About Aviva

What we do

There's more to a job than the results you achieve and the money you’re paid. At Aviva, we know that respect and recognition are just as important, and in our 300 year history, that’s something that has stayed central to our company’s evolution. Which is why you won't just find details of roles and careers on our site, you’ll learn about the size, scope and diversity of the Aviva business, the huge number of opportunities open to you and the level of support we’ll offer to help you achieve everything you want to.

Providing around 31 million customers with insurance, savings and investment products, Aviva are one of the leading providers of life and pension products in Europe and have strong businesses in selected international markets.

We combine life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand. We’re committed to serving our customers to the highest standards and building a stronger, more sustainable business – making a positive contribution to society and shaping a company that employees want to invest their talents in.

We’re here to help people, businesses and communities get back on their feet when the unexpected happens. Which is why it’s important for every one of the 30,000 people we employ to understand what our customers want and need. We’re working to provide each customer with an exceptional Aviva experience – one that they’d be happy to recommend to friends and family. In fact, we aim to be the most recommended company in our market, and the most popular employer too.

That’s because as a company, we’re just as focused on our employees as we are our customers. As well as being rewarded for their exceptional performance, our open and inclusive culture means our people are inspired to do more and encouraged to challenge the way we do things. Together, we’re building a company to be proud of.

What we do is important. It frees people from fear of uncertainty. And the bigger we get, the more vital it is that we have a positive impact on the world we operate in. That’s why we work hard to be socially responsible and to integrate sustainability into every part of our business.

This is Aviva

Life is full of the unexpected. For every twist, turn and bump in the road, Aviva is on hand to keep people and businesses financially protected. Our insurance, savings and investment products are world-class, and our passionate, professional workforce is entirely focused on delivering what our customers want. We're here to support people in the hardest times of their lives. But don't just take our word for it. Here, our customers and employees speak for themselves.

Our background


Our history stretches back to 1696 when the Hand-in-Hand was founded in Tom’s Coffee House, St Martin’s Lane, London. The world’s oldest existing fire insurance office, the Aviva Group were also the oldest mutual life insurer, the first to issue a burglary policy, and the only insurers to hold a Royal warrant. Now, 300 years later and thanks to over 650 companies, we’ve covered almost every area of insurance all over the world.

The Aviva of today was created by the merger of CGU and Norwich Union in May 2000, and was rebranded Aviva in July 2002.

Some historical highlights.



Hand-in-Hand founded

The Hand-in-Hand was established as a mutual society on 12 November 1696. Two other fire insurance offices – the Fire Office and the Friendly Society – already existed at this time but the Hand-in-Hand was the first to be established on the mutual principle.

Policyholders included dukes, lords and bishops. The Hand-in-Hand insured the house of Sir Robert Walpole – Britain's first prime minister, as well as Sir Isaac Newton, Dr Samuel Johnson and the Duke of Wellington.

It provided insurance cover for a number of notable London buildings including Guy's Hospital and the Theatre Royal. Samuel Whitbread's new brewery was insured by the society in 1750, and Lambeth Palace was insured for the Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1758, it insured the temporary London Bridge following the destruction of the previous bridge in a fire.


Norwich Union founded

Norwich Union, one of the principal companies that merged to create Aviva, was founded in Norwich, Norfolk, on 1 March 1797 as the Norwich Union Society for Insuring of Buildings, Goods, Merchandizes & Effects from Loss by Fire.

Its founder, Thomas Bignold, was a 36-year-old wine merchant and banker. Having moved from Kent to Norfolk, he had been unable to find anyone to insure him against the threat from highwaymen who robbed travellers. He was also aware that in a city built largely of wood, the threat of fire was probable. Bignold turned these observations into a business opportunity.

Norwich Union later became known as the Norwich Union Fire Insurance Office. It was a mutual enterprise that meant it was owned by the policyholders, who not only pooled their premiums to pay out in the event of a claim, but also received a share of the profits.



Sir Walter Scott

Novelist Sir Walter Scott, one of the original shareholders in the Edinburgh Life Assurance Company, was elected as an extraordinary director of the company in December 1824. Two years later in the weeks following his financial ruin, he assigned the policy of £2,000 to David Hogarth of Hilton.

In 1828, with the agreement of Hogarth and Scott's trustees James Jollie and John Gibson, half the policy was assigned to Robert Cadell as manager and trustee of Cadell & Co Booksellers of Edinburgh.

