T hanks to reconstruction efforts of the previous erations in the new and dynamic economies
five-year period, Generali entered the Fifties in a of Latin America and Australia, as well as in the
position of regained normality. The picture was world’s largest market: the USA, where the New
aptly outlined in an annual report published in York Branch was reopened following the ac-
that period: “The Company, whose prestige has quisition of Buffalo Insurance Company. In the
remained unscathed in the tumultuous events mid-Fifties, the Generali Group had operations
in some sixty countries on five continents and
was a leading player in key European markets
(France, Spain, Austria and Germany), where it
had been present for several decades. This was
a literally unprecedented territorial expansion.
No doubt, growth was favoured by the positive
international and domestic economic climate.
In most markets, economic recovery was solid,
thanks also to the massive reconstruction un-
derway – especially in those countries where
the war had been most destructive. The Italian
economy, buoyed by the overall positive out-
look, was solidly sustained by exports,
A tradition rekindled. Started in the Thirties, the ritual of
feeding pigeons in Piazza San Marco was again put into which – thanks to the healthy bal-
practice in 1953.
of the past years, has been able to extend opera-
tions to new important markets while consoli-
dating its presence in the traditional ones.” With-
out considering the assets lost in eastern Europe,
in a number of former British colonies (India and
Burma) and in China (after the declaration of the
People’s Republic in 1949), the extension of Ge-
nerali’s network abroad was virtually the same
as prior to the world conflict. Simultaneously,
significant steps were being taken to boost op-
The Milan Head Office is established. In 1947,
Generali’s two historic hail and accident subsid-
iaries – Anonima Grandine and Anonima Infor-
tuni, both of which had been founded at the end
of the previous century – were incorporated into
the Parent Company. Their organisational struc-
tures formed the base of the Milan Head Office,
with headquarters in piazza Cordusio, which be-
gan operations in 1955.
1951 - Standard General is acquired in Johannes-
burg, South Africa.
1953 - Mario Tripcovich is appointed chairman.
The European Insurance and Reinsurance Fed-
eration (CEA – Comité Européen des Assurances)
is set up. By grouping the insurance associations
of 18 European countries, its aim is to promote
harmonisation of sector regulations. CEA’s first
chairman is Ranieri Babboni, previously a legal
consultant for Generali.
1955 - The Milan Head Office, whose task is to
manage operations in the TPL, accident and
health lines of business in Italy, is established.
1956 - Camillo Giussani is appointed chairman.
Generali celebrates its 125th anniversary with
Generali acquires Vanguard, an insurance com-
pany based in Sydney, Australia.
1960 - Gino Baroncini is appointed chairman.
ance of payments – became fuel for
growth. In the decade, the volume of
exports grew four times, that of reserves
currencies eight times.
In this scenario, Generali devoted con-
siderable attention to reorganising
its structure in the Italian market by
streamlining management, improving
co-ordination and containing adminis-
trative costs. Within this framework, the
most significant change was the crea-
tion – in 1955 – of the Milan Head Office,
which took over the activities previously
carried out by the two long-established
subsidiaries Anonima Grandine and
Trieste reverts to Italian rule.
Following the agreement be-
tween the Italian and Yugoslav
governments with the London
memorandum in 1954, Trieste – where the Company had been estab-
lished and its Central Head Office had always been located – returned to
Italy after a decade of foreign military rule. Il Bollettino, the Company’s
house organ, published Trieste Nostra, a deeply felt celebration of the
city’s “second redemption”, thereby ideally joining the 100,000 who wel-
comed the Bersaglieri regiment in Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia.
1951 - American endocrinologist Gregory Pincus
creates the oral contraceptive pill.
1952 - Elisabeth II is crowned Queen of Britain.
Anonima Infortuni. The task of the new unit, 1953 - New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepa-
lese sherpa Tenzing Norgay conquer Mt Everest.
over the next three decades, was to manage
The warring factions in Korea sign the Panmun-
operations in the TPL, accident and health sec-
jom armistice, whereby the 38th parallel becomes
the border between North and South
tors in Italy.
