Sydney Architecture Images- Gone but not forgotten

Commercial Union Assurance


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Cnr of Hunter and Pitt St's, Sydney
34-36 Hunter St, Sydney, NSW


Built-    Demolished-


Victorian Italianate Renaissance Revival


Rendered brick


Commercial Union Assurance Co

Insurance Provider

Address: 34-36 Hunter St, Sydney, NSW

*The Commercial Union Assurance Company was established in London, England in 1861 following a serious fire known as the ‘Tooley St fire’, which destroyed warehouses and wharves in London and resulted in significant premium increases. Provisionally called the Commercial Union Fire Insurance Company, the company was established to transact fire business, but soon the company added life assurance (1862) as well as overseas fire insurance and marine in 1863. In 1900, the company expanded its business to include burglary and accident insurance followed by plate glass insurance in 1901 and a trustee and executor business by 1905.

At the same time the company expanded it branches both at home and abroad with 82 offices in England and a presence in every continent with over 70 overseas agencies. The company established itself in Australia first in Sydney and Melbourne (1863), followed by Adelaide (1865), Brisbane and Hobart (1879) and Perth (1892).

The company continued to grow in Australia and internationally through mergers and acquisitions, which was a characteristic of the insurance business in the 20th century. Evidence from company cachets indicates that Ocean Accident and Guarantee were one of those companies acquired by Commercial Union and another was the Australian Mutual Fire Insurance Society Ltd in 1921.

The Commercial Union Assurance Company is not to be confused with The second Commercial Union Assurance Company was incorporated on 17 March 1871 as the Merchants' Marine Insurance Company Ltd. and only became part of Commercial Union Assurance Company in 1968 and was dissolved in September 2007.

Commercial Union Assurance Company merged with General Accident in 1989, however evidence from company cachets indicates that the companies were working very closely together since the 1960’s.

In October 1999, the company changed its name to CGU International Insurance and later in February 2000, CGU announced a merger with Norwich Union to form CGNU, which was re-branded in July 2002 as Aviva International Insurance.