Aviva UK life and pensions new business sales fell almost 25% in 2009 as the insurer was hit by the tough economic conditions, but bumper Q4 sales have given it confidence for 2010.
Total life and pension new sales were £8.9bn last year on a PVNBP basis, down from £11.8bn in 2008, a drop of 24.8%. Elsewhere, collective investment sales dropped 29.3% to just over £1bn.
However, Aviva UK says Q4 life and pension sales advanced 17% and collective investment sales grew 96% over Q3 levels.
Worldwide, the insurer reports total sales for the year of £36bn, down from £40bn in 2008. But £8bn Q4 sales were up 21% on the previous quarter.
Andrew Moss, Aviva group chief executive, says: "In the fourth quarter we increased sales across all our regions and saw the first signs of an improved appetite to save among our customers.
"We start 2010 in a strong position. Our focus remains on growing our business profitably and improving our operational efficiency so that we can fully benefit as our major markets return to economic growth."
Aviva UK total pension sales were £3.7bn, down from £4.7bn the previous year, with the fall due, in part, to the reduced number of large schemes written compared with the same period in 2008. The insurer has since reopened its Wrap and SIPP platforms to new business.
Bond sales fell to just over £2bn from almost £3.3bn the previous year. Aviva says the reduction is in line with its focus on value driven by commission reductions and the withdrawal of its Inflation Protected Guarantee option.
Elsewhere, total annuity sales were lower at £1.8bn, down from £2.4bn, due to lower bulk purchase annuity volumes (£175m from £826m).
Equity release and protection product sales bucked the trend. Equity release sales increased to £276m from £250m the previous year, while protection sales jumped to £940m from £890m.
Meanwhile, Aviva says the reattribution of its inherited estate, which began on 1 October, is close to completion. Over 90% of the 740,000 cheques issued so far have been deposited.
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