Among the many events of the decade, two had
1954 - The first nuclear submarine, the
a particularly significant impact on the Company Nautilus, designed by Admiral Hyman
G. Rickover, is launched.
and marked the symbolic end of a tormented
Elvis Presley sings his first chart busters:
phase and the opening up of new opportuni- That’s All Right Mama and
Blue Moon of Kentucky.
1956 - The Suez crisis erupts after
the Canal is nationalised by Egypt.
The Soviet military intervention
in Hungary quashes the reformist
movement led by Imre Nagy, who is
1957 - The dog Laika is the first living creature to
be shot into space onboard Sputnik 2.
Feltrinelli publishes Boris Pasternak’s Doctor
Zhivago, which had been banned in the Soviet
Union for its “slanderous” nature. Pasternak won
the Nobel prize in Literature in 1958.
Jack Kerouac publishes On the Road.
1958 - Pelé’s Brazil wins the World Football Cham-
pionship in Sweden.
1959 - The rebels led by Fidel
Castro and Che Guevara
seize power in Cuba.
Volvo patents the three-
point safety belt system.
The 125th anniversary. In 1956, Ge-
nerali celebrated its 125th anniver-
sary with two great events: on May
20 in Trieste, and on May 21 in Venice,
where the Group’s international gather-
ing – with over 8,000 members of staff from
31 countries – took place. In the photos: two mo-
ments of the Venice gathering; the ceremony in the
courtyard of Palazzo Ducale and the distribution
of mementos by workers of the Ca’ Corniani farm
dressed in traditional costumes.
The Polesine flooding. Italy, which was struggling back to normal-
ity after the war, was struck in 1951 by a catastrophic flood that sub-
merged the entire delta of the Po River, killing 84 and forcing thou-
sands to leave their homes. The nation responded generously to the
tragedy. The insurance industry – through its association ANIA –
donated over 40 million Liras in relief funds. Besides the significant fi-
nancial aid, topped up by donations from individual employees, Ge-
nerali hosted over 100 children, aged between 6 and 12, from the dis-
aster areas in its farm at Ca’ Corniani.
ties. On October 26, 1954, Trieste – which hosted
the Central Head Office – reverted to Italian rule
after a decade of foreign occupation. On March
25, 1957, the treaties establishing the European
Economic Community and the European Atomic
Energy Community were signed in Rome. This
was the first step of the process that would ul-
timately lead to the creation of the European
Union and of the single currency. Generali, a Eu-
ropean company by vocation, was ready for the
The signing of the treaties of Rome. Representatives of the
German, French, Italian, Belgian, Luxembourg and Dutch
governments met in Rome on March 25, 1957 and signed
the treaties establishing the European Economic Communi-
ty and Euratom. It was the building block of the new Euro-
pean integration, whose first immediate goal was to create
a customs union to encourage the free circulation of goods
among member countries.
A major export boom. At the beginning of the Fifties, Italy had fully
emerged from the postwar recession. The economy, however, was still
under-developed, with over 40% of the active population working in
agriculture. Thanks to low labour costs and to the gradual opening of
foreign markets, the flow of Italian products abroad increased substan-
tially. Initially, exports mainly consisted of agricultural produce, but
starting from the second half of the decade the nascent Italian indus-
try – textile and mechanical – played an increasingly significant role
in the international market and paved the way for the major econom-
ic boom of the Sixties.
The years of the economic miracle
A fter the destructions caused by the war and the
reconstruction efforts of the Fifties, the outlook
for the new decade was bright with the promise
of more diffused wealth and greater economic
Italy witnessed the years of the “miracle”. National
income was constantly improving in real terms,
industrial output was booming and the balance of
payments was firmly in the black. However, public
spending both at a central and regional level was
Europ Assistance. Following an initiative by the French sub-
growing out of control. The insurance sector
sidiary La Concorde, Europ Assistance was established in
benefited from the positive economic trend and Paris. The new company, providing assistance to tourists and
workers abroad, offered a wide range of innovative servic-
particularly the overall increase in wages. Other
es. Over the decades, Europ Assistance has grown to become
positive aspects were the strong development of the world’s leading player in the business, supported by the
Generali Group international network in terms of marketing
trade and exchange between various economic and services.
areas and the spreading of mass motorisation.
