Discover the remarkable history of Aviva Group companies in Russia, including the fascinating story of Charles Arthur Bignold's favourite fur coat.
On May 30, the Northern Assurance Company, later part of the Commercial Union Assurance Company, appoints William Miller & Co agent for St. Petersburg.
On March 19, William Miller & Co writes the Northern’s first recorded life policy in Russia. The policy is for Mr J M Conochie who insures his life for £1,000.
On February 17, the Northern’s first recorded fire losses under William Miller & Co are for Sarapta Community and Mr S V Morosoff.
In December, the board of the Mercantile Fire, later part of Commercial Union via North British & Mercantile, receives correspondence from Mr Ralli about the possibility of opening agencies in St Petersburg and Odessa.
On February 2, the Northern appoints Dr J H Cautzler to replace Dr Rogers as the company’s medical advisor in St Petersburg. On February 17, Mercantile Fire appoints Mr E H Brandt as agent for St Petersburg. On June 16, the company appoints Mr Kanner agent for Odessa. The first reported fire loss from the St Petersburg agency is recorded on October 27. The figure is £3 5s 3d. Later in the year, the company merges with the North British Fire Office to become the North British & Mercantile Insurance Company.
In December, Mr O Trithen applies to Commercial Union for its agency in Odessa but the company declines.
On July 5, Commercial Union appoints Mr Huhn of the St Petersburg Company as sub-agent for Russia, under the management of Messrs Brauer and Heckscher. The company records premiums in Russia worth £7,250.
On April 24, North British & Mercantile closes its Odessa agency. On May 2, Messrs Mitacherling write to the Norwich Union Fire Insurance Society to apply for an agency in St Petersburg. The company’s reply states that it cannot transact business in the city under its deed of settlement.
On May 24, Robert Kroug replaces William Miller & Co as The Northern fire and life agent for the Russian Empire (except Finland). The agency still continues to act as agent for The Northern’s life business.
By September 1, Commercial Union has begun operations in Russia under the agency of Martin Heckscher. The North British and Mercantile agency in Russia appoints sub agents for St Nicholas and Cordova.
On April 21, Norwich Union Fire appoints Mr Pohl as agent for Russia and Germany. By December 3, Mr Pohl has arranged reinsurance treaties with the First Russian Company and The Northern.
By June 2, the London manager of the Azienda, Mr Spiller, recommends Richard David Koehler, former representative of the Scottish Commercial Company, to Norwich Union Fire as a potential agent in Russia. His appointment is confirmed on July 26. In November, Norwich Union Fire opens a bank account with the Russian Bank of Foreign Trade.
By this date, Norwich Union Fire has agreed reinsurance treaties with the St Petersburg and 2nd Russian Company.
In March, the Norwich Union Fire agent for Russia visits Norwich. The company agrees new treaties with the Rossija and Jakor companies.
The Lion Fire Insurance Company, later part of the General Accident Fire & Life Assurance Corporation, commences business in Russia.
The Palatine Insurance Company, later part of Commercial Union, appoints an agent in Russia.
On January 1, Commercial Union agrees a new fire insurance contract with Nordische of Moscow. The company is now represented in St Petersburg by Mund, Fester & Heckscher. On July 29, the Norwich Union agent for Russia makes an inspection visit to Rybinsk (Andropov) at a cost to the company of £60. On December 18, Richard Brandt, agent for North British & Mercantile in St Petersburg, retires. The South British Insurance Company, later part of General Accident, is now operating in Russia.
On January 8, Mr G Bless, former assistant to Mr Brandt, is appointed agent for North British & Mercantile in St Petersburg. In December, the board of the Scottish Union and National Insurance Company, later part of Norwich Union, appoints Martin Heckscher of St Petersburg as agent to take over the business of the Queen Insurance Company in Russia. Mr Heckscher also represents the Lion Insurance Company. South British sells its Russian business to Alliance.
South British retains a branch in Vladivostok.
All the British offices suffer reduced premium income following the establishment of the Russian Reinsurance Company by the Russian government. The combined German and Russia business of Scottish Union and National shows a surplus of £21,007 for the previous five years. Northern Assurance appoints Ludwig Kroug agent for St Petersburg.
On May 28, Martin Heckscher dies and Scottish Union and National appoints a new agent, Johann Christian Fredrich Drogmoller. To mark the company’s centenary, Norwich Union Fire is presented with a silver votive shield by its agent, Mr Koehler. Mr Koehler also attends the centenary celebrations in Norwich and, in appreciation of the reception he receives, sends a gift of sables to Charles Arthur Bignold and his wife. Some of the furs go in to the lining, collar and cuffs of a great coat for Mr Bignold, who is so pleased with the gift that he wears the coat on all but the warmest days. With Mr Bignold now used to being very warm, it becomes customary for one of the company clerks to go up to the boardroom an hour before he arrives to check the temperature.
General Accident has established operations in Russia through its French agent, Michel & Cie.
By June 29, Norwich Union Fire has appointed Koehler and Treublut as agent. In February, Commercial Union appoints Mund, Fester, Heckscher & Wiese as fire agent for St. Petersburg.
On September 7, the death of North British & Mercantile agent Mr Bless is recorded. On November 6, his widow applies for the agency but is declined. Mr Kiehnke is appointed agent in his place on November 23.
On July 26, North British & Mercantile makes a special grant of £50 to pay the medical costs of its St Petersburg agent.
On June 12, Scottish Union and National appoints Messrs Hollitscher, Gottlieb & Drogmoller as agent for St Petersburg.
On May 22, the Ocean Marine Insurance Company, later part of Commercial Union, appoints Mark Livowitsch Pessis of St Petersburg as an agent.
On June 29, the minutes of Norwich Union Fire board relate that “The board in recording the death on the 22nd Ult of Mr Rudolf Treublut their esteemed representative at St Petersburg, desire to express their appreciation of the great loss which the Society sustained through the decease of so able a representative and to tender their deep sympathy to Mrs Treublut and family in their sad bereavement.” The company appoints Mr W A Luhaby in his place followed, on August 30, by Wilhelm Ferdinand Augustus Kirinnis.
In February, it is proposed that the London & Lancashire Life and General Insurance Company, later part of General Accident, takes on a reinsurance contract with the Jakor Insurance company of Moscow for life business. The Northern appoints the bankers William Miller & Co as agent for St Petersburg. Commercial Union ceases trading in Russia following the revolution.
On February 25, the Norwich Union Fire agent Mr Kirimis sends a telegram to the board stating “all banks nationalised – shares annulled normal work not yet resumed impending shortly nationalisation of all insurance companies”. A further telegram on March 11 states, “in case of occupation Petrograd (St Petersburg). Salamandra removed management Moscow. Rossia to Rostov-na-donu. Operations reinsurance treaties continue during approach occupation by instructions from Moscow and Rostov-na-donu. Greater part staff remains in Petrograd. Personally together with other reinsurance agents decided to remain Petrograd since removal Moscow quite impossible owing disorganised transport, lack premises and money. Trust decision meets your approval.”
On March 4, Mr Kirimis visits Norwich. In August, Norwich Union Fire and Phoenix establish a joint committee to examine the challenges of transacting business in Russia. In October, Norwich Union transfers its business to Phoenix.
By this year Norwich Union has agreed reinsurance treaties for marine, fire and aviation with Ingosstrakh.
In July, Aviva establishes a representative office in Russia.
In March, Aviva is granted a license to sell long-term savings and protection products in Russia.
In February 2013 Blagosostoyanie, a private Russian pension fund, agrees to pay 35 million euros ($46 million) in cash for Aviva Russia.