About the archive
When the combined Commercial Union, General Accident, and Norwich Union archive was established in 2000 it was considered by an independent insurance heritage expert to be the most important insurance archive in the United Kingdom. Read more about the Archive below, or why not visit our blog?
The Archive includes records for over 750 companies, highlighting changes in business strategy and practice as well as social and economic attitudes over a period of more than 300 years; they reflect the wide geographical spread of our business over time and the broad range of products offered by our constituent companies.
We hold statutory records, minute books, annual reports, returns to the board of trade, registers of directors and secretaries, share registers, registers of transfer, financial records, journals, ledgers, cash books, balance papers, valuation books, policies, promotional material, photographs, staff records and more.
The records cover all our major constituents: General Accident, Commercial Union, Norwich Union, Yorkshire, Northern, North British & Mercantile, Scottish Union and National, as well as hundreds of our smaller constituents from all around the world.
On this site you can get a glimpse of the wealth and depth of information that we have. For specific enquiries please contact our archive team, who will be happy to assist you.
Donations of material
The archive exists to preserve and make available historical material relating to companies within the Aviva group. By collecting and cataloguing material relating to the various constituent companies we create an important and unique resource for Aviva staff and customers. This resource tells the story of hundreds of companies, the majority of which have no published histories. It also chronicles the development of the insurance industry over the last 300 years. As well as this collection, we have received many valuable contributions from past and present employees, the general public, and policyholders.
If you have something you think would be of interest to the Archive, please contact us.
You can read more about our work, assembling the huge array of materials into a logical and useful collection, in the archive blog.
Who is the archive for?
The depth and diversity of the information contained within the archive means that it has wide-ranging appeal for:
Local, family, and social historians
Many documents containing information of interest to historians have been retained. Of particular interest to family historians are staff records and early customer records, some of which give information on dates of birth and addresses of 19th century policy holders.
For local historians the records, particularly of the provincial and Scottish based companies, show the development of the local economy and include information on local dignitaries and the local customer base.
The collections also record the changing world in which the companies operated, reflecting every aspect of social, political, and economic history.
Stories of war time heroism are included alongside disasters that shaped changes in laws and attitudes, references to events such as royal weddings, and the gold rush. The accident branch of insurance in particular was constantly evolving to offer the cover customers required and reflects technological developments, such as the introduction of television and nuclear power.
Business and economic historians
The archive charts the development of the insurance industry over the past 300 years. The large number of companies represented also allows enormous scope for comparative studies on how different organisations grew and how they operated.
Tracing old policies
The Aviva Group is made up of a vast number of companies from around the world that have been acquired and merged together over time. Many policy documents still exist under the names of companies that no longer exist in their own right.
If you are trying to trace an old insurance policy from one of our constituent companies, this website provides a wealth of information on the background of many of these companies and their incorporation into the Aviva Group.
Aviva Group employees
The archive reflects the way in which past members of staff have shaped the company we run today. As a group we are heir to the oldest mutual life insurer, one of the oldest fire insurers, the first company to issue a burglary policy, and the first and only insurance company to hold a royal warrant. The Aviva Group Archive is a resource for employees past and present to learn about the company’s heritage and to find out more about how the business has changed and developed to become the company it is today.