September 2010: Jim Dowdall, CEO, Aviva Ireland

Business Person of the Month | Sat 2 Oct | Author – Business & Finance
Jim Dowdall

Despite a tough time in the insurance industry, Aviva Ireland is thriving along with the newly opened Aviva sports stadium.

Aviva Ireland has reported a €115m operating profit for the first half of 2010, a 40% increase compared to the same period last year. And with the grand opening of the new Aviva Stadium at Lansdowne road, for which the company bought the naming rights, it has certainly been a successful month for the Irish insurance giant.

Key to this continued success has been CEO Jim Dowdall, who has presided over the company at a particularly tough time in the industry.

January and February saw some of the worst weather conditions in living memory, and it is estimated that the claims that arose from the adverse weather conditions will cost Aviva upwards of €100m. These figures make Aviva’s financial performance for the first half of 2010 all the more impressive.

“Strong and sustainable growth across our portfolio allied with continued focus on cost management and efficient use of capital has contributed to a strong set of results,” said Dowdall.

Extreme conditions

“During the winter 2009/2010, we helped over 4,500 general insurance customers who were affected by extreme weather conditions and will pay claims of approximately €100m resulting from these events. Our life and pensions business has also delivered market share growth and we continue to provide our customers with-high performing funds and access to world-renowned fund managers.

“Our health insurance business now has 280,000 members and continues to outperform all other insurers in the market.”

Stadium

The official opening of the Aviva Stadium this summer confirmed the insurance company as a major player in Irish life, with the stadium estimated to contribute €125m to the Irish economy in its first year of operation, according to the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

Looking forward

Dowdall is optimistic about the future for Aviva.  He says: “Over the next six months, Aviva Ireland will continue to achieve growth by delivering new products in the protection and pensions area, by continuing to offer best value and choice across motor, home and commercial insurance and by growing both our individual and corporate customer base in the health insurance sector

“We are well placed to further strengthen our business here in Ireland and to support Aviva Europe’s strategy to become the indisputable leader in every market where we operate.”

History

A graduate of Trinity College Dublin and the Irish Management Institute, Dowdall’s previous career has included senior management positions with Marrakech plc, an e-commerce company, and as European director of operations for Amdahl corporation, a subsidiary of Fujitsu corporation which specialises in IT and software solutions.

He began his career in the financial services sector, working with Irish Life Assurance plc.

Dowdall was appointed to the position of chief executive of Aviva Group Ireland plc in December 2009. He was previously managing director of Aviva’s health business in Ireland, a role he was appointed to in November 2008 from the position of operations director for Aviva’s health business in Ireland.

Dowdall became operations director in 2004 as a founder member of the Vivas health management team.

Delivering results 

  • A 40% year-on-year increase in operating profits, despite weather conditions set to cost the company €100m in claims
  • The Aviva Stadium is set to boost the economy by €125m in its first year.

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Business & Finance, in association with MERC Partners, has been awarding excellence in business through the ‘Business Person of the Month’ award over the last number of years. These awards seek to recognise noteworthy achievements in business leadership, and particularly those that make a telling contribution to the wider business community in Ireland.