Insurer Aviva posted a 4% rise in first-half operating profit as its European and UK general insurance businesses built on a strong start to the year, making up for weakness in Canada. 

Aviva provides personal lines of insurance including motor, home, travel and life cover.

It said today that it had laid out a new set of targets to achieve an operating expense ratio of below 50% and double its annual excess holding company cash flow to £800m. 

The company said that its operating profit increased to £1.05 billion in the six months ended June 30 from £1.01 billion last year.