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The Irish Times Business Person of the Month: Declan O’Rourke, Aviva Ireland

Insurer announced in April that it would re-enter the Irish private health insurance market later this year

Declan O’Rourke, chief executive of Aviva Insurance Ireland, has been chosen as The Irish Times Business Person of the Month for April, an award run in association with Bank of Ireland.

During the month, Aviva announced that it was getting back into the Irish private health insurance market some eight years after exiting. It plans to launch a joint venture with a group of executives, including the insurer’s former CEO Jim Dowdall, and one-time head of State-owned VHI, Oliver Tattan.

The new venture is expected to commence selling health insurance products in the second half of 2024, subject to regulatory approvals. Brokers welcomed the move, suggesting that Aviva’s entry into the market was potentially good for consumers in terms of pricing and the level of innovation that might be brought to bear on products and services.

At present, there are three players offering health insurance here – VHI, Laya Healthcare (owned by French insurer Axa) and Irish Life Health.


“Aviva is delighted to support the set-up of an exciting new health insurance business in Ireland. This is great news for Irish consumers as it will provide greater choice and value,” Mr O’Rourke said at the time of the announcement.

“This investment expands Aviva’s offering in Ireland to general, life and health insurance and further demonstrates Aviva’s commitment to continue to grow in Ireland as a leading financial services provider.”