Viva Aviva CGNU’s Shareholders Approve Name Change

April 24, 2002

CGNU’s Directors succeeded in getting shareholder approval for their plan to rename the venerable insurer Aviva, as of July 1, despite some opposition and the opinions of some analysts (and editors) that the new name was silly and unnecessary.(See IJ Website April 23)

In the end the proposal received the approval of 96 percent of the shareholders, mostly insitutional investors, who voted at the company’s annual general meeting yesterday. So CGNU, which actually incorporates the names of the three main companies from which it was formed – Commercial Union, General Accident and Norwich Union – will become Aviva.

The directors also received approval to increase their compensation, and to reduce CGNU’s, er’ Aviva’s, dividend by 40 percent in order to fund the growth of its life insurance operations.

Some divisions will escape being totally rebranded. Norwich Union will survive in the U.K. as “an Aviva company”, as will Hibernian in Ireland. This puts the soon to be former CGNU in the somewhat contradictory position of having both one of the oldest – Hibernia was the Roman name for Ireland – and the newest name in the insurance industry.

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