Allianz SE (formerly AG, FWB: ALV, NYSE: AZ) is one of the largest financial services provider in the world, and the largest insurer in Europe. Headquartered in Munich, Germany, its core business and focus is insurance and asset management. Founded by Carl Thieme and Wilhelm Finck in 1889 to serve the insurance needs of the industrial era, Allianz quickly became the largest insurer in Germany. Its international expansion was thwarted by the restrictions placed on Germany after World War I, but like many companies, it rapidly increased its overseas presence by opening branch offices in several major cities during the 1960s and through a series of acquisitions during the 1980s and 1990s. In the 1990s it also established itself in eight countries in Eastern Europe. Today, Allianz serves 60 million customers with over 180,000 employees in 70 countries, following the principle that “all business is local.”
Allianz was the largest insurer in Germany when the Nazi party came to power and has been criticized for collaborating with the Nazi government in the exclusion, expropriation and extermination of Jews. In the decades after World War II Allianz became a member of the International Commission on Holocaust Era claims, settled its cases and paid every justified claim immediately.
In the last decades of the nineteenth century, the German insurance industry was foundering; its main lines of business, fire and marine insurance, were doing poorly. Many small private insurance companies failed, and German reinsurance companies which were tied to these private businesses lost the confidence of European customers. Two-thirds of the German reinsurance business was going to foreign companies. Carl Thieme, Thuringia's general agent and chief representative for the Kingdom of Bavaria, recognized that the rapidly expanding industrialization of the time would increase the types of risk and require new kinds of insurance. He envisioned a new type of independent reinsurance company that would spread risk across a wide range of regions and market sectors, and use standardized contracts to streamline its business. Thieme sought out business partners and in 1880, founded a successful reinsurance company, Munchener-Ruckversicherungs-Gesellschaft (Munich RE). In the summer of 1889, Thieme and Munich banker Wilhelm Finck decided to create a primary insurance company called “Allianz.”2 Allianz AG was founded in Berlin in 1890. The new company offered transport and accident insurance, and soon added fire insurance.
Allianz opened its first international branch office in London before the end of the nineteenth century. Paul von der Nahmer, who became second CEO in 1904, strengthened international operations and by 1913, 20 percent of the company's premium income came from businesses outside of Germany, primarily from liability insurance. After World War I, however, the restrictions placed on Germany severely limited international business.
During the 1920s, Allianz expanded through mergers with Bayerische Versicherungsbank, Stuttgarter Verein, Frankfurter Allgemeine Versicherungs-AG and other German companies. In 1932, Allianz set up its own materials testing center, Allianz Center for Technology, to conduct damage research and offer its findings to interested clients.3
World War II
In 1933, the National Socialists (NSDAP or Nazi) Party assumed power in Germany and took control of the economy. Allianz cooperated with the new government, allowing its employee representatives to be replaced by Nazis, and dismissing Jewish employees. After Germany overran Poland in 1939, most insurance risk was due to war. Allianz's most profitable businesses were marine, construction, industrial fire, and life insurance. Insurance pools were formed to cover major war-related risks. As the war escalated, overwhelming destruction made it increasingly difficult for Allianz to continue its operations. Work came to a standstill after the company's premises were bombed. By end of war, the majority of the company's assets had been destroyed and its real estate holdings had been decimated by war damage, confiscation and nationalization. On May 8, 1945, after Germany declared its unconditional military surrender, future CEO Gerd Mueller tacked a piece of paper on the broken door of Allianz's head office reading, “On the 18th of May we will meet and look ahead.” Almost 250 employees attended the meeting and started the process of rebuilding the company.
Under Allied forces, restitution started soon after end of war and laws were enacted in Germany to compensate those whose property had been confiscated by the Nazis. Allianz both benefited from the restitution and came under heavy criticism for its collaboration with the Nazi government in expropriating Jewish assets and providing insurance for its military installations and death camps (see below). The end of the Cold War again brought issues of compensation the forefront of the European political agenda. As a member of the International Commission on Holocaust Era claims, Allianz settled its cases and paid every justified claim immediately.4
Allianz shifted its headquarters to Munich in 1949, and global business activities were gradually resumed. An office was opened in Paris in the late 1950s, and a management office in Italy in the 1960s. These expansions were followed in the 1970s by the establishment of business in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Spain, Brazil and the United States. In 1986, Allianz acquired Cornhill Insurance PLC, London, and the purchase of a stake in Riunione Adriatica di Sicurità (RAS), Milan, strengthening its presence in Western and Southern Europe. In February, 2006, shareholders of Adriatica di Sicurt (RAS), Milan approved a merger with Allianz.
