Aviva shrugs off impact of claims changes, Morrisons reaps benefits of turnaround and Countrywide profits drop. FT Opening Quote, with commentary by Matthew Vincent, is your early Square Mile briefing. You can sign up for the full newsletter here. It’s not been so much Compare the Market, as compare the car crash. This week, three of Britain’s biggest motor insurers have shown how badly their their profits have been dented by a change to the way personal injury claims are calculated. For Direct Line it was £217m; for Admiral £91; and, this morning, for Aviva – despite promoting its policies to “safer” drivers – it has proved to be a charge of £380m.Without that damage, operating profit increased 12 per cent to £3bn – well ahead of Panmure Gordon’s forecast of an 8 per cent increase to £2.9bn. This was helped by strong performances from UK and Ireland general insurance, fund managers Aviva Investors, and a full-year contribution from the acquisition of Friends Life, with its associated cost synergies.General insurance net written premiums were up 15 per cent to £8.2m, while the value of new life insurance business grew 13 per cent £1.3bn.Aviva’s Solvency II ratio – of capital as a proportion to the new regulatory requirement – also increased, from 180 per cent in 2015 to 189 per cent.
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Aviva shrugs off impact of claims changes, Morrisons reaps benefits of turnaround and...