The Years of the Lion (1911 - 1920)


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Assicurazioni Generali: a Journey that started in 1831 (1911 -1950)

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The Years of the Lion (1911 - 1920)

  1. 1. The Years of the Lion decades 1911-1950
  2. 2. 1911-1920 United to Italy I n the tense period prior to the outbreak of the Great War, a new threat came from the introduc- tion – in Italy – of a monopoly in the life insur- ance business, a measure which aimed to limit the domination of foreign companies, namely Generali and RAS. While most operators pulled out of the market and sold their portfolios to the newly-established Istituto Nazionale delle As- sicurazioni (INA), Generali carried on its activi- ties within the new regulation. Despite the dif- Italy introduces life insurance monopoly. The first life insurance policy issued by Istituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni (INA) in 1913: the illustrious sub- scriber was none other than Industry Minister Fran- cesco Saverio Nitti, the man behind the decision to make life insurance a state monopoly in Italy. ficulties that had been affecting business for a number of years, Generali’s results remained excellent, to such an extent that even during the war, in 1914, accounts closed with a profit of over seven million Crowns and a dividend of The art of poster-making. A poster of 1911 – bearing the Company’s symbol and financial highlights – and a painting by artist Achille Beltrame for the almanacs of the hail insurer Anonima Grandine, both showing the development of the Company’s corporate communica- tion over the years. United to Italy 36
  3. 3. The Procuratie restored. Between 1909 and 1914, the Procuratie Vecchie building in Venice, which housed the Veneto Head Office, was radi- cally refurbished. The Company logotype was engraved on the glass panes of the façade. Looking out 1911 - The uprising against the Manchu dynasty spreads in the southern and central provinces of China: the following year, Emperor P’u-Yi abdi- cates and the republic is proclaimed. In Mexico, the peasant upris- ing led by Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa succeeds in overthrowing dictator Porfirio Díaz. Roald Amundsen is the first man to reach the South Pole. 1913 - The first novel of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time and Thomas Mann’s short novel Death in Venice are published. The first assembly line is set up at the Ford factory. 500 gold Francs was regularly paid. Italy’s entry into the con- 1914 - The Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, is opened under flict led to the immediate interruption of relations between the administration of the United States. The Canal is approximately 51 miles long and the Central and the Veneto Head Offices, while restrictions 565 to 984 feet wide. were imposed on the Company’s activity in both countries. 1916 - Emperor Francis Joseph dies; he had ascended the Austrian throne in 1848. The Austrian government ordered that part of the Central The Dada movement – an avant-garde artis- Head Office be transferred to Vienna and disapproved of tic and cultural movement – is born. the sympathy expressed by Generali employees for the Ital- 1919 - Gabriele D’Annunzio occupies the Dalmatian port of Fiume (today ian cause. The Austrians even threatened to seize Company Rijeka), where he establishes the “Ital- ian Regency of the Kvarner Gulf”. assets in order to avoid the transfer of funds abroad. 1920 - Prohibition is de- At the same time, pressure was mounting on the part of clared in the United States. competitors to ban Generali’s operations in Italy, just as Adolf Hitler becomes leader of the German Workers’ Party, had already happened in both England and France. In this later renamed the National So- cialist German Workers’ Party. The Titanic goes down. In the night of April 14, 1912, the ocean liner, on her maiden voyage, struck an iceberg and sank. Out of the 2,200 passengers aboard on that ill-fated journey, over 1,500 lost their lives. 1911-1920 37
  4. 4. 1951-1960 1911-1920 The First World War 1914 - June 28: the Archduke of Austria Francis Ferdinand is assassinated in Sarajevo. July 28: Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia; Russia imposes a state of general mobilisation. 1915 - April 22: the Germans use poisonous gas against French troops in the trenches of Ypres in Belgium killing 5,000: this is the opening act of modern chemical warfare. May 24: Italy joins the war. 1917 - October 24: the Italians are routed at Caporetto (the Slovenian town of Kobarid, near the Italian border). 1918 - November 3: Italian troops enter Trento and Trieste; the armistice of Villa Giusti marks the end of the Hapsburg Empire. The King in Trieste. On November 10, 1918, Victor Emmanuel III and General Diaz arrived unexpected in Trieste and were wel- comed with great enthusiasm by the local population. Trieste is Italian. On November 3, 1918, a huge jubilant crowd celebrated the arrival of the Italian warship Audace at a pier in the port that has borne her name ever since. The recovery 38
