Aviva's Irish operation Hibernian has announced promising new business results for its life and pensions business for the year ending December 31, 2005.

The results follow Hibernian’s successful completion of a new bancassurance joint venture with Allied Irish Banks (AIB) on January 27, 2006, and demonstrate a growth in market share from 10% to approximately 16% through the acquisition of AIB’s life insurance subsidiary Ark Life.

Total sales on an annual premium equivalent (APE) basis for the combined entities in 2005 were E254.3 million.

Tony O’Riordan, managing director, Hibernian’s life and pensions arm, said: These results, together with the recent completion of the joint venture with AIB, provide an excellent platform for growth for our business and consolidate Hibernian’s position as one of the major players in the life and pensions market.

The joint venture complements our highly successful intermediary distribution network through providing access to AIB’s bank distribution channel. This increased scale gives us the ability to further develop attractive product choice and investment fund options for our customers and distribution partners. I am excited by the opportunities which this joint venture brings and look forward to a very positive future for our business, Mr O’Riordan added.

Within Hibernian Life & Pensions, which operates primarily in the independent broker channel, highlights included an exceptional performance in life single premium sales in 2005, up 152% to E199 million, spurred on by resumed investor confidence in stock markets and the success of Hibernian’s Guaranteed Fund.

New single premium pension sales were up 57% to E344 million (2004: E219 million) and benefited from a significant number of large contracts across all categories of pensions and the attractiveness of Hibernian’s choice of fund options and managers, Aviva said.

In aggregate Hibernian Life & Pensions achieved a 17% increase in total sales to E146.7 million, with pensions APE up 13.9% to E104.7 million (2004: E91.9 million).

At Ark Life, which distributes products through AIB’s branch network throughout Ireland, total pensions sales grew 19% to E51.4 million (2004: E43.2 million).