Allianz Timeline

Allianz: History of the company

In 1890 Allianz is founded in Munich and based in Berlin. Find out more about key developments in the company's history.

The founding years

Allianz is established in Berlin in 1890 as a transport and accident insurer. By the outbreak of World War I, around 20 percent of its premium income is from international operations.

1890: 1890

Allianz is born

Ten years after establishing Munich Re, insurance specialist Carl Thieme (right) and banker Wilhelm Finck create Allianz. Together with representatives from two banking houses, two industrialists, a lawyer, a banker, a politician and an insurance expert, Thieme and Finck put up the starting capital of four million marks. The company is entered into the Commercial Register at the municipal court of Berlin I on February 5th 1890.

Illustration: 1890

1893: 1893

Opening of a London office

1893 sees Allianz moving into international markets. The London office is managed by Carl Schreiner, head of Munich Re's international operations. It deals with the interests of German customers insured against transport losses abroad. By the beginning of World War I, Allianz has expanded its business operations to the USA, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Italy, Belgium, France and the Balkans.

Illustration: 1893

1895: 1895

IPO for Allianz stock

On December 12th 1895, Allianz stock is traded on the Berlin Stock Exchange for the first time. Deutsche Bank prepares the IPO. The shares are issued with a nominal value of 250 marks and end their first day of trading at 750 marks.

Illustration: 1895

1906: 1906

The San Francisco earthquake

The San Francisco earthquake of April 18th 1906 and the subsequent blaze is a disaster for insurers across the globe: 3,000 people are killed, 250,000 are made homeless, material damage comes to around 350 million US dollars, and insurers around the world such as Fireman’s Fund, Allianz and Munich Re pay out a total of 250 million dollars in claims.

Illustration: 1906

1914: 1914

Women work at Allianz for the first time

World War I begins and the first instances of women working for Allianz are recorded. The situation is very different at Stuttgarter Verein, which Allianz merges with in 1927, where women have accounted for some 40 percent of the back office staff since 1890, working primarily as secretaries and short-hand typists. In keeping with the prudish times, women are required to leave their workstations ten minutes earlier than their male colleagues to ensure that the two do not meet on their way home.

Illustration: 1914

1918: 1918

The effects of the war

For Allianz, the beginning of World War I ends a period of continuous growth. By 1915, premium income has fallen by almost 20 percent, and years of stagnation follow. The company starts 1914 with around 800 employees, but 92 men are lost in the war. Germany's defeat plunges the country into serious crisis. Allianz's business area shrinks. Many of its customers lose their incomes due to unemployment, disablement and currency devaluation.

Illustration: 1918

Growth and rationalization

Despite inflation and the global economic crisis, Allianz becomes Germany's largest insurer. As the company grows, simplified and automated work processes are required.

1918: 1918

Branching into motor insurance

Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany, once said, "I believe in the horse. The automobile is merely a temporary phenomenon." Allianz disagreed. In 1918, the year of the emperor's abdication, Allianz creates the Kraft Versicherungs-AG together with Munich Re and the Kaiserlicher Automobilclub. Automotive traffic increases during the 1920s, and the company becomes Germany's largest motor insurer.

Illustration: 1918

1922: 1922

Creation of Allianz Life

Allianz starts out in 1890 as a transport and accident insurer, but by the beginning of the 1920s, it already offers all the property insurance policies typical of the times. To enable the company to expand into life insurance, Kurt Schmitt, Director General of Allianz since 1921, establishes Allianz Life and merges the new company with Deutsche Lebensversicherungsbank Arminia in 1923. Allianz Life soon becomes one of Germany's leading life insurers.

Illustration: 1922

1923: 1923

A new emblem for Allianz

The first Allianz logo designed in 1890 has definite analogies with the German imperial eagle. The original eagle design bears the coats of arms of the two original home cities, Munich and Berlin. In 1923 it is replaced by the Allianz Eagle. Graphic designer Karl Schulpig creates a stylized eagle with three young, symbolizing the new subsidiaries. The Allianz Eagle is introduced at the same time as the company changes its name to 'Allianz Group'.

Illustration: 1923

1926: 1926

Automatic data processing

The small life insurance policies introduced by Allianz in 1926 with monthly premiums of two to four Reichsmarks make more efficient policy processing necessary. Hollerith punched cards replace hand-written cards for recording statistics, and Adrema address plates are used to print premium invoices. Not until these rationalization measures are introduced do small life insurance policies become profitable.

