CGU launches major e-commerce initative for home movers

Article date: 10 May 2000

  • new brand introduced, asserta home
  • largest on line homes database - 180,000 properties from over3,000 estate agency branches around the UK at launch or some 50%of the market
  • immediate updates of available property and most personalisedservice in marketplace

CGU announces the launch today of a major new home-moving portal- asserta home ( - to reduce the hassles ofhomebuying. The new initiative provides access to the largest online homes database with properties from over 3,000 estate agencybranches throughout the UK, totaling some 180,000 homes for sale,representing in the region of 50% of the market.

The development of asserta home, which will be the first in theUK to offer a personalised and comprehensive on-line home movingservice, follows extensive research to determine customer's needsduring the house buying process. Users can receive immediateupdates of newly available homes via e mail or mobile phone textmessaging, search and rank properties on 16 different criteria,access photographs on-line, arrange mortgage finance and organisethe move itself over the net 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

asserta home aims to build its estate agency links further overthe coming months to continuously grow the number and range ofproperties on line, leveraging the estate agency market experienceof "Your Move", CGU's estate agency chain. Later this year, assertahome will be introducing complementary services such as aninsurance supermarket and a database of home specialists anddesigners.

The UK home moving market generates fees and associatedexpenditure estimated at over £9 billion per annum, and is animportant entry point to the mortgage and insurance market. assertahome aims to build its revenues from commissions from mortgages,life protection products and from general insurance, in addition toadvertising revenues and other transactional fees. The business isexpected to be profitable in its third year.

The new brand will benefit from the expertise and financialstrength of CGU. CGU has committed an estimated £40m over 3 yearsto develop asserta home and provide the most user-friendly androbust system available. A major press and TV advertising campaignaround the country will support the launch with TV advertisingstarting on 15 May.

It is anticipated that the equity in asserta home will be ownedas follows: 30% partner Estate Agents with the remainder 56% withCGU and 14% for asserta home management and staff.

asserta home forms part of a wider e-commerce wealth managementproject underway at CGNU, the UK's largest insurer to be createdfrom the merger of CGU and Norwich Union. Both companies hadparallel wealth management projects and the best of each are beingselected and will be announced in August 2000, at the time of theinterim results. asserta home is the first strand of the wealthmanagement strategy.

Philip Twyman, Group Executive Director, for CGU commented: "Theattraction of asserta home is its ability to reduce the stress ofthe home moving process, using e-commerce to find better solutionsfor customers. asserta home, which we believe will become thepremiere home moving portal in the UK, provides a valuable accesspoint to a large scale market. The dynamics of e-businesses arestill embryonic, but the asserta home model will attractsignificant new customers to which we can market financial servicesproducts."

Ashok Gupta, CEO of asserta home said: "asserta home is aboutharnessing new technology to give customers the right informationand knowledge to help them with the total home-buying process. Thebusiness is entirely customer centric focusing on areas where wecan add value through offering the most personalised service in themarketplace."

asserta home provides:

  • Search for properties by map, postcode and specificlocation
  • Advanced search by price, features, number of bedrooms andtype of property
  • On-line mortgage supermarket with ability to arrange amortgage on-line from a wide choice of lenders
  • Local area information including healthcare and education
  • Daily updates on properties coming onto market in areae-mailed direct to the client or through a mobile phone messagingservice
  • Direct link into estate agents own websites
  • Change of address facility for a range of serviceproviders.
  • Utility supermarket allowing energy and water costcomparison

For further information, please contact:

Ashok Gupta - asserta home
Tel: +44 (0)20 7661 9593
Laura Hastings - LansonCommunications

Tel: +44 (0)20 7294 3614




Steve Riley - CGU plc

Tel: +44 (0)20 76628115

Notes to Editors

About CGU

CGU's proposed merger with Norwich Union was approved byshareholders at the end of March. The formal merger to become CGNUis expected to take place around the end of May 2000.

The merged Group will have total worldwide premium income andretail investment sales of £26 billion and will be Europe's fifthlargest insurer. CGNU will have more than £200 billion of assetsunder management and will be the second largest asset manager inthe UK.

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