Headquarters address: 181 William St, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia
Year established: 1998
Size (employees): 4,000+
Underwriting expertise: Car & vehicle, home & contents, lifestyle, travel, business insurance
Gross written premium: $12.5 million (IAG, 2021)
Key people: Peter Harmer (CEO)
CGU Insurance Limited (CGU) is a commercial, rural, and personal lines intermediary-focused insurer headquartered in Melbourne. It also provides workers’ compensation insurance.
The firm is the commercial insurance arm of the Insurance Australia Group (IAG) and traces its roots back to 1851 in the UK. CGU was formed through the global merger of Commercial Union plc and General Accident plc. In 2003, it was acquired by IAG, alongside NZI in New Zealand and Zurich Insurance’s NSW workers’ compensation business.
CGU distributes its products through a network of over 1,000 brokers, agents, and other intermediary partners. According to the company, it covers half a million properties, over one million vehicles, more than 125,000 businesses, and around 60,000 farms. It also handles almost 1,000 claims per day.
The insurer’s motor offering includes cars, motorcycles, boats, and caravans. It offers home and contents insurance, as well as landlords’ and renters’ insurance for various types of dwellings. For businesses, CGU provides cover for small businesses, public liability, trades, professional indemnity, workers’ compensation, and farms.
CGU in the news
2003: CGU acquired by Insurance Australia Group
2012: Elliott Insurance Services, CGU launch online platform for tradesman product
2013: CGU urges Tasmanians to contact brokers following bushfires
2013: CGU expands Sunrise online platform for rural insurance
2013: OAMPS, CGU partner on new hospitality facility
2013: CGU and NRMA Insurance launch disaster preparedness programme in QLD
2014: CGU criticised for over-collection on fire service levy
2014: CGU named best customer experience company in Best Customer Experience List of Australia
2014: CGU partners with Xero to offer workers’ comp insurance to SMEs
2015: CGU named by brokers as “overall best insurance underwriter”
2015: CGU acquires Accident & Health International (AHI)
2015: CGU purchases global risk and emergency management group Dynamiq
2015: CGU supports revival of Tropfest
2016: CGU partners with Best Doctors Australia
2016: CGU launches new cyber product ‘CGU Cyber Defence’
2017: CGU extends partnership with Collingwood Football Club
2017: CGU exits NSW workers’ comp scheme
2017: Willis Towers Watson and CGU launch chatbot service
2018: CGU praised for migrant-supporting ad campaign
2019: CGU launches grants program for Indigenous businesses
2020: CGU Insurance announces First Nations initiative
2021: CGU Insurance redirects Magpies sponsorship after report of systemic racism
2021: CGU Insurance announces financial support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
2022: CGU teams up with The Muppets creator to launch new campaign film
Peter Harmer, CEO
In 2010, Harmer joined CGU as its CEO from Aon, succeeding Duncan West. He headed CGU until 2015, when he was named chief digital officer of parent company IAG and leader of innovation arm IAG Labs. In that same year, he was appointed CEO of the entire IAG following the retirement of Mike Wilkins.
“Peter led a tremendous turnaround in the culture and performance of CGU during his time as its CEO,” said IAG chairman Brian Schwartz regarding Harmer’s appointment as IAG chief executive.
As the commercial insurance arm of one of the largest insurers in Australia, CGU has supported several causes in recent years.
In 2015, CGU took the naming rights of the Move in May, a fun run event that seeks to promote and raise awareness of the rights of Australia’s LGBT community. The run, which took place in May 2016, was one of the first in Australia championing that particular cause.
The insurer also announced support for the revival of Tropfest, a short film festival in Sydney which began in 1993 but was cancelled due to funding issues. According to CGU, Tropfest provides “unique platforms for talented filmmakers through its events and initiatives.” It added that the cultural event also creates opportunities for small businesses in the community.
CGU has sponsored Collingwood Football Club since 2011, and after signing an extension of the contract in 2017, will continue as premium partner until 2022. It is also the foundation sponsor of the club’s women’s team. CGU supports several of the club’s community initiatives, such as the Magpie Nest program which provides housing assistance and other support for homeless people and the Barrawan program for indigenous Australians.
The company’s ‘Australian as it Gets’ ad campaign has earned praise for its inclusiveness for featuring hard-working migrants who have become Australian business owners. The company’s Migrant Small Business Report showed that there are over 620,000 migrant-owned businesses in Australia, with 83% of those owners being first-time entrepreneurs.