The survival of many records from the earliest days of Aviva Group companies' involvement in Poland provides a fascinating and detailed account of the insurance business in the region during the latter part of the 19th century.
On November 29, the Northern Assurance Company, later part of the Commercial Union Assurance Company, appoints Adolphus Gradenwitz as agent and Dr Nathaus as medical representative in Warsaw (Warszawa).
By April 13, the North British & Mercantile Insurance Company, later part of Commercial Union, has begun to transact insurance business in Warsaw. Minutes from a company meeting on May 11 refer to a fire policy taken out by the Bank of Poland for £7,500. The minutes indicate that the policy is not to be renewed. Minutes of another meeting, on October 12, state that the company will decline all further business in Poland for the present. This is possibly due to uncertainties following the January uprising. However, minutes from a meeting exactly two weeks later refer to plans to establish business in Prussia, under Mr Reinach, and include costs for his travel to Danzig (Gdansk), which was then part of the Prussian Kingdom. There are further references in minutes from November 26 to the Danzig and Elblag Baltic ports. On December 28, Theodore van Waterford is appointed to the company’s Prussian agency on a starting salary of £100 per annum.
On January 4, North British & Mercantile agrees supplementary limits for Danzig. On April 4, the company agrees new instructions with its Prussian agency for Stettin (Szczecin), Danzig and Königsberg (Kaliningrad).
On September 20, Commercial Union receives a letter from Mr Zernecke applying for an agency at Danzig. The company’s reply states that in view of the attitude of the Prussian government to England at the time, the directors have no immediate intention to apply for a Prussian concession. This correspondence may explain why the only Aviva Group companies undertaking business in Poland during this period are based in Scotland.
On October 29, North British & Mercantile appoints Mr H Wawelberg as agent for Warsaw. On November 26, the company appoints Bie Bros as agent for Breslau (Wroclaw).
On July 21, North British & Mercantile appoints Mr E Neumann as general agent for Danzig.
North British & Mercantile appoints Otto Gichrauer agent for Breslau.
Commercial Union is granted official permission to transact fire insurance business in all Prussian states, including the occupied western part of Poland.
Anglo Elementar, part of Commercial Union, establishes operations in Poland through its subsidiary Silesia (formed in 1920).
On February 13, Commercial Union appoints Duncker & Company as marine agent for Danzig. North British & Mercantile maintains its operations in Danzig.
The General Accident Fire & Life Assurance Corporation has established offices in Warsaw, Breslau and Lodz.
On November 17, the Edinburgh Assurance Company, a subsidiary of Commercial Union, appoints H P Kleinschmidt & Michelson of Hundegasse 12 as agent for Danzig.
CU Poland Life is established. The company issues its first life policy in November. It also offers the first insurance investment fund in Poland.
Norwich Union is granted a licence to set up a life insurance company in Poland. The new company will be called Norwich Union Towarzystwo Ubezpieczen na Zycie SA.
Following the merger of CGU and Norwich Union to form CGNU, the Polish pensions regulator requires CGNU to sell one of its two pensions businesses, because pension operating licences in Poland are restricted to one per group. CGNU decides to dispose of Norwich Union's pensions and life businesses in Poland to Sampo, Finland's largest insurance group, and retain the CGU pensions business.
CGNU plc changes its name to Aviva plc. Strong local brands and some specialist names are retained, including Commercial Union in Poland.
Aviva announces a joint venture with Bank Zachodni WBK in Poland. The bancassurance arrangement enhances Aviva's distribution network in Poland, complementing the group’s well-established direct sales force.
The group's business in Poland is rebranded as Aviva.