  5. 5. Looking in 1914 - The restructuring of the Procuratie Vec- chie building – by this time, almost entirely owned by Generali – is completed. The refurbish- ment had started in 1909 in view of the expand- ing volume of business at the Company’s Vene- to Head Office 1915 - Following Italy’s entry into World War I, the Austrian authorities accuse Generali and a number of its officials of sympathising with the Italians. 1916 - The government in Rome grants Genera- li an Italian nationality certificate, allowing the Company to carry on business in the peninsula. 1917 - Following the Italian rout at Caporetto, the fear of Austrian reprisals in Venice leads the Company to transfer part of the Veneto Head Of- fice to Padua. War posters. During the war The Ca’ Corniani farm years, Beltrame’s paintings for is flooded to slow down Anonima Grandine focused on war themes. the Austrian advance. The Italian nationality certifi- 1919 - Generali be- cate. Issued by the government comes an Italian com- on April 26, 1916, the document pany in all respects. allowed Generali to continue op- The share capital is converted into Liras. erations in Italy. 1920 - Following Marco Besso’s death, Edgardo Morpurgo is appointed chairman. light, the granting of an Italian nationality certif- The Russian revolution. In November 1917, icate to Assicurazioni Generali with a Head Of- the Bolsheviks assaulted the Winter Palace in Petrograd (today St Petersburg). The following fice in Venice, in 1916, was – to say the least – year, the last Tsar, Nicholas II, was put to death providential. Following the Italian rout at Ca- with his entire family. poretto, fears of Austrian reprisals in Venice led the Company to transfer its Italian Head Office to Padua, while business in the Entente coun- tries, as well as in the marine sector, were han- dled from Rome. On December 4, 1919, after the end of the war, Assicurazioni Generali was able, for the first time ever, to convene its sharehold- ers’ general meeting in an Italian Trieste. 1911-1920 39
  6. 6. 1921-1930 Postwar problems F ollowing the end of World War I, Generali had to out operations in the various countries in a de- centralised way. To this end, the main agencies face an unprecedented series of organisational, in the capital cities of newly independent coun- administrative and financial problems. With the tries (Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Warsaw) fall of the Hapsburg monarchy, a previously uni- were transformed into largely autonomous re- tary body politic had splintered into a number of gional head offices in charge of supervising the independent countries, each with their own set sales network in the countries of operation. Par- of laws, monetary systems and insurance regu- lations. It therefore became necessary to set up new organisational structures that could carry Europe’s new geopolitical map. The dissolution of the Central Empires led to the birth of a number of inde- pendent states, mainly in central-eastern Europe where Generali’s presence had always been well established. The new countries. A poster published midway into the decade shows that Generali was thriving in Hun- gary. Above: the headquarters of Assicurazioni Gene- rali in Zagreb, in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Postwar problems 40
  7. 7. Looking out 1921 - The British Parliament recognises the Irish Free State as a dominion of the Empire: in exchange Ulster will remain under British rule. The Fascists climb to power. In Oc- The first electric refrigerator is invented. tober 1922, the National Fascist Par- 1922 - James Joyce publishes Ulysses. ty organised the “march on Rome”, a coup that ultimately brought Benito 1923 - After the dissolution of the Mussolini to power as Prime Minister. Ottoman Empire, Turkey becomes a republic under president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. 1924 - After Lenin’s death, Stalin takes over and begins his rise to power in the Soviet Union. 1925 - Sergey M. Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin – which describes the mutiny of 1905 – and Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush are screened for the first time. 1926 - Ernest Hemingway (Nobel prize in Litera- ture in 1954) publishes The Sun Also Rises, under the original title of Fiesta. 1927 - Charles Lindbergh successfully accomplishes the first non-stop solitary flight across the ocean, from the United States to France. Alfredo Binda wins the first road cycling World ticularly complicated was the monetary issue, as Championship. 