Sir Francis Norie-Miller

1859 - 1947

Insurance pioneer, who contributed much to the civic society of Perth. Born into a Scottish family in Cheshunt (Hertfordshire, England), Norie-Miller was educated privately and trained for the law, but instead began a career in insurance in London. In 1885 he took a position in Glasgow and two years later was appointed Secretary of the fledgling General Accident and Employers' Liability Assurance Association in Perth. He went on to become its Manager (from 1891), Managing Director (1933-39) and Chairman (1933-44). He built the company from a small local concern into one of Britain's largest insurers, developing innovations such as motor-insurance (in the 1890s), coupon-insurance (which involves a low-cost simple application providing, for example, reassurance while travelling), no-claims discounts and, in the 1920s, a year of free motor insurance with every new Morris car. An office was opened in the USA in 1899. The company became the General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation in 1906. By the outbreak of the First World War, General Accident was represented worldwide. By 1990 the company had assets of £8.12 billion and 30,000 employees. Through a series of mergers it eventually became Aviva in 2002.

Noted for his enormous energy, Norie-Millar was made a Freeman of Perth in 1933 and, two years later, was briefly Member of Parliament for the town. In 1936, he was created a baronet in recognition of his civic contribution, which included service as a magistrate, Director of Perth Royal Infirmary, the Perth school board and county education authority and rotarian. He was awarded a medal by King Albert of Belgium assisting refugees during the First World War.

Norie-Miller died at his home in the Cherrybank district of Perth and lies buried in St. Ninian's Cathedral.

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