UPDATE 1-Aviva to re-enter Asia general insurance market

* Aviva makes foray into Asia general insurance after 5 yrs

* Move comes after expiry of non-compete deal

* Financial centre Singapore to be first market
(Updates with company confirmation)

By Kevin Lim and Myles Neligan

SINGAPORE/LONDON, April 9 (BestGrowthStock) – Aviva (AV.L: ),
Britain’s No.2 insurer, said on Friday it will re-enter the
Asian general insurance market five years after selling its
non-life operations there, with Singapore becoming its first
market in the region.

European and U.S. insurers are keen to expand their
presence in Asia, seen as one of the world’s fastest-growing
financial services markets, thanks to rising household incomes
on the back of strong economic growth.

“Our entry into Singapore marks the first step in our plan
to penetrate the rapidly expanding general insurance market in
Asia,” Simon Machel, CEO of Aviva Asia Pacific, said in a
statement confirming an earlier Reuters story.

Aviva quit the Asian general insurance market in 2005 when
it sold its non-life operations in the region to Japan’s Mitsui
Sumitomo Insurance for $450 million.

The British insurer’s decision to launch a new Asian
general insurance business comes after a non-compete agreement
with Mitsui Sumitomo expired earlier this year.

“The company will quickly increase its portfolio of
products to include home and travel insurance,” Aviva said.
Machel declined to name the next countries the firm would
expand into.

Prudential (PRU.L: ), Britain’s biggest insurer effectively
staked its future in the region with a $35.5 billion bid for
the Asian operations of bailed out U.S. insurer AIG (AIG.N: ), in
what would be the insurance sector’s biggest ever takeover.

Stock Market Investing

(Additional reporting by Harry Suhartono in Singapore; Editing
by Lincoln Feast)

UPDATE 1-Aviva to re-enter Asia general insurance market