1928 - The Threepenny Opera by many of the old currencies had been strongly Bertolt Brecht, set in music by Kurt devalued and in some cases they were no longer Weill, is an international success. Alexander Fleming discovers the anti- legal tender. Besides having to redefine previous biotic properties of penicillin. debit and credit items, in compliance with peace 1929 - The Oscar prize is established. treaties or interstate agreements, the Company had to sustain the tremendous costs arising from the radical devaluation of reserves, most of which had been invested in government bonds. Posi- ny was able to continue doing business regularly tive developments, on the other hand, came in albeit with the obligation to cede to INA a quota the life insurance sector in Italy, where Generali’s share of its premium income. The improved eco- position was upheld by the government. The im- nomic climate allowed Generali to take part in a plementation of an absolute monopoly, sched- number of initiatives and investments in favour uled for April 1923, was revoked and the Compa- of both the development of the insurance sector and the economic reconstruction of the coun- try. As countries abroad stabilised, Generali fur- ther pursued its consolidation drive by investing The crash of ‘29. The crash of the New York Stock Exchange triggered a major financial and economic crisis that, in a few months, led to a virtual halt of the industrial output worldwide and to the sacking of over 40 mil- lion employees. 1921-1930 41
  8. 8. 1921-1930 The Nobile expedition. On May 23, 1928, the airship Italia, commanded by General Umberto Nobile, crashed on the icy wastes of the North Pole. The survivors sought shelter in the Red Tent, which was ultimately spotted by search parties a Looking in month later. The crew was insured by an accident 1922 - Generali takes part in the establishment of policy in which Generali held a significant share. Unione Italiana di Riassicurazione, together with In the photos from top: air- INA – the reinsurer’s main shareholder – and other borne Italia, the Red Tent major private companies. and the rescue of General Nobile. 1923 - The Italian Parliament revokes the imple- mentation of a life insurance monopoly, introduc- ing a regime of compulsory cessions in favour of the state insurer INA. Generali can thus continue to operate in this sector. The company capital is increased from 13.23 million to 40 million Liras through a rights issue operation, while the nominal value of each share is reduced from 2,000 to 500 Liras. 1925 - Another operation, involving a one-for-two rights issue, raises the Company’s share capital to 60 million Liras. in local companies or by establishing new ones. In those years, over ten companies were set up, mostly in central and eastern Europe but some Dudovich and Generali. Generali’s corporate communica- also in the Americas. tion was strengthened by the arrival of another great artist, Marcello Dudovich. The posters he designed for Generali over more than a decade are part of the history of poster-making in Italy. On the left: La Veneziana; below: Il Todaro sul molo di piazzetta San Marco. Postwar problems 42
  9. 9. The chairmen 1832-1835 1943-1948 1960-1968 1995-1999 Giovanni Ritter de Zahony Antonio Cosulich Gino Baroncini Antoine Bernheim (1782 - 1838) (1875 - 1957) (1893 - 1970) (1924) 1909-1920 1948-1953 1968-1979 1999-2001 Marco Besso Mario Abbiate Cesare Merzagora Alfonso Desiata (1843 - 1920) (1872 - 1954) (1898 - 1991) (1933 - 2006) 1920-1938 1953-1956 1979-1991 2001-2002 Edgardo Morpurgo Mario Tripcovich Enrico Randone Gianfranco Gutty (1866 - 1948) (1893 - 1964) (1911 - 1998) (1938) 1938-1943 1956-1960 1991-1995 2002 Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata Camillo Giussani Eugenio Coppola di Canzano Antoine Bernheim (1877 - 1947) (1879 - 1960) (1921 - 2006) (1924) The chairmen 43
  10. 10. 1931-1940 A century of success I n its centenary year – which was celebrated with great éclat – Generali was a healthy company, in- ternationally strong and with enviable finances. The Company had survived virtually unscathed local financial crises (such as the one that rocked Austria in 1873 and the depression at the end of the 19th century), a world conflict and even the latest scare: the crash of 1929. It could rely on reserves amounting to 1.5 billion Liras and on real es- tate and agricultural investments A prestigious achievement. Generali’s 100th anniversary was celebrated in May 1932. In Rome, Prime Minister Benito Mussolini attended the official celebrations organised by the Company (above), while in Trieste it was the Duke of Aosta who represented the Royal Family during the AGM (below). To mark the solemn occasion, Generali minted a coin and published a book on its history – which has proven extremely useful in retracing the early years of the Company. A century of success 44
