date of creation
5th February, 1890
number of employees
142,460 (as of 2018)
Activities : Insurance and Asset Management
Allianz is a global financial services company with its headquarters in Munich, Germany. It is currently ranked as the second largest insurance company in the world behind China’s Ping An Insurance Company and the third largest financial services group behind Berkshire Hathaway and AXA (as of 2018). The company trades on the Euro Stoxx 50 index, an index that comprises the 50 largest and most traded stocks in Europe.
Its asset management division comprises PIMCO, Allianz Real Estate, and Allianz Global Investors and manages €1,960 billion of assets (as of the end of 2017).
Allianz was founded on the 5th February, 1890, by Carl von Thieme (then a director of the Munich Reinsurance Company) and Wilhelm von Finck (co-owner of Merck Finck & Co bank). Its original name was Allianz Versicherungs-Aktiengesellschaft and it originally sold marine and accident insurance policies in Germany. In 1893, they opened their first office abroad, in London, selling marine insurance to German clients living in England.
In 1904, the company began moving into the US and other countries under the leadership of Paul von Naher, and by 1914, it was operating in included the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, France, the Scandinavian countries and the Baltic States, and was also the largest marine insurer in Germany. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake saw the company lose 300,000 Marks but managed to survive due to its international expansion. By the time WWI broke out, some 20% of its income came from international operations though as a result of the war, income from premiums had dropped by 20% by 1915. In 1918, they branched into motor insurance and soon established themselves as Germany’s largest car insurer.
In 1922, the then director-general, Kurt Schmitt, established Allianz Life to provide life insurance. During the 1910s and 20s, the company further expanded into Palestine, Cyprus, Iraq, China, the Dutch Indies, Ceylon, and Siam. In 1929, Allianz took over Frankfurter Versicherungs-AG after the latter was involved in one of the biggest financial scandals of all time.
From 1933, Allianz was brought under the Nazi’s economic system and was almost ruined by the end of WWII. By May of 1945, the company was technically bankrupt. After the Wirtschaftswunder – the economic miracle that occurred in post-war Germany, Allianz had become Europe’s largest insurer by the early 1970s. Part of this remarkable growth stemmed from Allianz adopting IT systems as early as 1956 with the acquisition of the IBM650 for data processing work.
In 1986, Allianz returned to one of the world’s major insurance markets with the launch of a London subsidiary. In 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Allianz acquired Staatliche Versicherung der DDR, turning the former East German state run company into a modern business. 1991’s acquisition of the American Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company allowed Allianz to establish a nationwide presence in the US.
Although Allianz had been providing asset management since 1922, it was only in 1998 that they established a standalone subsidiary, Allianz Asset Management, now called Allianz Global Investors and one of the biggest players in the sector. From 1999 onwards, the company began expansion across several Asian markets including China and Taiwan.