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Aviva unveils profits

Insurance giant Aviva has revealed it is dealing with £60 million of claims from damage caused by the UK's floods and storms so far this year.

Despite the wide-scale disruption, the company said the figure is in line with the amount it normally sets aside for weather events in January and February.

The update came as the pensions, savings and general insurer signalled further progress in its recovery - rebounding from a loss of £2.9 billion a year ago to profits of £2.2 billion in 2013. Shares jumped 7% as chief executive Mark Wilson said Aviva was now "simpler, more focused and better managed".

Among other insurers, Direct Line Group has said it is expecting a hit of up to £110 million from the storms and floods since the start of the year.

Aviva said floods in Alberta and Toronto also cost the group £129 million last year while the December storms in the UK had a £60 million operating profit impact, although this was offset by better weather earlier in the year.

Chief executive Mark Wilson said: "Our overriding focus is to help our customers affected by the bad weather and our teams of loss adjustors, surveyors and claims experts - the largest in the UK - have been on hand seven days a week, offering advice and support."

In full-year results, Aviva said operating expenses fell 7% and the value of new business rose 13% after a drive to exit low-margin, under-performing businesses. Operating profits were 6% higher at £2 billion.

However Mr Wilson said the business was still a long way short of performing at its full potential.

He added: "I want to guard against complacency. Aviva still has issues to address. Have we made progress? Yes, some. Is it a little faster than anticipated? Probably. Have we unlocked the full potential at Aviva? Not yet."

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