Aviva plc /ˈævɪvə/ is a British multinational insurance company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It has around 33 million customers across 16 countries. In the UK, Aviva is the largest general insurer and a leading life and pensions provider. In addition, Aviva has a focus on five markets in Europe and, in Asia, the company is focused on the growth markets of China and South East Asia. Aviva is also the second largest general insurer in Canada.
Aviva has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
The name of the company upon its formation in May 2000 was CGNU plc. In April 2002 the company's shareholders voted to change the company name to "Aviva plc", an invented word derived from "viva", the Latin for 'alive' and designed to be short, memorable and work worldwide. In April 2008 Aviva announced that it would adopt the "Aviva" name as its worldwide consumer-facing brand, and that the Norwich Union brand would be phased out in the United Kingdom.
Aviva can trace its history back to the establishment of the Hand in Hand Fire & Life Insurance Society in London in 1696.
It was created by a merger of two British insurance firms, Norwich Union and CGU plc (itself created by the 1998 merger of Commercial Union and General Accident) as CGNU in 2000. The Aviva name was adopted in July 2002. Thereafter, most of the group operations, except for some strong local brands, were carried out under the uniform brand "Aviva".
During March 2005 Aviva acquired the RAC plc breakdown recovery operation for around £1.1 billion.
In July 2006, Aviva greatly increased its presence in the United States by acquiring AmerUs Group, a Des Moines-based financial services company founded in 1896 in a $2.9 billion (£1.6 billion) deal. AmerUs Group was rebranded as Aviva USA when the acquisition was completed.
The Company continued to use the Norwich Union name as a trading name in the UK until 1 June 2009 when it became formally known as Aviva within the United Kingdom. The launch was supported by a £9 million advertising campaign to promote the rebranding (one of the most expensive ever in the UK insurance field), with the participation of celebrities including Bruce Willis and Alice Cooper.
In June 2009 the Company decided to dispose of Navigator, its Australian wealth management business, to National Australia Bank for A$825 million (£401 million).
In October 2009 the company decided to focus on its commercial insurance sector and demonstrate its commitment to brokers by launching their 'find a broker' facility, using the British Insurance Brokers Association search engine. To help them with this endeavour, Paul Whitehouse was recruited to play the part of a successful hairdresser running three salons. The message of the campaign focused on business insurance through insurance brokers. The closing line of the campaign was "We're in business to keep you in business".
In September 2011, Aviva completed the sale of RAC plc breakdown recovery operation for £1.0 billion to The Carlyle Group.
In February 2012, Aviva sold its occupational health business to the British support services company Capita.
In July 2012, Aviva announced plans to sell or close 16 non-core businesses in order to simplify its activities and boost shareholder returns. As part of the plans Aviva announced the sale of its operations in South Korea and the closure to new business of its bulk-buying annuity unit in the United Kingdom.
In August 2012, Aviva announced that up to 800 jobs would be lost following a reorganization caused by further turmoil in the Eurozone.
In December 2012, Aviva agreed to sell Aviva USA Corporation to Athene Holding for US$1.8 billion (£1.1 billion) as part of a plan to improve shareholder returns and reduce the group's capital requirements. Athene subsequently sold the life insurance business of Aviva to Global Atlantic.
On 13 April 2015, Aviva completed the £5.6 billion all-share takeover of Friends Life Group. Andy Briggs, current group chief executive of Friends Life, became CEO of Aviva UK Life, with Mark Wilson continuing as CEO of the enlarged Aviva Group.
In July 2016, Aviva froze withdrawals from the Aviva Investors Property Trust after announcing a lack of liquidity.
Aviva's main activities are the provision of general and life insurance, long-term savings products and fund management services. The group has around 29,600 employees, 33 million customers and Aviva Investors has £289.9 billion assets under management.United Kingdom
Aviva Life – Pensions, investments, life insurance and long term savings (formerly Norwich Union)
Aviva Insurance – General Insurance
Aviva Investors – Fund Management (formerly Morley)
Canada – Aviva Canada
China – Aviva-Cofco
France – Aviva France
India – Aviva India
Italy – Aviva Italia Holding S.p.A.
Poland – Aviva
Taiwan – First Aviva (in traditional Chinese)
Turkey - AvivaSA Emeklilik
Following the completion of Friends Life Group Limited in April 2015, Friends Provident International Limited is now part of the Aviva Group.
CEO Richard Harvey retired on 11 July 2007. His successor was Andrew Moss, the former group finance director. Moss was paid an annual base salary of £925,000 for his role as Chief Executive. Moss resigned on 8 May 2012 after shareholders voted down a proposed senior management pay deal which would have seen Moss increase his basic pay by 5% despite several years of Aviva underperformance. John McFarlane was appointed to the board of Aviva plc in September 2011. Following the departure of Aviva’s CEO, Andrew Moss, McFarlane assumed the role of executive deputy chairman and became executive chairman on 1 July 2012. On 20 November 2012, Aviva announced that Mark Wilson had been appointed CEO, starting 1 January 2013. On 12 September 2014 Aviva announced that Sir Adrian Montague would become non-executive chairman on the retirement of John McFarlane at the Aviva AGM in April 2015.
In May 2008 Aviva became Norwich City Football Club's main sponsor. In a 2009 television advert starring Paul Whitehouse they feature a Plymouth Argyle F.C. fan who uses Aviva car insurance followed by a Green Army chant. It also acquired the naming rights for the redeveloped Lansdowne Road stadium in Dublin, Ireland, and will now be called the Aviva Stadium.
In 2010, Aviva also took over sponsorship of rugby union's English Premiership from Guinness. The initial four-year sponsorship deal saw £20 million invested into club Rugby. In July 2013, Aviva extended its title sponsorship of the Premiership until July 2017.