In 1990, Allianz started an expansion into eight Eastern European countries by establishing a presence in Hungary. In the same decade, Allianz also acquired Fireman's Fund, an insurer in the United States, followed by the purchase of Assurances Generales de France (AGF), Paris. Allianz expanded into Asia with several joint ventures and acquisitions in China and South Korea. Allianz enlarged its asset management business by purchasing the California asset management companies PIMCO Advisers L.P. and Nicholas-Applegate.
In 2001, Allianz Group and Dresdner Bank combined their asset management activities by forming Allianz Global Investors. In 2002 the Allianz Group was reincorporated under a European Company Statute. As a result of the cross-border merger with RAS in 2006, Allianz converted into a European Company (SE - Societas Europaea) on October 13, 2006.
Allianz Group provides its more than 60 million customers worldwide with a comprehensive range of services in the areas of property and casualty insurance, life and health insurance, asset management and banking. At the top of the international group is the holding company, Allianz SE, with its head office in Munich. Allianz is now present in more than 70 countries with over 180,000 employees. Allianz professes the principle that, “All business is local,” meaning that it strives to provide the same standard of service in every country.5
In response to the economic crisis of 2008, Allianz established a "Group Economic Research and Development" division on January 1, 2009, to devise strategic courses of action based on economic research and long-term trend analysis. The group will collaborate with scientists and scholars on economic and strategic projects.6
Allianz Global Investors ranks as a top-five global active investment manager, having €970 (US$1,242) billion of assets under management (AuM), of which €725 (US$929.9) billion are third-party assets, with specialized asset managers such as PIMCO (Bond fund), RCM(Equity fund), AAAm(Fund of Hedge fund), and Degi(Real estate fund).7
Allianz has come under considerable criticism for its collaboration with the Nazi government during World War II, particularly in its persecution of Jews. In 1997 Allianz commissioned Gerald E. Feldman, professor at the University of California at Berkeley and an expert on the economic history of the Weimar Republic to present an account of the company's activities from 1933 to 1945. Allianz and the German Insurance Business, 1933-1945, published in 2001, documents that Allianz, as an organization and through the individual activities of its corporate officers, was heavily involved with the Nazi government and the Third Reich, from the early 1930s and through to the collapse of the Third Reich in 1945. When the Nazi party came to power, Allianz was the largest German insurance company. Allianz Chief Executive Kurt Schmitt served as Hitler's Reich Economy Minister from June 1933 until January 1935, and can be seen in photographs wearing an SS-Oberführer's uniform and standing just behind Hitler while delivering the Nazi salute.8 Allianz General Director Eduard Hilgard was head of the "Reich Association for Private Insurance" (Reichsgruppe Versicherung), during the entire Nazi regime, working both to support the Nazi government and to make sure that German insurance companies profited from its activities. After Reichskristallnacht in 1938, he was responsible for the creation and enforcement of a Nazi policy to block insurance payments to Jews for their damaged property and instead direct the payments directly to the state. Allianz records show that the company benefited by greatly reducing the amount due for these claims before they made the payments to the government, and recorded it as "business as usual."8 Research did not show that Allianz took unfair advantage of Jews who cashed in their Allianz life insurance policies in order to emigrate, but like other German insurers, it cooperated closely with the Nazi government to locate the policies of those who were sent to death camps.9
Allianz played a role in financing and stabilizing the Nazi government, and used its influence to become the dominant insurer in all the countries occupied by the Nazis.
Allianz insured the property and personnel of Nazi concentration camps, including the infamous Auschwitz extermination camp, and the Dachau concentration camp. Allianz also insured the engineers working at the IG Farben Company,8 which supervised the manufacture of the Zyklon B cyanide gas used at Auschwitz and other camps to systematically exterminate over 1.2 million Jews and others during the Holocaust.10 Since, as part of the procedure of issuing the insurance policies, Allianz Group inspectors would have toured the camps to make a detailed assessment of the high risks involved at every step of the operation, they were fully aware of the purpose of the camps. Feldman characterizes this as an example of the complete decay of moral standards under the Nazi regime.
Allianz also provided insurance throughout the war to the Nazis for valuables seized from Jews prior to their forced relocation to the camps and eventual extermination.
After World War II, like many German companies, Allianz chose not to reflect on the past, exonerated its employees, and emphasized its contacts to German resistance circles and the courageous acts of various individual employees during the war. It cooperated fully in international efforts to locate and make full payment to the heirs and descendants of Jewish Holocaust victims who held insurance policies with Allianz.