In October 1831, Scott made a voyage to Malta and Naples on HMS Barham for which he had to pay an additional premium of 10 shillings. The trip was intended to restore him to fitness. Sadly, he returned to Abbotsford to die on 21 September 1832. The final endorsement on the life policy confirms that the sum of £2,000 was paid to David Hogarth in January 1833.


Winston Churchill policyholder

Winston Churchill took out a personal accident policy with the Accident Insurance Company in 1896. The policy covered accidental death for £1,000. The annual premium of £6 14s (£6.70) included risks from steeplechasing and other forms of racing, plus travel and temporary residence outside Europe.

After his education, Churchill was sent to India with a cavalry commission. He won early fame as a war correspondent, and his daring escape from a Boer prison camp in 1899 made him a national hero - ushering him into the House of Commons where his career spanned 60 years.

In 1958 the directors of Commercial Union wrote to Sir Winston informing him that this was the oldest personal accident policy on their books and would be free of further payments. Sir Winston thanked the board and said "Pray accept my warm thanks for your thought of me, which has given me pleasure”.


Sinking of the Titanic

Commercial Union was one of the companies that insured the White Star liner Titanic, which sank on 15 April 1912 with the loss of more than 1,500 lives after striking an iceberg on its maiden voyage.

The owners had so much confidence in her design that they had not insured her for her full value – an estimated £1,750,000. Even so, insurance on Titanic's hull and machinery was the largest marine insurance ever placed. The Aviva constituent company Commercial Union agreed to accept £75,000 of the total £1,000,000 risk on both the Titanic and her sister ship the Olympic.

A loss of some £1,000,000 was involved which, according to The Times of 1912, was "the heaviest individual loss that has ever befallen underwriters". Commercial Union's share of the claim amounted to £145,723, of which £60,723 was for losses to registered mail posted from London, Hamburg and Paris.



Outbreak of First World War

Many Aviva employees served in the armed forces during the First World War. Those left behind took on the work of their colleagues. Some companies brought staff out of retirement and recruited more women. Many of Aviva's constituent companies actively encouraged their employees to enlist. They also recognised the need to support the families of those who volunteered.

In 1915 the German occupying authorities sealed the safe in the General Accident offices in Antwerp, Belgium – only for the staff to break in at night to take back vital records without the Germans ever finding out.

In recognition of the important contributions of group employees during the war, a special section has been created on the Aviva website. This includes a roll of honour for those who died, stories of employees who won medals, company war records, letters home, stories from the home front and what happened after the Armistice.



Outbreak of Second World War

Over 7,700 male and female employees of Aviva constituent companies from around the world served in the forces in World War Two. Members of our staff were involved in most of the major land, air and sea battles and events of the war from Dunkirk to the D-Day Landings.

Vivienne Hall, a typist in the London head office of Northern Assurance, kept a diary that is now held by the Imperial War Museum and is quoted in a number of histories of the period.

General Accident offered a 20% wartime discount on car insurance premiums since so many vehicles were laid up because of petrol rationing. However, company employees were involved in a number of notable incidents, including the doomed attack by Fairey Swordfish aircraft against the German warships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in February 1942 and the famous "Great Escape" from prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft III in March 1944.

<h3>1956 </h3>


First computer

The Philadelphia office of General Accident installed the company's first computer, an Invec 650, for handling general accounts. Four years later, General Accident ordered the first computer for its UK business, an IBM 1401.

Commercial Union’s first computer centre was set up in 1962. It housed a KDP 10 computer nicknamed "Cutie" – Commercial Union Totally Integrated Electronics – built by the English Electric Company at a cost of over £250,000. According to a report, two domestic staff mistook a piece of modern sculpture in the foyer for the machine itself.

Norwich Union's first computer, an Orion 1, arrived at head office in 1964. Another computer, five times faster than the original Orion, was installed in 1966. The first personal computers (PCs) were installed in Norwich Union offices in 1980, prompting the creation of a computer advice centre to help train and support staff.



Great Train Robbery

On Wednesday 7 August 1963, a Travelling Post Office train left Glasgow for Euston. On board, staff sorted the mail and parcels prior to its arrival in London. The second carriage was a High Value Package carriage, where registered mail was sorted. Much of this consisted of cash, usually in the region of £300,000. But because there had been a Bank Holiday weekend, the total on the day of the robbery was £2.3 million (about £30 million today).

Commercial Union paid out over £1 million following the Great Train Robbery. Rewards totalling £260,000 were offered by insurers, banks and the Post Office for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves and return of the money.

