Aviva on road to new chief

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Aviva chairman John McFarlane said the insurer was making good progress towards appointing a new chief executive as it reported flat UK life and pensions sales.

McFarlane, who has been running the company since previous boss Andrew Moss left in May following a shareholder revolt over its executive pay plans, said a number of candidates were being interviewed for the post, and the group was taking action to address a culture of “collective decision-making” that had slowed its development.

Life and pensions sales in the UK held steady at £8 billion in the nine months to 30 September, while general insurance sales were also flat at £3.1bn, despite an 8 per cent rise in car premiums.

Rival firm RSA, owner of the More Than brand, also revealed stagnant sales in the UK but received a boost from emerging markets such as Chile, where it is the largest property insurer.

Sales for the UK were unchanged at £2.2bn in the first nine months, following a 19 per cent drop in car premiums, while emerging markets rose 15 per cent to £887m.