Aviva scraps Norwich Union name

LONDON Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:35pm BST

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LONDON (Reuters) - Insurer Aviva (AV.L) has scrapped Norwich Union, the brand under which it operates in its home market, as it moves to a single identity it hopes will lift overseas sales, attract staff and lure new business partners.

Norwich Union, Britain's largest general insurer and a top player in the life market, is one of the country's best-known financial services brands, but Aviva's Chief Executive Andrew Moss said he did not expect the name change to hit sales.

Aviva was created almost a decade ago, when Norwich Union merged with insurer CGU in 2000 to create CGNU, later renamed Aviva. The Norwich Union brand, however, was retained for the UK long-term savings and general insurance business and remains a household name in Britain, far more familiar than Aviva.

Since then, however, Aviva has expanded strongly in Europe, Asia and in the United States, where it bought rival AmerUs in 2006. It now makes 60 percent of its revenue outside Britain.

"As we've become increasingly global, it is clear we need one name our customers can recognise wherever they are in the world," Moss told reporters.

He said the transition would be completed over the next two years, with Commercial Union Poland and Ireland's Hibernian also becoming Aviva. Aviva will not, however, rename roadside recovery unit RAC or Dutch business Delta Lloyd, which operates under specific corporate governance structures.

Moss declined to comment on the cost of the move, but said the group was ready to make a "significant investment". Aviva told customers that the cost of rebranding would be more than balanced by the increased effectiveness of its marketing spend, as it will be supporting only one and not several brands.

Aviva's 8 million pound-a-year sponsorship of Athletics, for example, has been under the Norwich Union brand, but using the Aviva name will widen the appeal in Asia and elsewhere.

(Reporting by Clara Ferreira-Marques, editing by Will Waterman)

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