After a massive police operation, the gang's abandoned hideout was found at Leatherslade Farm in Bedfordshire. 12 of the gang of 15 thieves were sentenced to jail terms totalling more than 300 years.



Theft of Shergar

General Accident was one of a number of companies that insured Shergar, the winner of the 1981 Epsom Derby by a record 10 lengths – the longest winning margin in the race's 226-year history. This victory earned him a spot in The Observer newspaper's 100 Most Memorable Sporting Moments of the Twentieth Century.

He was bred by his owner Prince Karim Aga Khan IV close to the Irish stud from which he was stolen in February 1983. Demands for a ransom were never met, and Shergar was presumed dead by August of that year. It made the front page of many newspapers, with some dubbing him the ‘super horse’. The thieves have never been officially identified. The incident has been the inspiration for several books, documentaries, and even a film starring Mickey Rourke.

General Accident's liability amounted to £144,000.

<h3>2004 </h3>


Asian tsunami disaster relief

The group’s businesses showed strong support for the victims of the Asian tsunami that struck on 26 December 2004. The earthquake that triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts bordering the Indian Ocean killed over 230,000 people in fourteen countries. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters ever recorded.

Staff donated essential supplies and contributed more than £200,000 of the £700,000 committed by Aviva to the emergency relief effort. Part of the funding was directed towards building schools and replacing fishing boats. In particular, Aviva supported the rebuilding of 10 houses in the village of Seenigama, Sri Lanka.

To help co-ordinate the funds donated by employees in the UK, Aviva teamed up with Oxfam and Concern India to establish suitable development projects. In 2006, the group established a global partnership with Oxfam, becoming a founder of the Oxfam 365 Alliance to respond to emergencies around the world.



World's first carbon-neutral insurer

Managing and reducing our impact on the environment is a priority for our business. In fact, 100% of our electricity is now purchased from suppliers providing renewable and zero emission electricity. As well as reducing our consumption and sourcing zero emissions electricity, December 2006 saw Aviva commit to becoming the first insurer to be carbon neutral worldwide.

We had already committed to helping our customers limit their impact on climate change, offering flood mapping and lobbying on the issue of flood defences and floodplain planning. We also offered reduced premium insurance products for drivers of flexi-fuel Ford cars.

Becoming carbon neutral worldwide and investing in projects like the Biogas projects in Sri Lanka, the “Green" cement projects in the Netherlands and Ireland and wind turbine projects across Asia, we’ll earn carbon credits that will offset our remaining emissions – approximately 110,000 tonnes annually – on a retrospective basis.

<h3>2009 </h3>


Norwich Union becomes Aviva

On 1 June 2009, Norwich Union, then the UK’s largest insurer, changed its name to Aviva. At the time we already traded as Aviva in most of our 28 markets across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. So the change in the UK was a key part of our strategy to unite the business behind a worldwide brand.

By 2009 we had grown from the merger of a number of businesses to become the fifth largest insurer in the world, providing savings, investments and insurance to around 50 million customers.

For Norwich Union customers, becoming Aviva was not just about a name change. It was about being part of a company that transformed itself to meet the needs of its customers. Aviva customers in the UK could now benefit from the group’s experience and expertise around the world, bringing to them improved products and services.



Friends Life acquisition

Aviva's acquisition of Friends Life is complete creating a stronger, more diversified business and making Aviva the leading life and pensions provider in the UK.

Our values

Our values sit at the heart of our business. They’re there to guide us in everything we do – from performing in our day-to-day roles to making important business-wide decisions. Which is why we look for the kind of people who can really embrace our values. People ready to help free customers from uncertainty, and shape a better place to work while they’re at it.

Care more

At Aviva we care like crazy about our customers, each other and the communities we operate in. We look at every issue from the customer’s point of view and actively seek out and address what is wrong – treating the company’s money like our own in order to find the best solution.

Kill complexity

At Aviva we are obsessed with making things simpler for our customers and for each other. Our employees are plain dealing and manage complexity so our customers don’t have to. And, by putting the customer front of mind from start to finish, they make the whole process a breeze.

Never rest

At Aviva we are driven every single day to be edgy, think bigger and do better for our customers and each other. We think creatively, make bold decisions and challenge the status quo. And as well as celebrating our successes, we learn from our mistakes – working together through obstacles to reach our desired result.

Create legacy

At Aviva we strive to create a future for our customers and each other, which is every bit as bright and sustainable as others created before us. We invite every one of our people to invest in the Aviva community, make their own impact and leave things better than they found them. To make decisions they’ll be as proud of in 20 years’ time as they are today.

