme Trustees were independently advised throughout the process by Barnett Waddingham LLP, actuarial investment and risk transfer advisers for the Plan. Gowling WLG LLP provided legal advice to the Plan. DLA Piper LLP advised Aviva. Open Trustees Limited provided advice and support to the Plan trustees throughout the PPF assessment period and buy-in process. The Trustees have also received support and guidance from the PPF throughout this process.

Jamie Cole, Head of Bulk Purchase Origination at Aviva said:

“We’re delighted to support the Trustees of the Thomas Cook Pension Plan with their objectives. This transaction is an important step as it provides security for all members and an uplift in benefits for many. The Trustees' ambition is to complete the move to buy-out as soon as possible and we look forward to welcoming the Plan members to Aviva once this is complete”.

Steve Southern of Vidett (formerly 2020 Pension Services Limited) said:

"We're delighted to have entered into the buy-in policy with Aviva. This transaction will eventually see members receive benefits either at or, for many members, with an increase above PPF compensation levels. We're pleased to share this positive news with members, who we know have had a difficult time over the last few years following the unfortunate liquidation of Thomas Cook. The PPF provides a valuable safety net and a significant level of protection but many members will now receive higher benefits than they might have expected because of the transaction with Aviva. Members can take comfort their benefits will be looked after by one of the UK’s leading insurance, wealth & retirement businesses. The Trustees are pleased with this development and are very grateful to their advisers and the PPF for their help and commitment throughout this process."

Dan Collins, Relationship Manager at the PPF said:

“We recognise that the last few years have been difficult for Thomas Cook scheme members so we are really pleased that the Plan has now secured this buy-in, ensuring improved pension benefits for the majority of members. Our role is to support the members of the schemes we protect and we want to assure Thomas Cook scheme members of our continued support as this transition period develops. We’d like to thank the Trustees and their advisors for working closely with us to achieve this positive outcome.”

Richard Gibson, Partner at Barnett Waddingham and lead advisor on the transaction said:

“Barnett Waddingham’s specialist risk transfer team has helped the Trustees of the Thomas Cook Pension Plan to assess how they could best provide value and security to members following the liquidation of Thomas Cook.  We were pleased to help the Trustees agree a deal with Aviva after a competitive process, which will improve the benefits that many members receive.”



1 Deal completed May 2023

Media Enquiries

Steve Whitelock

Wealth and Retirement

Notes to editors:

  • We are one of the UK’s leading Insurance, Wealth & Retirement businesses and we operate in the UK, Ireland and Canada. We also have international investments in India and China.
  •  We help our 18.7 million customers make the most out of life, plan for the future, and have the confidence that if things go wrong we’ll be there to put it right.
  • We have been taking care of people for more than 325 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’. In 2022, we paid £23.2 billion in claims and benefits to our customers. 
  • Aviva is a market leader in sustainability. In 2021, we announced our ambition to become Net Zero by 2040, the first major insurance company in the world to do so. This plan means Net Zero carbon emissions from our investments by 2040; setting out a clear pathway to get there with a cut of 25% in the carbon intensity of our investments by 2025 and of 60% by 2030; and Net Zero carbon emissions from our own operations and supply chain by 2030. Find out more about our climate goals at www.aviva.com/climate-goals and our sustainability ambition and action at www.aviva.com/sustainability
  • While we are working towards our sustainability ambitions, we acknowledge that we have relationships with businesses and existing assets that may be associated with significant emissions. More information can be found at https://www.aviva.com/sustainability/climate/
  • Aviva is a Living Wage, Living Pensions and Living Hours employer and provides market-leading benefits for our people, including flexible working, paid carers leave and equal parental leave. Find out more at https://www.aviva.com/about-us/our-people/
  • As at 30 June 2023, total Group assets under management at Aviva Group were £358 billion and our estimated Solvency II shareholder capital surplus was £7.8 billion. 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
  • The Aviva newsroom at www.aviva.com/newsroom includes links to our spokespeople images, podcasts, research reports and our news release archive. Sign up to get the latest news from Aviva by email.
  • You can follow us on:
  • For the latest corporate films from around our business, subscribe to our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/aviva

      More from our Newsroom