In Europe, premium income was growing at an Australia and Latin America. However, some less
annual rate of 15%, while the pace was even positive factors did exist, such as the imbalance
faster in some emerging markets, namely Japan, between supply and demand. The motor third
party liability sector, for example, came under
the spotlight in all markets as a consequence
New headquarters in Milan. In 1961,
the Milan Head Office was transferred to
Via Tiziano. A truly imposing complex, the
new headquarters spread over 3,800
sqm (the façade was over 200 m long).
On the first floor was the Genera-
li logo: the St Mark’s lion in gilded
bronze, measuring three meters
at the base and two and half
metres in height.
The years of the economic miracle
1961 - Soviet cosmonaut Jury Gagarin is the first
man in space.
The Berlin wall is constructed to pre-
vent the exodus from East to West
1962 - Dr. No, the first film starring
Sean Connery as secret agent 007, is
1963 - US President John F. Kennedy
is assassinated in Dallas.
1965 - The Mont Blanc tunnel, which
connects Italy and France, is opened.
The Beatles release one of their big-
gest hits ever: Yesterday.
1967 - Surgeon Christiaan Barnard performs the
first human heart transplant operation.
1968 - Martin Luther King, leader of the move-
ment for the emancipation of black
people and Nobel peace laureate in
1964, is murdered.
Student revolts break out through-
out the world.
Jim Hines is the first man in the
world to run 100 meters in less than
Large risks. In the Sixties, growing assets in
the industrial and commercial sectors, concen- ten seconds.
trated economic interests in calamity prone ar-
1969 - A student from Prague, Jan Palach, dies
eas, increasingly large means of transport led
after setting himself on fire as a protest against
to serious difficulties in the handling of risks,
with huge sums being paid when claims arose.
It was in this period that the first ever space in-
surance policies were issued. Generali played a
leading role in this sector by designing a spe-
cific coverage for the San Mar-
co initiative, a space
project developed by
the Italian aeronautical
research centre in Rome together with NASA. In
the photo above, the Santa Rita platform, used
for the first ever Italian launch in 1964.
of the explosive and disorderly
development of car circulation in a
situation where road networks, the
legal framework and preventive
measures were still inadequate.
It was in these years that the
international insurance market
was beginning to confront the issue of large risks,
due to the increasing size of instruments used
for travel, life and work. These were the years of
the first jumbo jets, supertankers, megastores
1961-1970 Moonlanding. On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 blast-
ed off from ramp 39 at Cape Canaveral: destina-
tion Moon. On July 21, US mission commander Neil
Armstrong was the first man ever to set foot on the
Moon, an event which he defined as a “giant leap
and huge industrial plants. The demand for
increasingly extended coverage was beyond the
means not only of individual insurance companies
but often of the entire international insurance
system. As a result, insurers within the same
market were forced to pool resources to generate
greater underwriting capacity, while agreements
with foreign partners were signed to provide
satisfactory services for international clients. The
Generali Group, which was directly affected by
the changing scenario in view of its international
structure and position, was among the first to
pursue this policy. An important partnership
with Aetna Life & Casualty, the largest multi-
branch insurance group in the USA, was signed
in 1966. A few years earlier, acknowledging the
importance of the British underwriting market
for international risks, Generali had set up the
United Kingdom Branch in London, thereby re-
The Prague Spring of 1968. The crowd watches
helplessly as Warsaw Pact tanks invade Czechoslo- establishing those relations, which had been
vakia to bring to an end the short-lived democrat-
severed in the war years. Generali’s policy aimed
at strengthening its international presence was,
however, affected by the protectionist trends
that were emerging in several developing
Motorisation comes of age. As available income in households
grew thanks to the “economic miracle”, Italy witnessed the phenom-
enon of mass motorisation: the number of circulating vehicles in-
creased from less than two million in 1960 to over ten million in
1970. The rapid diffusion of cars was sustained by the development
of an efficient road network: the A1 motorway linked Milan to Na-
ples in 1964.
