Aviva Ireland reported operating profit of €43m for the first half of the year, showing a 7% rise on the same period last year.

The insurance and investment firm said new business in its life & pensions division jumped 58% to €14.6m for the period, while its general insurance business grew by nearly a quarter (24%).

Meanwhile, the company’s combined operating ratio improved by 3.5% to 90%.

Operating profit rose 56% to €14.2m on a like-for-like basis for H1

Aviva Ireland CEO Hugh Hessing said the improved performance was “driven by an increase in customer numbers supported by a pricing strategy that delivers insurance cover at a price that is competitive and sustainable.

“Performance in our personal and commercial property sector is better than expected due to benign weather in the year so far,” he added. 

However, the cost of claims continues to be a “serious challenge” for Aviva in the personal motor market.

In its H1 results, the company also said growth has been particularly strong in annuities but volumes are up across all products. 

Its ‘AIMS Target Return’ fund has attracted more than €500m in the Irish market over the past 18 months and, according to Mr Hessing, is “providing a safe haven for our customers’ investments in these uncertain times”.

Aviva Ireland has 1,150 employees across its locations in Dublin, Galway, and Cork and services around 1m customers in the Irish market.