CGU plc

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CGU plc
FateMerged with Norwich Union
SuccessorAviva plc
HeadquartersLondon, UK

CGU plc was a large insurance group, created by the merger of Commercial Union and General Accident in 1998. The Company was listed on the London Stock Exchange. It merged with Norwich Union in 2000 to form CGNU plc, later renamed Aviva plc.


The Company was created by the 1998 merger of Commercial Union and General Accident.[1]

Commercial Union[edit]

Logo of the Commercial Union Assurance Company

Commercial Union was established following a conflagration in London's dockland in 1861, known as the Great Tooley Street Fire, which destroyed a number of warehouses and wharves along the River Thames as a result of which the fire insurance companies were hit by a series of massive claims. Consequently, they increased their fire insurance rates so dramatically that a group of local merchants and brokers decided to form their own company. This became known as the Commercial Union Assurance Company Ltd.[1]

It purchased the Hand in Hand Fire & Life Insurance Society, the world's oldest fire insurance company, in 1905[1] and The Ocean Accident and Guarantee Corporation Ltd. in 1910 and it continued to grow by further acquisitions.[2]

General Accident[edit]

Historic logo of the General Accident Assurance Corporation

General Accident was a financial services firm formed by several mergers and acquisitions over several years. The General Accident and Employers' Liability Assurance Association Ltd. was founded in Perth, Scotland in 1885. It became the General Accident Assurance Corporation Ltd. in 1891.[3]

General Accident acquired Yorkshire Insurance Company Ltd. in 1967. All general insurance business was relocated to Perth, with York becoming the centre for the new firm's life assurance and pensions business.[1]

General Accident acquired Stevenage-based Provident Mutual Life Assurance Association in 1995, merging it with the GA Life and Pensions business as Provident Mutual Life Assurance Ltd. York became the centre of all life assurance business and Stevenage of all pensions business.[1]

Aviva reintroduced the General Accident brand in April 2013. The new General Accident brand is aimed at customers who use car insurance price comparison sites.[4]

Norwich Union merger[edit]

The Company merged with Norwich Union in 2000 to form CGNU plc, later renamed Aviva plc.[5]

In the US, the CGU casualty and property businesses were purchased by White Mountains Insurance Group; the name of the Company has since changed to OneBeacon Insurance Company.[6]

New logo of General Accident


  1. ^ a b c d e "Events timeline". Aviva. Archived from the original on 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  2. ^ Liveing, Edward. A Century of Insurance: The Commercial Union Assurance Group 1861 - 1961. London: H F & G Witherby, 1961
  3. ^ "Aviva Insurance Ltd". Aviva. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  4. ^ Aviva launches General Accident brand Post on-line, April 2013
  5. ^ "CGU and Norwich Union merge". BBC News. 2000-02-21. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  6. ^ "CGU Changes Name to OneBeacon Insurance". Insurance Journal. 2001-06-11. Retrieved 2010-11-02.