GWP less treaty: £6bn

Norwich Union Insurance


Surrey Street, Norwich, Norfolk NR1 3NS

t: 01603 622 200

f: 01603 683 659


w:, -
Year established: 1797

Major shareholders: Wholly-owned by Aviva

Number of UK offices: 46

Number of UK employees (2003): 13,000

Main lines of business: Household, motor, commercial, travel, creditor, pet

Company history:

Norwich Union was founded in Norwich over 200 years ago by Thomas Bignold, a 36-year-old wine merchant and banker. Bignold had been unable to find anyone willing to insure him against the threat from highwaymen. With entrepreneurial thought that nothing was impossible, and aware that in a city built largely of wood the threat of fire was uppermost in people's minds. Bignold formed the Norwich Union Society for the Insurance of Houses, Stock and Merchandise from Fire.

In its bicentenary, Norwich Union demutualised and floated as a public company on the London Stock Exchange, transforming itself into a FTSE 100 company. The £2.4bn raised in the share offer was the largest sum ever raised in a British private sector flotation.

In 2000, Norwich Union merged with CGU to create CGNU plc. The Norwich Union name was retained for the long-term savings and general insurance businesses in the UK.

Chief officer: Patrick Snowball

Biography: Appointed to the Aviva board in March 2001 as chief executive of Norwich Union Insurance. He was previously a director of Norwich Union, appointed in October 1999, having joined the company in 1989.