Aviva to pay out £160m in virus claims

Insurance giant Aviva has estimated that it will pay out £160m in claims related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Aviva paid more than 582m to the families of life insurance customers who died or were diagnosed with a terminal illness last year

The firm, which employs 2,000 people at its life and general insurance business in York and 1,500 at its life and health insurance operation in Sheffield, said new business sales are down across many of its divisions, as government lockdowns aimed at containing the virus hit the global economy.

It said the pandemic will provide additional challenges in meeting its 2022 targets.

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Aviva's chief executive Maurice Tulloch 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.

"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."

Aviva said most of the Covid-19 claims came from business interruption and cancelled travel plans.

The insurer said the vast majority of its commercial policies did not cover business interruption claims arising from Covid-19, but it has paid some claims in Britain and Canada where cover was in place.

The group posted a sharp rise in first quarter new sales in its life business, boosted by bulk annuities,

Life new business sales rose 28 per cent to £12.3bn in the first quarter and general insurance net written premiums rose 3 per cent to £2.4bn.