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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.