Aviva Insurance Ireland management pay doubles amid exits

Remuneration for senior executives rises to €4m in 2020 at UK-owned general insurer

Aviva Insurance Ireland’s total remuneration for senior executives doubled in 2020 to €4 million, a year of major change at the top ranks of the UK-owned general insurer.

The company highlighted the figure for “total compensation to those employees classified as key management” in its latest solvency and financial condition report, published on its website. The corresponding figure for 2019 was €2 million.

A spokesman declined to comment on what led to the increase or how many employees fell under this category in each of the past two years.

Aviva Insurance Ireland's former chief executive, John Quinlan, officially left the company late last year, after dropping legal proceedings against the company. Mr Quinlan, who joined Aviva as general insurance managing director in 2013 from RSA Insurance Ireland, went on leave in late 2019 and launched legal proceedings against his employer last July.


Notice of discontinuance

The action was taken within weeks of it emerging that Declan O'Rourke, then general manager of US insurance giant AIG's Irish business, had been tapped to become the next chief executive of Aviva's Irish general insurance arm. A so-called notice of discontinuance of the case was filed with the High Court on December 7th.

Mr O'Rourke took over top executive duties last September from Nick Amin, a senior Aviva group executive who was dispatched in late 2019 to take on the role of interim chief executive of the Irish unit. Mr Amin subsequently became the wider group's chief operating officer.

Other senior Aviva Insurance Ireland departures last year included John Farrell, former head of claims; Robert Kennedy, former head of sales; and Michelle White, former head of marketing. Aviva is known within the industry to have relatively high rates of senior executive turnover, both at Irish and group level.

Group structures

Aviva Insurance Ireland saw its operating profit fall to €35 million last year from €54 million. This was mainly the result of net premiums dropping 7 per cent to €440 million, mainly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as higher expenses.

London-based Aviva reorganised its Irish business in September 2019 to align itself with the structures of the group. This eliminated the position of Aviva Ireland chief executive and left Mr Quinlan in charge of the general insurance business, Aviva Insurance Ireland, with the life and pensions business, Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland, headed up by another executive.

Aviva appointed Dave Elliot, who has been with the group for almost a decade, as chief executive of the Irish life and pensions division last summer, succeeding Tom Browne, who joined the business in 2018 through the acquisition of Friends First. Mr Browne retired last July after 40 years working in the insurance industry in Ireland.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times