  11. 11. Looking in 1931 - Generali turns 100. 1932 - The solemn celebration in Rome is attended by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini. 1933 - Generali acquires a majority stake in Alleanza, a company that will emerge as one of the main players in the life business over the following decades. Fresh initiatives are taken in the agricultural sector, including the acquisition of the 2,300-hectare farm at Portonovo. The Dopolavoro (after-work club) of Assicura- zioni Generali is established in Trieste, in line with the other recreational clubs promoted by the Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro (the Italian Fascist leisure and recreational organisation). 1934 - The nominal value of Generali shares is Acquisition of Alleanza. With a view to expand- doubled and the share capital increases from ing into the life business market, Generali acquired 60 to 120 million Liras. Alleanza Assicurazioni in 1933. The company had been established in Genoa in 1898. 1937 - The central accounting department sets up an electromechanical accounting unit powered by modern Hollerith machines, thanks to the great mathematician Bruno de Finetti, formerly Generali employee and sub- worth nearly 300 million. The Company’s share sequently consultant of the Company. capital had risen from 13 million at the end of the 1938 - Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata is appointed war to 60 million Liras and was soon to be doubled chairman. 1940 - Italy’s entry into World War II leads to the imme- through a free capital increase. Generali could also diate severing of all contacts with Group companies record with pride that no dividend payment had and branches in France, England and in all Common- wealth countries. ever been defaulted, not even in the gloomiest pe- riods. Fifty years after the creation of its first sub- Technology. The electromecha- sidiary, the Group included some thirty compa- nical accounting unit at the Cen- nies, with new ones to be set up over the follow- tral Head Office in Trieste was equipped with Hollerith tabula- ing years in Italy, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Po- ting machines, which represen- ted state-of-the-art technology land and the Netherlands. Real estate investment in the Thirties. was constantly pursued, to such an extent that the Generali city. The strong impetus overall worth of Generali’s assets amounted to over given to real estate investment in the Thirties was forcefully repre- 700 million in 1939. In this context, fresh initiatives sented in this poster depicting an ideal “Generali city” through a pho- were taken between 1933 and 1936 in the agricul- tomontage of the Company’s most tural sector, where five new farms increased total prestigious buildings in the world. 1931-1940 45
  12. 12. 1951-1960 1931-1940 The golden age of posters The Twenties and the Thirties were the golden age linked to contemporary events. On this page: Con- en part in a truly significant deed. Following the of posters. These, starting as a medium of mass tadina con fascio di grano – female farmer hold- conquest of Ethiopia and the proclamation of the communication – one of the very first – soon ing a sheaf of wheat – (M. Dudovich, 1938), a sub- empire, posters began to feature the environment attained the status of art. Generali, which in those ject inspired by the government’s “Battle of Wheat”, and the symbols of Italian Oriental Africa, as in Il legionario e l’africano seminatori – the sowing years was in the process of re-launching its busi- launched with the aim of achieving self-sufficiency legionary and African (M. Dudovich, 1937). Fi- ness after the war, extensively used this tool to pro- in the production of grain; Il ritorno del legionario nally, the poster of the 6° Campionato del mare mote its products, calling on the most talented art- – the return of the legionary – (G. Boccasile, 1937), (G. Rosa Salva, 1940), a rowing championship, ists to design its posters. In the Thirties, the imag- which – although reflecting the rural character of evokes wartime memories with its motto “during es shown on posters, though relaying a convincing the country – expresses not only the joy of home- the war sport is a must”. message of reassurance, were always somehow coming but also the soldier’s pride in having tak- The recovery 46
  13. 13. International expansion. On the eve of World War II, Generali had reached its maximum inter- national expansion, as clearly indicated in the above map. Opportunities for expansion came with the Italian colonial adventure in eastern Africa. The Italian conquests inspired highly original advertising campaigns, such as the brochures entitled I risparmi di Faccetta nera, below (literally: Little Black Face’s savings), written by Orio Vergani. On the right, the Generali agency in Addis Ababa, in Abyssinia. land property by over 5,000 hectares. The constant and rapid growth of business, organisation and as- sets was matched not only by an upgrading of ad- ministrative and managerial structures, but also by greater investments in technology, which was beginning to develop in those years. Already in the early Thirties, a “pilot” automated device had been utilised for the calculation of mathematical reserves. This first, successful experiment led the Company to set up an electromechanical account- ing unit, equipped with Hollerith tabulating ma- chines, supporting the central accounting depart- ment and fulfilling the technical needs of the vari- ous lines of business. Giuseppe Volpi di Misura- ta. In 1938, Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata was appoint- ed chairman of the Compa- ny. Born in Venice, Volpi di Misurata started his career as an entrepreneur in inter- national trade, energy and industry, after which he held a number of significant pub- lic posts: Governor of Tripol- itania (whose high uniform he is wearing in the portrait on the left), Senator and Fi- nance Minister. 1931-1940 47
