Insurance Post

Top 20 Spotlight - 1. CGU International and 3. Norwich Union


Group Head Office 8 Surrey Street Norwich NR1 3NG Tel: 01603 622200 ...

Group Head Office

8 Surrey Street

Norwich NR1 3NG

Tel: 01603 622200



- Research commissioned by Norwich Union finds that disciplined pricing by the insurance industry could reduce premium hikes by up to 20% over a given period.

- Parent company Aviva promises improved targets for its worldwide general insurance business, claiming profits from the recently acquired RAC will reach £250m by 2008, and for the group to meet or beat a combined operating ratio of 98%.

- NU promises further acquisitions in the occupational health market, after buying Private Health Care.


- Becomes a capacity provider for underwriting agency Fusion following its acquisition by Towergate.


- Decides not to drop RAC's personal injury arm following a review but looks to reduce its legal panel down from 22 claimant lawyer firms.


- Intermediary business director George Berrie steps down from the post after only nine months in the role. John Kitson, formerly consumer director, takes over Mr Berrie's duties, with David McMillan, who was partnerships director, taking Mr Kitson's role.

- NU general insurance finance director Fernley Dyson becomes financial management director and is replaced by Scott Egan. David Bruce becomes the director of RAC insurance operations.

- Announces restructure of its support services aimed at realigning its IT, properties and facilities management teams.

- Aviva brings GI and life businesses together under one group board director. Patrick Snowball becomes group executive director of Aviva UK.

- Secures a five-year contract with the Post Office, which will see it act as lead insurer for motor and home products.


- Court of Appeal ruling banishes compensation payments for pleural plaques, following a challenge from NU and Zurich.

MARCH 2006

- Company changes its senior management team. Mark Hodges, MD of NUI, becomes NU Life's chief executive. Simon Machell, currently MD of RAC, becomes chief executive of NUI, while retaining overall responsibility for RAC.

- Analysts warn its parent Aviva's failed bid for Prudential could expose it to takeover.

- Reallocates the underwriting responsibility of its directors' and officers' and employee dishonesty covers to its 42 regional offices.

- Releases its financial results for 2005, which show a £400m increase in UK net written premiums, with operating profits up by £177m.

- Unveils plans to extend its pay-as-you-drive pilot to 100,000 cars by the end of 2006.

APRIL 2006

- Extends its commitment to UK Athletics until the end of 2012 in a sponsorship deal worth nearly £50m.

JULY 2006

- Announces plans to close its customer service centre in Liverpool by the end of October, resulting in up to 321 redundancies.

- CEO Simon Machell claims that internet discounts could harm the motor insurance market in the long run (Post, 13 July, p15).


- Reveals that its GI and health operating profit increased to £555m (2005: £431m) in the UK for the first half of 2006.

- Expands its pay-as-you-drive pilot, with Intec Telecom Systems providing itemised monthly bills.

- Teams up with to launch an online insurance centre for its customers.

- Increases personal motor premiums by up to one-third.

- Pulls out of Money Supermarket in order to stem losses.


- Parent Aviva announces plans to cut 4000 jobs, including outsourcing 1000 jobs to India, to save £250m.

- Warns that UK businesses need to be extra vigilant about risk management for migrant staff.

- Raises fleet rates by 6% as part of year-on-year plan to keep premiums raising with inflation.


UK GWP: £5.83bn

UK pre-tax profit: £970m (operating profit)

Regional offices (UK): 52

Worldwide offices: None

Key personnel: Patrick Snowball, executive chairman, Norwich Union; Simon Machell, chief executive, Norwich Union Insurance; and John Kitson, intermediary business director

Main business lines: Household, motor, commercial, travel, creditor, pet and roadside assistance

Employees (UK): 23,346

Recent sales/acquisitions: UK General Insurance: sold manufacturer support services and lex vehicle leasing divisions of RAC. Outside UK General Insurance: In January, Hibernian Life Holdings acquired all the shares of Ark Life Assurance Company from Allied Irish Banks. In Feburary, the Group acquired a 51% interest in Eagle Insurance. In July, the group acquired Amerus Group

Major shareholders: In Aviva, they are Barclays and Legal and General Group

Agency base: 12,000

Direct arm: Norwich Union Direct

Year established: 1797

Source: Norwich Union.

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