Traditionalists will be saddened to
learn that two of Europe’s oldest and best-known insurance brand
names, Norwich Union and Hibernian, are to disappear.

Both wholly-owned subsidiaries of UK insurer Aviva, their names
are to be changed to Aviva within two years in the final phase of
the company’s move to a single worldwide brand.

Explaining the rationale for the unified branding, Aviva group
chief executive, Andrew Moss said: “By investing in a single name,
we will amplify the global impact of our advertising and
sponsorship spend. Being a well-known international brand also
opens doors when entering new markets and establishing partnerships
with other global players, as we already do in

In addition to UK-based Norwich Union and Irish-based Hibernian,
Aviva’s Polish unit Commercial Union Poland will also be rebranded
under the Aviva banner. The rebranding will complete a process that
began in 2000 when Norwich Union and another UK insurer CGNU merged
under the CGNU name. CGNU was itself the product of a merger
between insurers Commercial Union and General Accident in 1998. The
name Aviva was first adopted in July 2002.

The Norwich Union brand dates back to 1797 when the insurer was
founded as Norwich Union Society for the Insurance of Houses, Stock
and Merchandise from Fire. Hiberian dates back to 1816 when Norwich
Union established it first office in Ireland, Hibernian Life &
Pensions. The name Commercial Union came into being in 1861.

Aviva’s united insurance brand strategy is also being applied in
its asset management units. In March Aviva announced it was to
consolidate its asset management units in 15 countries into a
single new unit Aviva Investors managing total assets of about $620
billion. The integration is due for completion in September

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By GlobalData

The overall strategy forms part of an initiative, “One Aviva, twice
the value”, unveiled in October 2007 by Moss who was appointed to
his present role in July 2007. Formerly Aviva’s group financial
director, Moss’s appointment followed the surprise resignation of
Richard Harvey.

Moss’s brand unification move has undoubted merit. The world’s
fifth largest insurer, the group already trades as Aviva in about
20 countries in Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific region
and generates almost two thirds of its new business outside the

In 2007 Aviva reported total new business sales growth of 25
percent to £38.58 billion ($76 billion) of which the UK accounted
for £14.41 billion or 37.3 percent. Notably, in Aviva’s first year
of existence in 2000 the then CGNU reported total new business
sales of £14.85 billion of which £8.55 billion (57.6 percent) were
generated in the UK. In 2007 Aviva’s life and pensions sales
totalled £31.6 billion, or 82 percent of all new business.

However, despite Aviva’s success in achieving international
diversification, Moss believes that the brand unification is vital.
“Creating a brand that is known across the globe is an important
step in being recognised as a worldwide force in financial services
and an important milestone in delivering our One Aviva, twice the
value vision,” said Moss.

Moss has set out bold targets in what he has termed a period of
transformation for Aviva. The most significant targets

 • Deliver annualised cost savings of £350 million by the
end of 2009 in addition to annualised cost savings of £250 million
targeted for 2008,

• To grow long-term savings new business sales in Europe by an
average of at least 10 percent a year to 2010, while growing new
business profit at least as fast, 

• To double the volume of US life new business sales within
three years while maintaining margins,

• To grow long-term savings new business sales in the Asia
Pacific region by an average of at least 20 percent a year to 2010,

 • To grow long-term UK savings new business sales at
least as fast as the market, while at least maintaining

In the first quarter of 2008 Aviva reported life and pension sales
of £8.17 billion, up 5 percent compared with the first quarter of

Investment sales fell 14 percent to £1.23 billion.