  14. 14. 1931-1940 Sustaining the industrial development. In the Thirties, Generali and its main subsidiaries actively took part in the initiatives carried out by the manufacturing sector, taking part in important exhibitions and trade fairs, in Italy and abroad, where the best of the country’s indus- trial output was on show. When World War II broke out in 1939, Assicurazi- oni Generali was at its peak in terms of assets and business expansion: the sales network in It- aly could rely on over 3,000 agencies and sub- agencies, Parent Company branches and region- al head offices in 40 countries, and the Generali Group included 60 companies. A popular sport. As passion for foot- ball grew in Italy – thanks also to the string of extraordinary successes of the all-vanquishing squad which won the World Cup in 1934 and 1938 and the Olympic Gold Medal in Berlin in 1936 – L’Agendina del Calcio (the Football Agenda) distributed by Gene- rali was a big hit with the public. The dawn of mass motorisation. FIAT Balilla hit the roads in 1932. It was Italy’s first version of the utility car – “everyone’s car” as the ads put it. Cartoons come to life. In 1937, nine years after creating Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney produced Snowhite and the Seven Dwarfs, the first ever feature-length animated film. A century of success 48
  15. 15. Looking out The rise of Nazism. In 1934, following the death of President Paul von Hindenburg, 1931 - Japan invades Manchuria. Adolf Hitler (who had been made Chancel- The Empire State Building is con- lor the previous year), proclaimed himself structed in New York. Führer of the Third Reich, concentrating all powers in his hands. 1932 - Democrat Franklin D. Roo- sevelt is elected President of the United States and launches the New Deal to create jobs for over 12 mil- lion unemployed people. Al Capone is arrested for tax eva- sion. 1933 - The National Institute for Social Security (INPS) is established in Italy. 1934 - In China, the People’s Communist Army led by Mao Zedong sets off on the Long March. Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is pub- lished. 1936 - American black sprint- er Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at the Olympic Games in Berlin. 1937 - Italy joins the anti-Comintern pact formed in the previous year by Germany and Japan, and leaves the League of Nations. 1938 - During the Kristallnacht, a campaign of terror unleashed throughout the German Reich by the Nazi Party, many Jewish stores and houses are destroyed. 1939 - Gone with the Wind and Stagecoach are screened. Spanish civil war. In 1936, the military coup led by Francisco Franco against the republican government triggered a civil war that would last three years and bring Franco to power at the cost of a million dead. The horrors of the civil war were immortalised by Picasso in his masterpiece Guernica. The invasion of Poland. On Septem- ber 1, 1939, German troops invaded Poland and united Danzig to the Reich. Two days later, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany: World War II had begun. 1931-1940 49
  16. 16. 1941-1950 The losses of the Second World War R ight from the outset, the Second World War had disastrous effects on Generali’s activities. All contacts were immediately lost in all ene- my countries, while those with non-belligerent states proved increasingly difficult. The USA’s entry into the war led to the seizure of 2.5 mil- lion Dollars, which the Company had not been allowed to transfer. When the war reached Italy in 1943, contacts with the operating structure were seriously undermined: soon they were limited to the North East, Piedmont and Lom- bardy, while abroad the Central Head Office maintained relations only with Austria and Ger- many. Despite the irremediable dete- rioration of the situ- ation, Generali was able to close its an- nual accounts and Italy divided. In 1943, war was fought on Italian soil: the Allied troops landed in Sicily and the German retreated putting up strong resistance. Following the armistice signed by the Badoglio government, the Social Republic of Italy was set up in the North: the country was divided in two and Generali lost all contacts with its agencies in the South. The end of the conflict. The red flag of the USSR is hoisted atop the Reich- stag: Berlin had fallen and Germany unconditionally surrendered in early May 1945. In the Far East, barely three months later, two atom bombs were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, forcing Japan to surrender. The losses of the Second World War 50
