UK-based insurer Aviva saw sales growth of 20% in its first quarter, bolstered by new business and international sales growth.

<p>Sales hit GBP7.9 billion, up from GBP6.3 billion the year earlier. International sales increased by 21%, while new business sales were up 20%. Investment sales registered the largest growth, leaping up by 72% to GBP1.1 billion. <br /><br />Richard Harvey, group chief executive, said: I am delighted with our performance in the first quarter of 2006. Aviva has accelerated sales growth across its worldwide long-term savings businesses and profits are growing in line with sales.<br /><br />He went on to say that, geographical diversity is one of our great strengths, and in the first quarter almost 60% of long-term savings new business comes from Aviva International. In the UK, our sales momentum is highly encouraging and new business profit is increasing strongly.<br /><br />It is not all good news however, with the insurer facing a challenge from its Dutch subsidiary Delta Lloyd. Delta is contesting Aviva&#0039;s decision to alter its corporate governance structure, and is taking its parent to court over the issue.<br /><br />The argument has stemmed from Aviva&#0039;s desire to decide Delta Lloyd&#0039;s supervisory board members. Delta is claiming that an existing agreement with Aviva allows supervisory board members to choose their own successors. <br /><br />Aviva has accused Dutch coporate governance laws of causing the rift, saying they do not make it clear who has legal authority. Neither company has revealed a deadline concerning a decision.</p>