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June 30, 2006 at 15:02 PM EDT
BestWeek: Amid Drive for International Markets, Aviva Targets Russia's Potential

London-based multiline insurer Aviva plc has its sights set on the world's developing markets, a strategy evident so far this year with publicized pushes into a number of countries where the insurance potential is considered promising, if still under-developed, according to an article in the July 3 BestWeek.

Since the beginning of the year, Aviva has reorganized its board responsibilities, separating operations into U.K. and international segments, rather than the old split between life and nonlife activities. In June, Aviva said it began writing life insurance in Russia, just three months after gaining a license. Aviva plans to gain a spot among the country's top five life insurers within five years, as Russia heads toward accession to the World Trade Organization, said Grant Barrans, director of Aviva Life International.

Also in this week's BestWeek, many are calling for changes to the National Flood Insurance Program, such as increasing maximum coverage limits, mandating stricter building codes and compliance, and the inclusion of additional living expenses, according to a survey by Best's Review.

Results of the survey appear in the July 2006 issue of the magazine. More than two-thirds of the respondents said they were from insurance companies or agencies, brokerages or adviser organizations.

Also featured is Best's Insurance Composite Index, which finished the week of June 29, 2006 at 1,094.15, up 5.78% from a year ago. The composite index reflects the performance of 133 insurance stocks. The week's top performers were National Interstate Corp.; Republic Cos. Group; Navigators. The week's bottom performers were Aetna; Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.; Scottish Re Group; Aspen Insurance Holdings and United America Indemnity. BestWeek is published by A.M. Best Co. for insurance professionals.

To subscribe to BestWeek, please call A.M. Best's customer service department at (908) 439-2200, ext. 5742, or e-mail your request to

A.M. Best Co., established in 1899, is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit A.M. Best's Web site at

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