  17. 17. The uncertain destiny of Trieste. On May 1, 1945, Yugoslav partisan formations led by Marshall Tito, entered Trieste. During the 40-day occupation, the city and the entire Istria peninsula witnessed the unfolding of atrocities as thousands of Italian citizens were thrown into karstic wells, known as foibe. After June 12, the control of Trieste was transferred to the Allied forces, which would administer the city until 1954. Faced with the city’s uncertain future, Generali decided to trans- fer its Registered Office to Rome. In the photos, from top: The Yugoslav flag flies over the Trieste Town Hall; ANZAC troops from New Zealand enter the city; searching for victims in the Basovizza foiba; Generali’s Central Head Office is partially con- fiscated by the Allied Military Gov- ernment. The Second World War 1939 - September 1: Germany invades Poland. Two days later Britain and France declare war on Germany. 1940 - June 10: Italy declares war on France and Britain. 1941 - December 7: Japanese airplanes launch a surprise attack against the US fleet at Pearl Harbor. 1943 - February 2: German troops are routed by the Red Army at Stalingrad. July 10: Anglo-American troops land in Sicily. July 25: in Italy, the Fascist regime falls and Mus- solini is arrested. A new government, led by Field Marshall Badoglio, takes office. September 8: the armistice between Italy and the Allies is announced; the country is severed in two. 1944 - June 6: Allied forces land in Normandy. 1945 - February 11: the conference between the three chief Allied leaders – Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin – closes at Yalta (photo above). April 25: an insurrection breaks out in northern Italy; on the 28th of the same month, Mussolini is executed by the partisans. April 30: Hitler commits suicide; he is succeeded by Admiral Dönitz who, a few days later signs an unconditional surrender: the war in Europe is over. August 6: an atomic bomb is dropped over Hiro- shima; three days later another bomb flattens Nagasaki: Japan surrenders. October 24: the Charter of the United Nations, which had been approved earlier on June 26 at the San Francisco conference by the heads of state of fifty countries, comes into force. 1946 - October 1: the Nuremberg trial comes to a close. Twelve death penalties are inflicted against German war criminals. 1947 - Sixteen European nations endorse the European Recovery Program (ERP), also known as the Marshall Plan after the American Secretary of State who proposed it. 1951-1960 51
  18. 18. 1941-1950 Looking out 1943 - Harvard Professor Howard H. Aiken as- sembles the first electromechanical computing device, the Mark I, which is over 50 ft long and to convene its shareholders’ meetings all the made up of almost 760,000 pieces. way up to 1944. All corporate deadlines were 1944 - With the Bretton Woods agreement, which establishes the International Monetary Fund and the regularly met again immediately after the end International Bank for Reconstruction and Develop- of the conflict, with the convening of the AGM ment, the monetary system is pegged to the convert- ibility of the US Dollar into gold. in 1946, when shareholders approved the 1944 1945 - George Orwell’s Animal financial statements. Slowly, relations were Farm, an allegoric satire of Stalin- ism, is published. once again resumed with the Company’s oper- 1946 - After the Italian constitu- ating units, in Italy at first – where the crisis unit tional referendum of June 2, vot- in Rome had continued to co-ordinate activi- ers – including, for the first time, women – choose the republic, ties in the centre and in the South – and then bringing the monarchy to an end. abroad. After 40 days of Yugoslav occupation, The first official television transmission is broad- cast in the United States. Trieste was separated from Italy and handed 1947 - Great Britain grants independence to In- over to the Allied Military Government for Oc- dia, which is partitioned into the Indian Union, cupied Territories. Due to the uncertainty over with a majority of Hindus, and Pakistan, with a large majority of Muslims. the future of the city, Generali chose to trans- 1948 - After the proclamation of the state of Isra- fer its Registered Office to Rome in 1945, thus el, Arab troops enter Palestine: it is the first Arab-Israeli war. formalising its position as an Italian company, Mahatma Gandhi is murdered by while the Central Head Office remained in Tri- Nathuram Godse, a Hindu fanatic. este. If material losses turned out to be less se- 1949 - Twelve countries (Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portu- gal and the USA) sign the North Atlantic Treaty, which leads to the creation of NATO. Ethologist Konrad Lorenz (Nobel prize in Medi- cine in 1973) publishes King Solomon’s Ring. The plane carrying Torino Calcio crashes on Su- perga hill killing all the players who had domi- nated Italian football by winning five champion- ships in a row. Back to normal. The end of the war saw Europe under a heap of rubble, burdened by the weight of over 30 million dead. However, the desire to forget and to return to life was strong and all occasions, such as Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali’s cycling feats and fierce sporting rivalry at the Giro d’Italia and at the Tour de France, pro- vided a welcome diversion from the arduous task of living. The losses of the Second World War 52
