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UK: Brits crave soaps, fish and chips and a good laugh overseas


New research from Aviva UK Health reveals that the British sense of humour, our favourite TV shows and even our much maligned cuisine rank among the top 10 things people would miss most if they moved overseas.

The findings come from Aviva’s annual “semi-gration” study that tracks the UK population’s appetite and motivations for moving abroad. Aviva conducts the research on an annual basis to understand the challenges customers face when moving abroad.

This year’s research clearly shows that relationships are what Brits would miss most if they moved abroad, with 74%1 saying that their main worry would be leaving their friends and family behind.

The survey also suggests that British culture holds a special place in many people’s hearts, with just over two in five (43%) confessing they would miss their favourite TV shows such as Eastenders and Coronation Street. The British sense of humour also ranks highly with (39%) saying that they’d miss our wit. And, nearly two in five (38%) people admit that they would be left longing for British food and drink.

But sentiment aside, moving overseas also has more practical implications. Just over a third of people (34%) say that they’d miss the NHS if they moved abroad – an increase of nine percentage points on Aviva’s 2010 figures. More than one in four (27%) of people admit that they don’t know enough about health benefits in different countries. Moreover, nearly one in five (17%) do not know where they’d get support and advice on basic needs such as health.

Teresa Rogers, business lead for international PMI at Aviva said: “Moving abroad doesn’t come without its worries and it’s not surprising to see the NHS on the list of things people would miss. In the UK we take it for granted that we can access health advice and speak to a doctor in our own language - but this isn’t guaranteed abroad.

“While we can’t help improve the quality of TV abroad, taking out appropriate international health insurance for example, can help eliminate a number of the health-related concerns identified in our research. We can put people in touch with specialist multi-lingual support services, arrange treatment on their behalf, give them access to 24-hour support from a physician and take care of their medical bills, leaving them to dream about roast dinners rather than worrying about their health.”

The top 10 things people would miss about the UK as identified by Aviva’s research are:

Friends and family (74%)
TV (43%)
Sense of humour (39%)
Food and drink (38%)
NHS (34%)
English language (34%)
Own town/city (29%)
Own house (26%)
Sport (15%)
Nightlife (10%)


1 All statistics are from a nationwide survey of 1,000 British adults, carried out for Aviva by market researchers OnePoll. The opinion poll was hosted online at between the 31 of March and 5 April 2011 and was available to its registered members.

Notes to editors:

Aviva is the world’s sixth largest* insurance group. We provide more than 53 million customers with insurance, savings and investment products with total worldwide sales in 2010 of £47.1 billion**.

We are the UK’s largest insurer with 19 million customers and one in three households has a relationship with us. Our combination of life, health and general insurance, together with motoring services from RAC, is unique in its scale and breadth in the UK market. Customers can choose to buy our products through intermediaries, our corporate partners or from Aviva direct and we have become the partner of choice for many of the UK’s biggest organisations.

We are ranked as one of the UK’s top 10 most valuable brands and Aviva Plc are in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. In 2010 we invested £4.3m into our communities in the UK, which included 1,500 Aviva volunteers giving 24,000 hours for good causes. In addition, our employees gave £600,000 through fundraising and donating. Read our corporate responsibility report at

Aviva is working in partnership with Railway Children through the Aviva Street to School programme to get children living or working on UK streets back into everyday life. Find out more at

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* based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2009.
** at 31 December 2010.


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