1929: 1929

FAVAG scandal and mergers

In August 1929, Germany's second-largest insurance company, the Frankfurter-Versicherungs-AG (FAVAG), collapses amid one of the greatest economic scandals in history. After only a brief period of reflection, Allianz decides to take over FAVAG's insurance portfolio in order to protect the interests of the policyholders. This is the last of a wave of mergers instigated by Allianz, including takeovers of Stuttgarter Verein and Bayerische Versicherungsbank.

Illustration: 1929

1932: 1932

Allianz Materials Testing Center

In 1932 Allianz establishes its Materials Testing Center in Berlin. Chemists, physicists and engineers at the center examine, investigate and report on the technical and scientific aspects of machine insurance. Following World War II, the institute is moved to Ismaning near Munich. A new department for automotive technology is added, and the name changed to the Allianz Center for Technology. The center is dedicated to damage research and risk prevention.

Illustration: 1932

Under National Socialism

From 1933 Allianz is part of the National Socialist dictatorship's economic system. Like many other companies, at the end of World War II Allianz faces economic ruin.

1933: 1933

Kurt Schmitt becomes Economics Minister for the Third Reich

On June 30th 1933, President Hindenburg appoints long-standing Allianz Director General Kurt Schmitt as Economics Minister for the Third Reich. He joins Adolf Hitler's cabinet as the successor of Alfred Hugenberg. At the beginning of 1935 Schmitt resigns from his post due to ill health. He returns to Allianz in an advisory capacity and becomes Director General of Munich Re in 1938. At the end of the war, the American military authorities relieve him of all his offices.

Illustration: 1933

1938: 1938

Reich Pogrom Night

At a meeting on November 12th 1938 chaired by Minister Hermann Göring, the economic consequences of the November pogrom against the Jewish population are discussed. As representative of the German insurance industry, Allianz board member Eduard Hilgard reports on the material damage caused by the pogrom. The roles played by Hilgard and Allianz regarding the Reich Pogrom Night have been investigated in a study of the history of Allianz during the Nazi era. A dedicated website contains the results of this research.

Illustration: 1938

1941: 1941

Citizenship Law Ordinance 11

From the very beginning of the National Socialist dictatorship, Jews living in Germany are discriminated against and persecuted. The National Socialists use countless regulations and arbitrary measures to destroy their livelihood. From 1940 the National Socialist state, the Gestapo and the SS begin to deport and execute European Jews. Ordinance 11 relating to the Law on Reich Citizenship is issued in 1941, allowing the regime to confiscate the assets of all deportees, including all life insurance policies not already expropriated.

Illustration: 1941

1945: 1945

Allianz at the end of World War II

The longer the war continues, the more difficult it becomes for Allianz to maintain its business activities: damages are mounting rapidly; staff shortages and bombing bring work to a standstill. By the end of the war, Allianz's assets have been destroyed: its real estate holdings decimated; premium payments have all but ceased; funds invested in government bonds become worthless when the war ends. In May 1945 Allianz is in effect technically bankrupt.

Illustration: 1945

Reconstruction and change

After reconstruction and the economic miracle in Germany, Allianz becomes Europe's largest insurer in the early 1970s. Electronic data processing revolutionizes work processes in the company.

1945: 1945

Permission to resume business

World War II ends on May 8th 1945. After only a few days, Allianz returns to business. Director Gerd Müller, the future CEO of Allianz Life, attaches a handwritten notice to the door of Allianz's ruined head office in Berlin asking the employees to meet there on May 18th. Once provisional permission to resume work is received on May 22nd, the rebuilding process commences.

"On May 18th we will meet and see what we can do, signed Dr. Gerd Müller."

Illustration: 1945

1949: 1949

Nationalization in the GDR

In contrast to the situation in the West, the insurance industry in East Germany undergoes a radical transformation after 1945. In each of the five East German states the old private insurance companies are replaced by state insurance institutions, which exercise a monopoly. These five institutions merge in 1952 to become the Deutsche Versicherungs-Anstalt. In 1969 this new institution takes over East Berlin's insurance company and changes its name to Staatliche Versicherung der DDR, the GDR state insurance company.

