Aviva Group Ireland plc
Aviva Group Ireland plc is the Irish arm of British insurance firm Aviva plc. Its headquarters are in Dublin. The company also provides investment management and pension services. Hoover’s reports that Aviva is the largest general insurer in Ireland, with a market share of more than 20%. The company also has a majority shareholding in Aviva Health Insurance.
- 2Aviva Health Insurance
- 2.1.1Vivas Health
- 2.1.2Hibernian Health
- 3Aviva Stadium
The company was established in 1908 as Hibernian. In 1925, the Guardian Assurance Company Ltd purchased a majority shareholding in the company and, by 1931, it was offering fire, accident, motor, fidelity guarantee, and plate glass insurance. In 1935, Guardian Assurance sold the company to a consortium of Irish firms, including the Bank of Ireland. In 1940, the company started to transact engineering business and, in 1946, added marine insurance in partnership with the Irish National Insurance Company Ltd. In 1964, the Commercial Union Assurance Company Ltd acquired the majority shareholding from the Bank of Ireland and, in May 1966, changed the company’s name to the Hibernian Insurance Company Ltd. By 1969, Commercial Union owned 99.9% of shares in the company.
Following an acquisition by Commercial Union, the company ceased operating in Northern Ireland and took over Commercial Union’s business and subsidiaries in the Republic of Ireland. By 1973, as well as offering fire, accident and marine insurance, the company was managing an investment portfolio consisting of cash, stocks, shares, and property. In 1979, a consortium of Irish investors acquired the majority shareholding in the company while Commercial Union retained a 30% share. In 1982, the company was authorized to commence business in the UK and, in 1984, changed its name to Hibernian Insurance plc.
In May 1986, the company was purchased by the Hibernian Group Plc. On 4 November 1999, it was acquired by CGU plc, which had been formed following the merger of Commercial Union and the General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation Ltd. On 31 March 2000 shareholders in CGU plc and Norwich Union plc approved a GBP£7.5 billion merger, endorsing a combination that would create Britain’s biggest insurance group. The new company, based in London and called CGNU plc, would be the largest provider of general insurance and the second-largest provider of life insurance in Britain. It would be Europe’s fifth-biggest insurer. CGU shareholders would control a majority stake at 58.5 percent of the new group, while Norwich Union shareholders would control a minority stake at 41.5 percent. The former Norwich Union (Ireland) was then subsequently absorbed into Hibernian.
The company found itself at the center of controversy in June 2008 when it announced that it was to transfer much of its operations to Bangalore, India, with the loss of 580 jobs. In 2008 Hibernian announced that they would be rebranding as “Aviva” as part of a global rebranding campaign to have all their subsidiaries operate under the same name. In January 2009 the company was renamed as “Hibernian Aviva”, and in December 2009 the company was rebranded as simply Aviva.
In November 2008, the Central Bank of Ireland fined the company for various breaches of the Consumer Protection Code. In April 2011, it dismantled its Dublin-based European holding company and carried on the same operations from London. The Central Bank of Ireland fined Aviva in July 2011 for failing to have proper controls and procedures surrounding the safeguarding of client assets.
Aviva Health Insurance
|Private company limited by shares|
|Revenue||€100 million (2006)|
Number of employees
Aviva Health Insurance Ireland Limited is Aviva’s health insurance arm in Ireland. Founded in 2004 as Vivas Health, it quickly established itself in the marketplace, and by 2007 had doubled in size every six months, with a turnover run rate of €100 million per annum. It is the largest insurer of previously uninsured people in Ireland. Aviva took a majority shareholding (70%) in the company in 2008. Allied Irish Banks (AIB) owns the other 30%. The company has 110 employees, direct and outsourced, located in Dublin and Cork. Aviva Health has attempted to influence regulatory reform in the private health insurance market, in particular in its drive to alter the current risk equalization scheme.
Aviva Health offerings are geared towards people in their late 20s to early 30s and families with children. Another key segment is elderly couples whose children are all leaving the home. The company provides the widest choice of hospitals and treatment centers in the Irish insurance market, education and information, web-based administration and support, and places a strong emphasis on primary care, preventative medicine and screening. The Aviva Health customer base includes almost 1,200 corporate customers across all industries in Ireland. With over 120,000 individual customers, the company is already the largest insurer of previously uninsured, as well as the largest destination for customers looking to switch their health insurance provider. The company is also one of the largest insurers of teachers, nurses, and non-nationals. Principal corporate customer sectors include financial services, pharmaceutical, public sector, information technology, hospitality, manufacturing, construction, and healthcare.
The company was launched in October 2004 under the name Vivas Insurance Limited (which traded as Vivas Health – sometimes capitalised as “VIVAS Health”), becoming the third player to enter the Irish health insurance market, competing with former state monopoly Vhi Healthcare and British insurer BUPA Ireland (which has since been sold to Quinn Group and renamed Quinn Healthcare.)
Following widespread speculation for some months and leaks to the press, on Sunday, 6 April 2008 Hibernian Group, the Irish subsidiary of British insurance group Aviva, announced that it had purchased at 70 percent interest in Vivas Insurance, the remaining 30 percent being held by Allied Irish Banks, the last remaining original shareholder. The sale valued the company at approximately €35 million and saw financier Dermot Desmond, as well as CEO Oliver Tattan, senior management and an estimated 35 staff, sell their shares, with Tattan alone estimated to have received over €10 million in the sale. The deal saw the entrance of Ireland’s largest general insurer, Hibernian, into the Irish health insurance market for the first time as more than a minor player. The acquisition closed on 15 May 2008and the company was renamed Hibernian Health on 1 July 2008.
The company was rebranded again as “Hibernian Aviva Health” in January 2009 as part of Aviva plc’s decision to replace all of its different brands (Hibernian, Norwich Union, and Commercial Union) with the Aviva name between 2008 and 2010. In early 2010 the company was rebranded as Aviva. Aviva Health was sold to the Irish Life Group in March 2016.
On 12 February 2009, it was announced that the new Lansdowne Road stadium will be called the Aviva Stadium after a deal with Aviva reported to be worth €40 million and the deal will last for 10 years.