Norwich Union name to disappear after 200 years

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The Independent Online

The Norwich Union name will disappear after more than 200 years on Monday.

The insurer, which was formed in Norwich in 1797, is being rebranded in the UK to take the name of its parent company Aviva.

Star-studded advertisements featuring Bruce Willis, Ringo Starr and Elle Macpherson have run in recent months to boost awareness of the switch, which is thought to be costing Aviva around £80m.

The exercise has required the change of 10,000 legal and policy documents, letters and leaflets, while staff ID and business cards are being replaced along with office signs, branded vehicles, stationery, telephone message systems and the company website.

Aviva remains a significant employer in Norwich, with approximately 6,500 staff serving its life and general insurance operations.

Founded by merchant and banker Thomas Bignold, the company first offered insurance against fire. In 1808 it established a second company, the Norwich Union Life Insurance Society.

Norwich Union demutualised and floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1997, turning it into a FTSE 100 Index company. A merger with CGU in 2000 meant the parent company's name became CGNU and later Aviva in 2002.

The decision to axe the Norwich Union trading name came in April 2008 as Aviva sought to emphasise the global nature of its business. Public awareness of the new name is now said to be 80 per cent following the advertising campaign.

Andrew Moss, chief executive of Aviva, said: "This is a key moment for Aviva.

"Over the past two years we have been working hard to bring Aviva businesses around the world closer together to maximise our full potential and to build the new Aviva around the needs of our customers.

"For our 54,000 staff across the world we're bringing them together as one team under a common identity and together we are totally committed to making sure our move to a global brand brings many positive changes for our customers."

Aviva's Irish business Hibernian and CU Poland will change their names in 2010.