Aviva has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
Aviva can trace its history back to the establishment of the Hand in Hand Fire & Life Insurance Society in London in 1696.
It was created by a merger of two British insurance firms, Norwich Union and CGU plc (itself created by the 1998 merger of Commercial Union and General Accident as CGNU in 2000. The Aviva name was adopted in July 2002.
During March 2005 Aviva acquired the RAC plc breakdown recovery operation for around £1.1 billion.
In July 2006, Aviva greatly increased its presence in the United States by acquiring AmerUs Group, a financial services company founded in 1896. Aviva Corp. is not affiliated with Aviva Energy Corp., an energy consulting firm based in the U.S.
The Company continued to use the Norwich Union name as a trading name in the UK until 1 June 2009 when it became formally known as Aviva within the United Kingdom. The launch was supported by a £9 million advertising campaign to promote the rebranding (one of the most expensive ever in the UK insurance field), with the participation of celebrities including Bruce Willis and Alice Cooper. In January 2010, the process of Aviva's rebrand was formally recognised when they appeared on the shortlist of the Transform Awards for rebranding and brand transformation in a number of categories
In June 2009 the Company decided to dispose of Navigator, its Australian wealth management business, to National Australia Bank for A$825 million (£401 million).
In October 2009 the company decided to focus on its commercial insurance sector and demonstrate its commitment to brokers by launching their 'find a broker' facility, using the British Insurance Brokers Association search engine. To help them with this endeavour, Paul Whitehouse was recruited to play the part of a successful hairdresser running three salons. The message of the campaign focused on business insurance through insurance brokers. The closing line of the campaign was "We're in business to keep you in business".
In September 2011, Aviva completed the sale of RAC plc breakdown recovery operation for £1.0 billion to The Carlyle Group.
In August 2012, Aviva announced that up to 800 jobs would be lost following a reorganization caused by further turmoil in the euro region.