  19. 19. THE GENERALI GROUP’S EXPANSION IN AMERICA Looking in 1943 - Antonio Cosulich is appointed chairman. Following the armistice announced on Septem- ber 8, the Company is no longer in contact with its agencies in central and southern Italy, where operations are co-ordinated by a special crisis unit set up in Rome. 1945 - The uncertain destiny of Trieste, which has been handed over to the Allied Military Govern- ment for Occupied Territories, leads Generali to transfer its Registered Office to Rome, while the Central Head Office is maintained in Trieste. The end of the war brings about the loss of all company assets in central and eastern Europe, where incoming governments have nationalised insurance activity. 1947 - The share capital is increased from 120 million to 1.2 billion Liras. Successive rights issue operations will raise company capital to 4 billion. Anonima Infortuni and Anonima Grandine are merged into Assicurazioni Generali. 1948 - Mario Abbiate is appointed chairman. Following the acquisition of Providencia in THE GENERALI GROUP’S Argentina, Generali once again expands activ- EXPANSION IN THE ity abroad, focusing its attention on markets overseas. MEDITERRANEAN AREA 1950 - Generali takes over a controlling stake in Buffalo, an insurance company based in New York State. rious than expect- ed considering Resuming business: in Italy… With the end of the war, contacts the sheer violence between the Veneto Head Office and agencies in the South were and extension of re-established. … and abroad. Already by the end of the Forties, the extension of the conflict, the or- the Group’s network of interests had returned to pre-war levels, with the exception of all the assets definitively lost in central-eastern ganisational con- Europe, which were offset by a series of new acquisitions in South sequences of the America. Above, Generali headquarters in Buffalo, USA. war were dramat- erations had resumed in most of western Eu- ic. All company assets in central and eastern Eu- rope, where all company assets had been re- rope – especially those in Hungary, Czechoslo- instated. The return to normality in the Mid- vakia, Poland and Romania, but also those in dle East and overseas would take a few more Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania and East Germa- years, although the Company sought new ny – were irremediably lost. These included a markets, focusing its attention on Latin Amer- vast network of branch offices and agencies, ica. In Argentina a branch office was opened 14 insurance subsidiaries (often leading play- in 1948 and a majority stake in a local concern ers in the domestic scene), real estate compris- was acquired, completing the expansion strat- ing 186 buildings and all other Generali assets egy in that area, which already included op- were seized as war damages or nationalised. In erating units in Brazil, Guatemala, Venezuela, the other markets, despite extreme difficulties, Ecuador and Colombia. reconstruction was launched and, by 1948, op- 1941-1950 53
  20. 20. After work… commitment to sports S haring commitment to sports certainly con- ment, whereas the Dopolavoro of the Generali tributes to strengthening Group spirit and af- Central Head Office can be traced back to 1933. ter-work clubs have played an important role in Over the following 75 years, the Lion was seen this regard since the beginning of the 20 cen- in a large number of initiatives, with teams of th tury. In Italy, the Opera Nazionale Dopolavo- the numerous Generali Group clubhouses tak- ro was founded in 1925 by the fascist govern- ing part in real sports competitions, amateur challenges among the employees of different Group companies and sporting performances where personal satisfaction, rather than official prizes, was the main reward. Since its foundation, the Trieste Passion for the mountains: Generali Clubhouse has taken a colleague of Generali part in a large number of sports Pojišt’ovna waves a flag with competitions. In the picture: the the Generali logo at a height start of a cycle-tourist race. of over 6,000 meters. The European Marathon in Trieste, sponsored by Generali, attracts a large number of colleagues from different countries every year. In the pictures: two groups of athletes at the Generali Clubhouse terrace and before the start. After work… commitment to sports 54
  21. 21. 2005: the Generali Hong 2005: the annual AMB Kong team wins the Ri- Generali Cup is played chards Butler Five-A-Side among the football teams Football Competition – a of the Group’s German prominent local amateur companies and a repre- championship – for the sentative team of the Ital- second year in a row. ian Central Head Office. 1998: double challenge in Barcelona, where the teams of Vitalicio and Assicurazioni Gene- rali in Trieste compete against each other in a football and basketball match. 2007: bicycle riders of Ge- nerali Switzerland cover the 600 km distance and 10,000-meter discontinuity from Rapperswil to Venice in five days. 2007: the basketball teams of the Central Head Office and Generali France chal- lenge each other in Paris. 1997: the “flying lions” of the Milan Generali Club- house take a 1,200-km bi- cycle ride through Vienna and Prague, where they are welcomed by their lo- cal colleagues.