Allianz Australia Limited (ABN 21 000 006 226) operates throughout Australia and New Zealand and offers a range of insurance and risk management products and services through its subsidiaries, which include Club Marine, Allianz Life and Hunter Premium Funding.
Allianz operates in Belgium through Allianz Belgium, previously AGF Belgium.
Allianz originally entered the Canadian market in the early 1990s through an acquisition of several North American insurers, including the American Firemans Fund and the Canadian Surety. Allianz halted its Canadian P&C operation Allianz Canada (market share 2 percent) in 2004 after several years of unfavorable business results. Upon the market exit, the personal and commercial lines unit was sold off to the market leader ING Canada, and its industrial underwriting branch was bought by Allianz US, which has retained the Toronto office.
In India, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Limited is a joint venture between Bajaj Finserv Limited (recently spun off from Bajaj Auto Limited) and Allianz SE. Both enjoy a reputation of expertise, stability and strength. Bajaj Allianz maintains a countrywide network encompassing 200 towns across India.11
Allianz started its life and Property & Casualty (P&C) operation in Slovakia in 1993 but the local subsidiary was never able to achieve a relevant market share. In 2001 Allianz AG bought the majority ownership in then state-owned Slovenska poistovna (Slovak Insurance Company), at the time suffering from political mismanagement, asset-stripping and deep under-reserving. Slovenska however held a market share of well over 50 percent, which had made it an attractive privatization target. The local Allianz operation was merged with Slovenska to create Allianz-Slovenska poistovna. Its combined market share (life and P&C) presently stands at just below 40 percent (about 50 percent in P&C business), making it the market leader in Slovakia.
Allianz acquired British insurance company Cornhill Insurance plc, in 1986 and renamed it Allianz Cornhill Insurance plc. In 2007 the name was changed to Allianz Insurance plc to directly reflect its continental parentage.
Allianz owns Kleinwort Benson which it inherited when it bought Dresdner Bank. The investment bank has subsequently been merged with the corporate bank of Dresdner Bank and rebranded as Dresdner Kleinwort. It also owns the High Net Worth insurance broker 12
The Allianz Arena Stadium
Allianz provided naming rights for the Allianz Arena, a football stadium in the north of Munich, Germany, which is sponsored by Allianz. The two professional Munich football clubs Bayern Munich and TSV 1860 München have played their home games at Allianz Arena since the start of the 2005-2006 season. Both clubs had previously played their home games at the Munich Olympic Stadium; Bayern Munich since 1972 and 1860 München since the 1990s.
Allianz are owners of the Polish football team Gornik Zabrze
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Annual Report 2007. Allianz. Retrieved Jaanuary 22, 2009…
- ↑ History of Munich RE Retrieved January 22, 2009.
- ↑ Allianz.com The Beginnings, Allianz company history Retrieved January 22, 2009.
- ↑ Allianz.com Era of National Socialism Retrieved January 22, 2009.
- ↑ Allianz.com Getting International Retrieved January 22, 2009.
- ↑ Allianz launches a new division for Economic Research and Strategic Development (December 19, 2008) Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- ↑ Data for 2007.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Feldman, Gerald. Allianz and the German Insurance Business, 1933-1945 (in English). Cambridge University Press 2006. ISBN 0521026687.
- ↑ H-net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences Gerald D. Feldman. Allianz and the German Insurance Business, 1933-1945. Reviewed by Marc Engels (Lehr- und Forschungsgebiet Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte, Technische Hochschule Aachen) Published on H-German (February, 2004). Retrieved January 22, 2009.
- ↑ Auschwitz and Zyklon B, Auschwitz Alphabet. Retrieved January 23, 2009.
- ↑ Bajaj Allianz Website Retrieved January 22, 2009.
- ↑ Home and Legacy. Retrieved January 22, 2009.
- Allianz Versicherungs AG (Germany). Financial Terminology From A-Z. London: Euromoney Publications PLC. 2007.
- Feldman, Gerald D. Allianz and the German Insurance Business, 1933-1945. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. 2001. ISBN 9780521809290
- Imholtz, August A., and Peter Hayes. Germany's Business Leaders, 1400-1917 the Rudolf Mosse collection of business histories and biographies. Frederick, Md: UPA Academic Editions. 1988. ISBN 9780886921507
- Meyer-Larsen, Werner. Germany, Inc.: The New German Juggernaut and its Challenge to World Business. New York: John Wiley. 2000. ISBN 9780471353577
- Nicosia, Francis R., and Jonathan Huener. Business and Industry in Nazi Germany. New York: Berghahn Books. 2004. ISBN 9781571816542
All links retrieved November 14, 2016.