Illustration: 1949

1954: 1954

New head office in Munich

The 1948-49 Soviet blockade of Berlin prompts the Board to relocate the company's headquarters from Berlin to West Germany. The chosen destination is Munich, where some Berlin departments have already relocated. Architect Josef Wiedemann, whose work includes the rebuilding of the war-damaged Munich Glyptothek, designs an administration building with four separate wings situated next to the English Garden, and this is opened by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in 1954.

1956: 1956

Modern IT is introduced

On January 20th 1956 the age of electronic data processing begins at Allianz with the IBM 650, Europe's first magnetic drum data processing machine. The company's own weekly Wochenschau newsreel films provide employees and customers with a report on the delivery of the computer from America. In the newly established data center, first two, then four, then ultimately six employees are responsible for operating the computer. Each year the IBM 650 processes well over ten million punched cards for statistical and other purposes.

1958: 1958

"Well insured by Allianz"

Hansjörg Dorschel designs matchbox covers for Allianz. Millions are distributed, and the amusing cartoon characters become so popular that in 1959 they star in their own animated movie. The campaign achieves long-term success: in a recent survey the matchbox advertising campaign's "Well insured by Allianz" slogan was among the top ten best known slogans.

1959: 1959

Allianz in Paris

In 1937 Allianz has franchises in over 20 countries and does business in many other countries through subsidiaries. After the war ends, this business is lost. Allianz's foreign assets are seized and its business relationships terminated. In the immediate post-war years, Allianz concentrates on rebuilding its business in Germany, then in the 1950s begins to acquire shares in former Italian and Austrian subsidiaries. In 1959 Allianz opens an office in France.

1962: 1962

Premium income exceeds one billion

After the currency reform, the growth in premium income is boundless. Property insurance premium income has reached its pre-war level by 1951, life insurance premium income by 1956. In 1962 total premium income at Allianz Versicherungs-AG exceeds the one billion mark. This dynamic growth is driven by motor insurance, already the largest business area by the 1930s. By the end of the 1960s over 50 percent of premium income comes from motor insurance.

Illustration: 1962

1969: 1969

ELIAS streamlines operations

Allianz has been amassing computer technology experience since the mid-1950s. Thanks to the ELIAS database system this technology has now developed to the point where entire processes are completed electronically. When used in payroll accounting, for example, a computer takes just one hour to process the same amount of data as can be processed manually in 1,500 hours. Despite the constantly increasing volume of business, these automation measures allow a reduction in employee numbers.

Increasingly international

For Allianz, Europe and America are the markets of the future. To ensure Allianz's ability to act internationally, the holding company Allianz AG is created in 1985. This facilitates the wave of mergers seen in the 1990s.

1973: 1973

Allianz becomes Europe's largest insurer

In 1973 Allianz and Allianz Life achieve a total premium volume of over six billion marks. The group thus becomes Europe's largest insurer for the first time, and also becomes one of the ten largest insurers in the world. The accelerated expansion of international operations aims to consolidate this position long-term.

Illustration: 1973

1974: 1974

Allianz builds its international presence

Since 1959 Allianz has been gradually opening offices in Paris, Milan and Vienna, resuming the international business relationships that were terminated at the end of World War II. At the beginning of the 1970s, the group briefly embraces the practice of creating new subsidiaries in selected markets, for example the USA. The focus of activities is on industry and transport insurance. In 1972 Allianz's international premium income is 120 million marks.

Illustration: 1974

1977: 1977

Facelift for Allianz Eagle

1977 sees the introduction of a modernized Allianz Eagle. Designer Hansjörg Dorschel encloses the eagle in a circle and softens its contours. The new logo is part of Allianz's comprehensive image concept and is intended to give the group a uniform appearance, both internally and externally.

Illustration: 1977

1985: 1985

Allianz AG Holding

Due to the dramatic increase in insurance turnover since the early 1970s, particularly in industrial risk insurance, combined with the expansion of the group via investments in other companies at home and abroad, a change in the group's structure becomes necessary. The new structure comes into effect on January 1st 1985. On this date the insurance business is transferred to the new Allianz Versicherungs-AG. This subsidiary has a domination and profit transfer agreement with the new Allianz AG Holding, which becomes Allianz SE in 2006.