Read our Modern Slavery Act statement here.

A responsible business

“My vision is that we will be regarded as good ancestors by future generations.” Mark Wilson, Aviva CEO

As a global company that's been around for over 300 years, we're committed to running our business responsibly every day. This includes respecting human rights, managing supply chains responsibly and practicing good governance. We also have many different products to support people with life's everyday challenges that affect both them and their communities. This means we're well placed to help tackle the big global challenges too. And by using digital technology, we can reach more people, faster.

Our sustainable business strategy is focused on defying uncertainty by using bright ideas to tackle the important issues of our time (like climate change and an ageing population) for our customers, our communities and our world. This covers a number of different areas:

  • Protecting the people and things you love: As part of our partnership with the British Red Cross we support the British Red Cross emergency app, which monitors severe weather and other emergencies, and provides real-time alerts and practical advice to help minimise the impacts on our customers and communities. Find out more
  • Strengthening your local community: The Aviva Community Fund has now launched in ten countries, with projects submitted and voted for online, within categories spanning some of the issues our customers care about most. By 2020 we aim to support 5,000 local community projects and 2.5m people through our community programmes. Find out more
  • Helping you live well for longer: From the UK to China, we are increasing access to healthcare products such as affordable cancer care products and mobile health services, so people can speak to a doctor whenever they need to. We're also helping people to enjoy a good quality of life into old age. Find out more
  • Acting now for tomorrow: We were the first global insurance group to go carbon neutral. We've reduced our CO2e emissions by 46% since 2010 and we're now aiming to reduce it by 50% by 2020 and 70% by 2030. Find out more
  • Championing responsible investment: We're bringing investor consideration of environmental, social and governance issues into the mainstream and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. For example we use our influence to encourage the setting up of publicly available corporate benchmarks to highlight issues like human rights and encourage businesses everywhere to be good ancestors. Find out more
  • Challenging how our industry works: We are fighting fraud to reduce costs for customers through Road to Reform, and increasing access to insurance across the world by offering socially inclusive products to our customers. Find out more

Find out more about our approach at www.aviva.com/social-purpose

Our working environment

What makes us different is that, despite our size, we work hard to recognise the individual needs of every one of our customers. And with our sights set on becoming the most recommended employer in our market, it’s the same approach we take to our own people.

We recognise the strength that comes from working with colleagues from a whole host of different backgrounds; colleagues with different experiences and fresh perspectives. And it's just as important to us to make sure that every individual we employ is given the support, encouragement and development opportunities they need to make the most of their unique talents. By putting more emphasis on cultural diversity, we’re creating a more inclusive and rewarding working environment. After all, thriving people make for a thriving business.

If you’re thinking of applying to us, you may want to understand more about our parental leave and pay.

Rather than having to ask, we’ve provided details here for you. If you become an employee at Aviva in the UK, you could benefit from our market leading equal parental leave policies.

Adoption or Maternity Leave

Regardless of how long you’ve worked for us you can take up to 52 weeks of adoption or maternity leave. We offer 26 weeks at full pay (inclusive of any statutory pay that you’re eligible for).

Adoption or maternity pay doesn’t have to be repaid if you choose not to return to work after your leave.

Paternity Leave

Regardless of how long you’ve worked for us you can take up to 52 weeks of paternity leave. We offer 26 weeks at full pay (inclusive of any statutory pay that you’re eligible for).

Paternity pay doesn’t have to be repaid if you choose not to return to work after your leave.

Shared Parental Leave

To qualify for shared parental leave, you need to have worked for us for at least 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the week that your child is due, or in adoption cases, the week of notification of being matched with a child. Your partner also needs to be eligible for shared parental leave. If you are both eligible, you can share up to 50 weeks of leave. We offer 26 weeks at full pay (inclusive of any statutory pay that you’re eligible for). In order to receive full pay, you must have statutory pay shared with you which will be topped up to full pay. If you have any maternity, adoption or paternity leave on full pay this will be deducted from the 26 weeks.

Shared parental pay doesn’t have to be repaid if you choose not to return to work after your leave.

Statutory Parental Leave

We also offer statutory parental leave, which is unpaid and allows you to take up to 18 weeks of leave per child under the age of 18. In the case of a disabled child, this is increased to 21 weeks. You can take up to four weeks of leave each year for each child in blocks of one week. Parents of disabled children can take leave in blocks of less than one week.  To qualify for statutory parental leave, you need to have worked for us for at least one year before taking the leave.