Aviva to Exit Unfocused Markets

The CEO of General Insurance for Aviva has said the group is to scale back the number of products it writes as it seeks to drive 20% growth in commercial business.

Speaking at the Fitch Insurance Roadshow in London, Colm Holmes, (pic) said the firm was to withdraw from some areas of the business but was determined to become more efficient and valued to its customer base.

“We will exit markets where we don’t have a focus,” he said. “We will have fewer products in the market.”

He said that the firm was aware that there were areas that needed improvement.

“We do a lot of things that are very good, but we have done a lot of stupid things and this has to stop,” he explained. “People should not be asked to pay for other’s inefficiencies.”

Mr Holmes said that the firm had set a 20% growth target and the likelihood was that growth would come from the commercial lines business.

“We believe there are opportunities in the commercial lines sector and certainly in the specialty markets where clients are looking for new solutions.”

He said the way in which commercial clients approached the relationship with their insurer was changing.

“In personal lines out customers no longer want to speak to us,” he explained. “They want to communicate electronically and by mobile phone.

“On a corporate scale clients want us to be their risk advisers. Customers want to reduce their insurance spend and they way to do this is to manage risk.

“We are using technology to help those clients. In property for instance we will use technology to examine properties and highlight issues such as exposure to flooding and defects.

“If we find a weakness we will look to work with the client and say that if they deal with the defect, we can reflect that effort in the premium charged.”

Mr Holm added: “They want to understand the risks and find solutions that do not simply involve increased premiums.”

He added in the UK flood was currently the biggest risk to the UK market and added that the industry needed to work with government if it was to find a workable solution to the problem.

“There hasn’t been enough thought in terms of flood prevention in the past. However, this is changing,” added Mr Holm.