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Compensation claim figure of £726m ‘speculative’– Aviva France

Compensation claim figure of £726m ‘speculative’– Aviva France

Aviva has rejected claims that a dispute with a French customer over a life insurance contract would have an adverse effect on the FTSE 100 life insurer, a company spokesman has said.

He said: “Aviva France strongly contests this compensation claim and believes that the court will rule against the speculative and excessive compensation levels being sought.”

The dispute related to a fixed price arbitrage life insurance contract owned by Max-Hervé George, given to him by his father when he was seven.

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The brainchild of L’Abeille Vie, which was acquired by Aviva France in 2002, the insurance contract gave him the ability to invest in the financial markets with hindsight.

Aviva is challenging the contract in a French appeal court. If the company were to lose the case it would be liable for around £726m – a sum Aviva said was speculative and without foundation – in five years.

Background

The fixed price arbitrage life insurance contract allowed Max-Hervé George to re-allocate his investments into different funds each Friday. He was able to switch the funds before the next week’s prices had been published, irrespective of market fluctuations, allowing him to invest at last week’s prices knowing what was going to happen in the future. Between 1997 and 2007, his family allegedly earned annual returns of 68.8 per cent.