Aviva Insurance Limited

Company Number: SC002116
Date of Incorporation: 23 February 1891
Contact Details: Pitheavlis, Perth, PH2 0NH
Operating Details: Active (Private Limited Company)
Other names (if known): General Accident Assurance Corporation Ltd (1891-1906) General Accident Fire and Life Insurance Corporation Limited Company (1906-1999), CGU Insurance PLC (1999-2006)
Function of Company*: Non Life insurance (6603)
Headquarters/Base of Operations Location: Perth and London
Area of Operation: Widespread in the UK by 1901. Offices and branches across the globe by the 1930s.

*Taken from Standard Industrial Classification 2003, as used by Companies House in 2010


Held By: Aviva Group Archives, Surrey House, Norwich GB 2070

Scope/type: The Aviva archive contains records relating to the running of Aviva Insurance between 1891 and 2002. The collection includes annual reports and accounts, board of trade returns, revenue account books, board minutes, local board minutes, general meeting minutes, committee minutes, memoranda and articles of association, certificates of incorporation, correspondence, agency files, cancelled policies, specimen policies, claim books, expense books, general ledgers, seal registers, share transfer registers, circulars to staff, salary books, social club files, staff magazines, registers of directors, subsidiary acquisition files, home and foreign rate books, advertisements, branded promotional material, sponsorship files, press cuttings, agency plaques and signs, proposal forms, photographs, posters and prospectuses.

Conditions governing access/use: Access is by appointment only, and at the discretion of the group archivist. Access to customer records less than 100 years old and company records less than 30 years old is closed except in very special circumstances. Access will only be granted on the understanding that the reader is engaged in bona fide historical research, and that the information extracted will not be used against the company or go beyond the agreed subject of research. For further information on specific searchroom rules please see http://www.aviva.com/about-us/heritage/our-archive/access-policy/

Related records:

Company History

Following the acquisition of General Accident and Employers' Liability, the company was initially offering accident, employers' liability, sickness, fidelity guarantee and burglary insurance. In 1895, the company established the Scottish General Fire Assurance Corporation Ltd to offer fire insurance, and a year later had extended its business to include motor insurance.

The company was a pioneer in the motor insurance business. According to board minutes from November 2 1896,
"The Manager reported he was about to issue a prospectus to insure motor cars at a premium of £2 per cent, with a varying charge of £1 10s 0d to £2 10s 0d per vehicle".
While neither the records of General Accident nor those of other claimants to the title "first" motor insurer contain evidence of actual policies issued at this date, it is not an exaggeration to claim that the company was among the first insurers to offer motor cover.

Over the following years, the company continued to grow. In 1898, it established a cycle insurance department and, in 1900, amalgamated Scottish General Fire and began to offer fire insurance. By 1902, the company was offering fire insurance overseas and had extended its business to include marine insurance. A year later, it introduced a scheme to take monthly payments for sickness and accident insurance, making this type of insurance more attractive to the working classes.
On March 2 1906, the company changed its name to the General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation Ltd. In the same year, it began conducting life insurance while livestock insurance was added in 1907 along with plate glass insurance in 1909 and engineering insurance in 1920.

Between 1924 and 1925, the company established a working relationship with Morris Motors Ltd, whereby every Morris car sold in Britain was insured by General Accident for its first year, with Morris paying the discounted premiums. The deal immediately took the company into virtually every major city and town in the country and led to a significant increase in business, much of it spin-offs from motor insurance. While considerably expensive in terms of claims payments its publicity value was regarded as "incalculably great".

During the 1980s, the company diversified and built up a countrywide network of estate agencies and, following the acquisition of the NZI Corporation Ltd and its subsidiary Arbuthnot Latham Bank, entered the world of merchant banking. On March 4 1982, the company was renamed the General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation plc.

On February 25 1998, the holding company General Accident plc announced a merger with Commercial Union plc and, on October 1 1999, the company changed its name to CGU Insurance plc and became a subsidiary of the new holding company CGU plc. On February 21 2000, CGU plc merged with Norwich Union plc to form CGNU plc, which was re-branded in July 2002 as Aviva plc. Finally, on September 1 2006, CGU Insurance plc changed its name to Aviva Insurance Ltd.

Information taken from the Aviva page on this company (see link above). Thanks and acknowledgments to Anna Stone, Company Archivist at Aviva for her assistance with this project