March 11, 2010

Fortis means “strong, sturdy, brave, manly, resolute.” But the insurance company of that name has decided the name no longer fits. So they’re re-branding to something that better reflects what the company is about today.

The chosen name is Ageas,* which probably stands for something like Association Genevoise des Employés en Assurances Sociales. Except maybe it doesn’t…

Because according to the company still formally known as Fortis “The first two letters honour our roots: they have been synonymous with excellence since the creation of AG Leven in 1824, and represent over 180 years of know-how and experience in insurance and bancassurance. The ‘e&a’ at the heart of the new name refer to our two key markets: Europe and Asia, the combination of which accounts for the lion’s share of the global insurance market. The final ‘as’ stands for ‘assurance’ and a single-minded focus on our core insurance business. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Absolutely. It’s as clear as a very clear thing – or, at least, as clear as a very clear thing in a parallel universe where very clear things look like this:

Whether Fortis/Ageas are also planning to retire their famous exploding/disintegrating multicolour symbol thing (pictured above) or to replace it with something less chaotic as a counter to the crazy new name, Bankstone News has no idea whatsoever.

The new name, incidentally, is meant to appear in all lower-case letters, as in ageas, because they don’t want to force their opinions on anyone. But they’ll have The Devil’s own job enforcing that typographical quirk throughout a large organisation in a sector where Brokers and Underwriters have trouble resisting capital letters at the best of times.

While we’re on the topic of Bankstone News and of name changes, this might be a good moment to mention that we are updating the name of our weekly eZine to something that better reflects who we are, what we do, and where our focus and priorities lie – a name that confirms our rebirth as a new weekly ‘news’ letter, but one that will benefit from the vast wealth of experience and the professional expertise concentrated within our pants.

The first two letters, B and O, we have taken from the word Bold, signifying our unrelenting and undaunted quest for the truth; the two Ls stand for Late Lunch which is what our news team normally have after they’ve thrown the latest edition together on a Friday; another O stands for OMG; C is for the Care we lavish on our fact-checking; K is for Kwality, obviously; and the final S is really just there to remind us to avoid sarcasm (the lowest form of wit) at all times. The name will always appear in capital letters because we think very highly of ourselves and are not in the least bit interested in dialogue or partnership.

The Fortis rebrand clearly has the stamp of AG about it. We hope you’ll think ours is AG too!

* Guide to pronunciation: A-gay-ass, Agey-ahs, Aggy-as, A-ji-azz, Ah-jeez – take your pick basically.


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