Illustration: 1985

1986: 1986

Entering the British market

Having begun its international expansion in 1893 by opening a London office, Allianz resumes this tradition in 1974 with the creation of the Allianz International Insurance Company Ltd., London. This marks a return to one of the world's key insurance markets. The acquisition of Cornhill Insurance PLC follows in 1986, giving Allianz a strong presence in Great Britain for the first time. The company has been operating as Allianz plc since 2007.

Illustration: 1986

1990: 1990

GDR state insurance company

On July 1st 1990 Allianz acquires a majority stake in Deutsche Versicherungs-AG, thus acquiring the entire private customer business, offices and employees of the former GDR state insurer Staatliche Versicherung der DDR. This ensures uninterrupted insurance cover for GDR citizens. Allianz turns the state-run provider into a modern company. Today almost 5,000 Allianz employees work at offices in Berlin and Leipzig.

1990: 1990

Allianz in Central and Eastern Europe

In 1990, Allianz acquires Hungarian insurance company Hungária Biztosító, the first investment it has made in an Iron Curtain country. It then acquires and creates further companies in Russia, the Czech Republic, Romania, the Slovak Republic, and Poland. Today Allianz is the leading foreign insurer in this strong growth region in terms of premium income and gross premiums, with over 25 companies in ten countries.

Illustration: 1990

1991: 1991

Nationwide presence in the USA

On January 2nd 1991 Allianz acquires US insurance group Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, Novato, California. Taking over this established property insurer allows Allianz to achieve a sustainable market position and a nationwide presence in the world's largest insurance market. Established in 1863 in San Francisco, Fireman's Fund is also known for its film insurance. Of the 79 Oscar-nominated films in 2009, 46 are insured with Fireman's Fund.

Illustration: 1991

1993: 1993

Allianz opens a new data center

On September 28th 1992 the new data center in Unterföhring near Munich goes online. It consists of two separate wings with identical mainframe computers to ensure the security of data which is an insurer's key asset. For the first time, the data processing and printing centers are closely linked. At first the data center focuses on managing the entire German data portfolio. Today, Allianz Shared Infrastructure Services SE and its data center serve Allianz subsidiaries throughout Europe.

Illustration: 1993

1997: 1997

Assurances Générales de France

In fall 1997 Allianz takes over the French insurance group Assurances Générales de France (AGF), Paris. This is the largest acquisition in the history of Allianz so far. AGF operations are focused on Europe, South America and Asia, where it plays a significant role as an industrial risk and loan insurer and provider of assistance services. The takeover increases Allianz's capital investments by 120 billion marks to 600 billion marks.

Illustration: 1997

International financial services provider

In response to the globalization of financial markets, Allianz diversifies its activities. In addition to insurance, it moves into asset management and banking.

1998: 1998

Creation of Allianz Asset Management

Allianz has been involved in asset management since it launched its life insurance business in 1922 and began to invest the premiums paid by its customers. In 1998, driven by the globalization of the financial markets, Allianz defines asset management as a core business activity and establishes Allianz Asset Management, now Allianz Global Investors. After several takeovers, including PIMCO (2000), Nicholas-Applegate (2001) and cominvest (2008), Allianz is now one of the key global players in asset management.

Illustration: 1998

1999: 1999

New group logo

In 1999 Allianz prepares to step into the next millennium with a new logo combining tradition and modernity. The logo combines the well-known Allianz Eagle and Allianz's three key business areas: insurance, retirement provision and asset management.

Illustration: 1999

1999: 1999

Expansion in Asia

Allianz's business relationships in Asia go back to the beginning of the 20th century. Almost 100 years after first receiving permission to offer fire insurance in several Chinese cities in 1905, Allianz decides to consistently expand its business activities in this growth region. It enters into agreements such as the Allianz Dazhong Life Ins. Comp. Ltd. joint venture in China, and acquires a stake in Taiwan's Allianz President General in 1999. Today Allianz is represented in all the region's key markets.

Illustration: 1999

2000: 2000

Creating a foundation

On August 2nd 2000 the 'Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future' foundation is created. The foundation's assets are used to make individual humanitarian payments to former forced laborers and other victims of National Socialism. The foundation's assets amount to 10 billion marks, half of which is provided by the German Economy Foundation Initiative, of which Allianz is a founding member, and the rest by the German government.

