ASSICURAZIONI GENERALI (Encyclopedia)

Generali Group is one of the most significant players in the global insurance and financial products market. The Group is leader in Italy and Assicurazioni Generali, founded in 1831 in Trieste, is the Group's Parent and principal operating Company. 
Indeed, Assicurazioni Generali Austro-Italiche was established in Trieste in 1831. Giovanni Cristoforo Ritter de Zahony became the first chairman of the Company. After his resignation in 1835, the post remained vacant until 1909. In 1848, the company changed its name to Assicurazioni Generali and St. Mark’s lion was adopted as the company symbol. In 1857, Generali shares were quoted for the first time in the Trieste Stock Exchange. In 1875, the company began to pay the dividend in gold Francs (until 1914). In 1881, the 50th Jubilee year was celebrated and Erste Allgemeine, Generali’s first insurance subsidiary, was established in Vienna. A few years later, in 1886, the company’s Central Head Office moved to its present location in Trieste, while the first number of “Il Bollettino” was issued in 1893. At the beginning of the 20th century, a major real estate investment programme was started. In 1906, the 75th anniversary was celebrated, and the share capital was converted into Crowns. Three years later, Marco Besso was appointed chairman. At the end of WW1, Trieste was annexed to Italy and Generali obtained full Italian nationality status, and consequently the share capital was converted into Italian Lire. In 1920, Edgardo Morpugo was appointed chairman. In 1926, the company called the most talented artists, like Marcello Dudovich, to design its posters. The 100th anniversary was celebrated during the world economic and financial crisis begun in 1929, yet in 1933, major investments in farming activities were started. In 1937, an electro-mechanical accounting unit, equipped with state-of-the-art Hollerith calculators was set up. In 1938, Giuseppe Volpi was appointed chairman. After the outbreak of WW2, in 1940 all contacts with the Group’s organisation in enemy countries were interrupted. In 1943, Antonio Cosulich was appointed chairman and two years later, at the end of the war, Trieste was ruled by the Allied military government. In 1945, Generali transferred its Registered Office to Rome. The end of the war brought about the loss of all company assets in Central and Eastern Europe. In 1946, the Italian Republic was born and in 1948 the Group restarted its expansion outside Italy. Mario Abbiate was appointed chairman, followed by Mario Tripcovich in 1953. In 1956, the 125th anniversary was celebrated and Camillo Giussani was appointed chairman, followed in 1960 by Giro Baroncini. In 1966, Generali signed a co-operation agreement with Aetna, the largest U.S. multi-branch insurer. Two years later, Cesare Merzagora was appointed chairman. In 1971, a new, more modern trademark was launched, using the shortened name “Generali”. In 1974, Genagricola was established, and since 1980 it controls all the Group’s farms. In 1979, Enrico Randone was appointed chairman. In 1981, the 150th anniversary was celebrated. In 1984, the first advertising campaign was launched on the mass media. Five years later, Generali initiated a joint venture in Hungary becoming the first insurer from the Western world. A new, modern and complex centre was opened in Mogliano Veneto, which today hosts the head offices of Generali Italy. In 1991, Eugenio Coppola di Canzano was appointed chairman. In 1994, Genertel was established, the first Company selling insurance over the phone. In 1995, Antoine Bernheim became chairman, and in 1996, the first website of the company was created. In 1997, Generali acquired the Migdal group, Israel’s largest insurer. Following an agreement with Allianz and AGF, Generali took over the German group AMB and three French companies, thereby significantly increasing its market share in the two countries. In 1998, following the creation of Banca Generali and the acquisition of BSI, the Group entered the Financial Services sector. Alfonso Desiata became chairman. In 2000, the Italian insurer INA became part of the Group. The following year, Gianfranco Gutty became chairman. In 2002, Generali China Life Ins. Co. was established in Guandzhou, and after just a few years of operation, it became the leader among the insurance companies with foreign equity interests. In the same year, Antoine Bernheim was re-appointed chairman. In 2003, the first Generali Group’s strategic Plan was presented. The bid by CityLife, led by Generali’s real estate arm, won the tender for the redevelopment of the Milan Fair. The Ethical Code was published. In 2005, the first Sustainability Report was presented. In 2006, Generali acquired Toro Group (Italy). A joint venture with Future Group was established in India. In 2007, the 175th anniversary was celebrated and a joint venture with PPF Group was established to promote business in Central and Eastern Europe. In 2008, the joint venture between Generali and PPF Group became operational with activities in thirteen Central and Eastern Europe countries. In 2009, Toro merged with Alleanza. In 2010, Cesare Geronzi was appointed chairman, followed by Gabriele Galateri di Genola in 2011.

Since 1831, Generali Group has been characterised by a strong international drive. It is a key player in Continental Europe, the biggest life insurer and leader in direct channels, with a significant presence in all main countries. It ranks 1st in Italy and 2nd in Germany and France. It adopts a multi-brand and multi-local approach, and it implements a multi-channel distribution strategy.
Generali Group, with its experience dating back to almost two centuries, its recognised financial strength and its consolidated partnerships with major international insurers, operates in all classes of insurance. The lines of business in fact range from mass risks (like automobile third party liability and personal injuries) to highly complex industrial plants, from simple policies for family protection to extensive contracts satisfying multinational companies’ complex needs. With its capacity to easily adapt to all market changes, Generali has often been the driving force behind innovation in the industry: one example is certainly Europ Assistance, based in Paris, world leader in the assistance sector, or, in Italy, Genertel, specialised in direct selling over the phone and via web.
In the last few years, however, even if adopting a business diversification strategy, Generali has been focusing on providing coverage to individuals, protecting their incomes and optimizing their savings, mainly through life products, with individual and group pension plans. In this field, Generali can offer highly sophisticated solutions to multinational companies through a specialised structure, named GEB (Generali Employee Benefits) located in Bruxelles. Moreover, Generali has recently widened its traditional insurance business focus to the financial and asset management services. Along this strategic evolution, it was decided to complement the available products range by setting up an internal banking structure, Banca Generali. At the same time, the Group has started to optimize the products performance for the benefit of savers, and has begun to concentrate the activities of asset management in a few specialised companies, linked in a single European network.
Generali is today present in more than 60 countries, with over 500 international companies, over 82,000 employees, and 65 millions clients worldwide. The Group's own sales network employs more than 100,000 people, more than 460 billion worth of assets, and it has a property portfolio worth € 28 billion.

Links: www.generali.com