About the archive
When the combined Commercial Union, General Accident, and Norwich Union archive was established in 2000 it was considered by an independent 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; the collection reflects the wide geographical spread of our business over time and the broad range of products offered by Aviva's historical constituents.
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, the Yorkshire, Northern, North British & Mercantile, Scottish Union and National, as well as hundreds of smaller companies from all over the world.
Discover more in the Our History section of this website, which includes company profiles and details of individual holdings.
The Archive exists to preserve and make available historical material pertaining to all companies within the Aviva group. The collection represents an important and unique resource for both staff and customers, telling 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. If you have something that you think would be of interest to the Archive we would love to hear from you: contact us.
Who are we for?
We welcome enquiries from all. Our collections may be of particular interest to:
Local, family, and social historians
Of specific 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 show the development of regional economies and include information on local dignitaries and the local customer base; the records of provincial and Scottish based companies are likely to be of interest.
The collection also provides a record of the changing world in which these companies operated, reflecting every aspect of social, political, and economic history. For instance, the accident branch of insurance constantly evolved to offer the cover customers required and its development reflects technological progress, 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.
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. As such, the Archive is a valuable 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.