Link to foundation

Illustration: 2000

2001: 2001

Allianz acquires Dresdner Bank

Allianz buys Dresdner Bank and defines banking as a new core activity alongside insurance and asset management. The latter is significantly boosted by Dresdner Bank's investment business. With a total of over 20 million customers in Germany, Allianz and Dresdner Bank expand their market position. In 2008 Allianz sells Dresdner Bank to Commerzbank.

Illustration: 2001

2001: 2001

Study: Allianz under National Socialism

Over a period of four years, American economic historian Professor Gerald D. Feldman and a team of historians conduct a study on the corporate history of Allianz during the Nazi era. The primary objective of the study is to present Allianz's development and activities from 1933 to 1945 in their historical context.

Illustration: 2001

2003: 2003

Microinsurance

Microinsurance is the protection of low-income people against specific perils in exchange for regular premium payments proportionate to the likelihood and cost of the risk involved. It provides insurance to low-income households that otherwise do not have access to insurance. India is the first country where Allianz sells microinsurance products. Since 2003, Bajaj Allianz has sold over 100,000 products and covered more than 1.6 million customers.

Illustration: 2003

2005: 2005

The Allianz Arena in Munich is opened

Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron design a modern stadium for Munich's two soccer teams TSV 1860 and FC Bayern. It is destined to become a city landmark and a symbol for Allianz. The stadium is illuminated in the team colors of whichever team is playing, blue for TSV 1860 and red for FC Bayern.

Website of the Allianz Arena

Illustration: 2005

2006: 2006

Allianz becomes a European Company

Allianz AG becomes a European Company or Societas Europaea (SE), a new legal form for public companies in the European Union. This enables the group to simplify its structure and facilitates cross-border mergers. Employees from different European countries are now represented on the Supervisory Board. Allianz SE is the first European Company on the Dow Jones EURO STOXX 50. Operations in Germany are brought together under the umbrella of Allianz Deutschland AG.

Illustration: 2006

2009: 2009

Allianz sells Dresdner Bank

On August 31st 2008 Allianz SE and Commerzbank AG agree on the sale of Dresdner Bank AG to Commerzbank. In the following months, the business and organizational ties which were established over the years between Allianz and Dresdner Bank are dissolved in order to carry out the sale. The transfer of the ownership of Dresdner Bank to Commerzbank is completed on January 12th 2009.

Illustration: 2009

Today

125 years after its founding Allianz is healthier and financially stronger than ever before. Together with its 82 million clients in 70 countries it is one of world's strongest financial communities.

2010: 2010

Birth of AMOS

Allianz Managed Operations & Services SE (AMOS) is the internal services company of the Allianz Group. As a global business unit, AMOS offers internal services in infrastructure, applications and business services.

Illustration: 2010

2012: 2012

Women in leadership

For the first time in its almost 125-year history, in 2012 Allianz appointed a woman to the Board of Management of Allianz SE: Helga Jung is responsible for mergers and acquisitions and the insurance businesses on the Iberian peninsula and in Latin America, amongst other duties. In the same year, Birgit König and Sylvie Ouziel became Chairpersons of the Boards of Management of Allianz Private Krankenversicherungs-AG and Allianz Managed Operations & Services SE (AMOS) respectively.

› Website: Women at Allianz

Illustration: 2012

2013: 2013

Allianz in Turkey

Allianz took over the Turkish insurer Yapı Kredi Sigorta, becoming number one in the Turkish insurance market. With Yapı Kredi, it has also gained the country's fourth largest private bank as a sales partner.

(Source: Shutterstock)

Illustration: 2013

2014: 2014

"Allianz Stadium" in Vienna

Allianz is growing its family of stadiums with the "Allianz Stadium" in Vienna. From 2016, this will be the home of the Austrian football club SK Rapid Wien. Other Allianz stadiums are in Munich, Nice, Sydney, London and São Paulo.

Illustration: 2014

2015: 2015

Allianz turns 125

Allianz' anniversary year has the motto "Protecting Future": over the past 125 years, the company has gathered a diverse wealth of knowledge, experience and ideas. As a result of its work and in dialogue with experts, decision-makers and civil society it is developing solutions to global challenges such as demography, climate change, the access to financial services and digitalization.

› Website: 125 Years of Allianz

Illustration: 2015