Given Hong Kong's history as a major trading post of the British Empire, it is hardly surprising that British companies, many of which would become part of the Aviva Group, played a central role in the territory's insurance industry.
On May 3, the Northern Assurance Company, later part of the Commercial Union Assurance Company, appoints Turner & Co as agent for Hong Kong.
On January 24, the Northern appoints Dr Harland as medical examiner for its life insurance business in Hong Kong.
On August 25, the North British & Mercantile Insurance Company, later part of Commercial Union, appoints Gilman & Co as agent for Hong Kong.
On April 17, Commercial Union appoints Ellisen & Co and The Borneo Company as fire and marine agents for Hong Kong.
The Norwich Union Fire Insurance Society also appoints The Borneo Company as agents for Hong Kong.
On February 28, Norwich Union Fire writes to its Hong Kong agent, Mr H W Wood of The Borneo Company, to advise that he has exceeded the maximum amount of cover allowed under his power of attorney.
On January 29, Commercial Union appoints the North China Insurance Company as marine agent for Hong Kong.
On August 6, Norwich Union Fire appoints Messrs Birley & Co as agent for Hong Kong.
In March, the South British Insurance Company, later part of General Accident Fire & Life Assurance Corporation Ltd, appoints George R. Steven & Co as agent for Hong Kong.
On October 27, the Scottish Union and National Insurance Company, later part of Norwich Union, appoints Hesse & Co as agent for Hong Kong.
South British appoints Russell & Co as agent for Hong Kong. On September 3, Norwich Union Fire Hong Kong agent, Messrs Birley & Co, is renamed Birley, Dalrymple & Co.
South British appoints Alexander Levy as agent for Hong Kong.
South British establishes an Eastern branch. The office is based in Hong Kong, under the management of Mr H F Wagstaff and controls the company’s agencies in China, Japan, the Philippines, French Indochina, Singapore and Java.
On July 24, the Yorkshire Insurance Company, later part of General Accident, appoints Messrs Reuter Brocklemann as agent for Hong Kong.
The South British Eastern branch is transferred to India. The company appoints George R Stevens & Co as new agent for Hong Kong.
South British replaces George R Stevens & Co with a new firm, S J David & Co, reporting to the company’s Calcutta branch.
Commercial Union acquires Straits Fire Insurance Company of Singapore, whose manager in Hong Kong, Mr W Macbean, earns an annual salary of $2,000.
Commercial Union centralises its South China activities in Hong Kong. The new office covers agents for Amoy, Canton, Macao, Formosa, Foochow and Swatow. The company’s Hong Kong agency, under Messrs Stolterfoht & Hirst, continues under the new Hong Kong sub branch.
On February 22, Stolterfoht & Hirst changes its name to Stolterfoht & Hagen.
On January 20, Scottish Union and National appoints Messrs Gibb & Livingston as agent for Hong Kong.
Norwich Union Fire appoints David Sasson & Co as agent for Hong Kong.
The Commercial Union sub branch in Hong Kong acquires full branch status.
On March 27, Scottish Union and National replaces Gibb & Livingston with new agent, William Meyerink & Co.
General Accident opens an agency for Hong Kong. The new agency reports to the company’s Shanghai manager, Mr Seaman.
On July 29, the Ocean Accident & Guarantee Corporation Ltd, later part of Commercial Union, appoints Reuter, Brockelmann & Co as agent for Hong Kong.
The Yorkshire also appoints Reuter, Brockelmann & Co as agent for Hong Kong. The agency takes the place Schuldt & Co.
Scottish Union and National appoints Arnhold Karberg & Co as agent.
The Yorkshire Insurance Company is now represented in Hong Kong by Shewan Tomes & Co and Arratoon V Apear & Co.
In November, General Accident appoints Messrs J H Backhouse as Hong Kong agents.
1941 - 1945
The Japanese capture Hong Kong in 1941. The two British staff members of the South British Hong Kong branch, Mr H V Thorne and Mr R H Wild, are interned in Stanley Camp. Local members of staff, Chan Kin Kung and Lau Chor maintain contact with the prisoners. Despite the risks to themselves, they are first to visit the pair when the Japanese surrender. Chan Kin Kung and Lau Chor are able to recover the branch records, which had been stored in the basement of the General Post Office for safety, and the branch is quickly re-established.
In October, General Accident opens a branch office in Hong Kong upon the closure of the company’s Shanghai branch. The branch is run by Mr Mackenzie and is based in Marine House, the offices of J H Backhouse, the company’s Hong Kong agent.
South British upgrades its Hong Kong office to full branch status, under Mr F S Cable. The New Zealand Insurance Company, later part of General Accident, now also has a full branch in Hong Kong, under Mr A C Ellis. Later this year, Mr Ellis leaves the company to join Alex Ross & Co, recently appointed motor insurance agent for General Accident in Hong Kong. The General Accident branch acquires an office car – an Austin 12 HP – at a cost of £500.
On December 7, the General Accident general manager visits the Far East and reports that “in Hong Kong business conditions are very active. Our portfolio is efficiently handled by Mr Mackenzie who is well known and well liked, I have met several of our previous connections in Shanghai and present connections in Hong Kong and Shanghai who speak highly of him.”
The General Accident manager for Hong Kong, Mr Smith, offers the Yorkshire agency to Fung Ping Fan to replace China Underwriters.
L’Abeille Reassurances, later part of Commercial Union, sets up an office in Hong Kong.
At this date General Accident owns Hong Kong Reinsurance Company Ltd. based in Hong Kong and East Point Reinsurance Company of Hong Kong.