The years of the economic miracle
1961 - The Milan Head Office is transferred
from Piazza Cordusio to the new building in Via
1963 - Generali re-enters the British market
by setting up the United Kingdom Branch in
London, operating in direct business as well as
On the initiative of La Concorde, Europ Assistance
is set up in France. The organisation will emerge
as the world’s biggest operator in the private
1964 - Generali makes its debut in space insur-
ance by providing the San Marco project with
coverage for the construction and
launching of Italian scientific satel-
Generali insures the transporta-
tion of the bronze door of St Peter’s
Basilica in Rome, made by Italian
sculptor Giacomo Manzù.
1966 - Generali signs an important
partnership with Aetna Life & Casu-
alty, the largest multi-branch group in the USA.
1968 - Cesare Merzagora is appointed chairman,
succeeding Gino Baroncini who is acclaimed hon-
orary chairman at the shareholders’ meeting.
1969 - Generali launches a series of initiatives
with a view to strengthening its ties with share-
holders: a service is set up to assist shareholders
in the administration of shares and a newsletter
The Generali-Aetna agreement. Above: The two chair- containing details of business trends is published
men Olcott D. Smith of Aetna and Gino Baroncini of Ge- twice a year, disclosing, for the first time, consoli-
nerali sign the agreement setting up important interna- dated figures.
tional co-operation between the two companies at the
new Milan headquarters in Via Tiziano.
following restrictions imposed on foreign
countries. As a matter of fact, numerous banks
operators, Generali was forced to pull out of
and insurance companies were nationalised
Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Algeria and Congo
in many of the countries where Generali had
and to curtail operations in Latin America.
heavily invested in postwar years. In particular,
Cesare Merzagora. In 1968, a public figure was called on to
chair the Company. An economist “involved in politics”, as he
liked to define himself, Cesare Merzagora gained solid expe-
rience in finance and industrial manufacturing and held nu-
merous government posts, including the second highest in-
stitutional role in Italy – President of the Senate – for three
legislatures in a row. In his private life, Merzagora was a fine
sculptor as well as talented medal maker and he etched sev-
eral influential figures of the 20th century.
Overcoming the crises
A t the beginning of the Seventies, the impressive ternational scenario was worsened by a crisis in
phase of growth that had lasted for two dec- industrial relations, which led to a series of mas-
ades began to ebb. Economic slowdown and sive strikes and ultimately to the loss in compet-
inflationary pressure went hand in hand with itiveness of Italian exports.
political and ideological tensions – to which The insurance industry
May 1968 in France had been a prelude – and was also directly affected
widespread union demands on industry. The by the bleak climate. Gal-
entire world system was rocked by a very seri- loping inflation combined
ous slump, which initially manifested itself on with recession led to the
the monetary front (with the suspension of the so-called stagflation, with
US Dollar’s gold con- tremendous repercussions
vertibility standard in on savings, industrial out-
August 1971) and sub- put and, consequently, pre-
sequently in the energy mium income. In turn, the
sector (with the explo- widespread currency fluc-
sive increase of prices tuations that followed the Technology. With a view
to boosting efficiency
decided by oil produc- end of the gold standard
and reducing costs, in
ing countries in 1973). triggered exchange risks. 1971 Generali set up a
new EDP centre, which
In Italy, this dramatic in- Another source of major
was equipped with state-
concern – especially in It-
aly – came from the motor
TPL sector, which had become compulsory in
1971. The “political” pricing policy imposed by
the government regardless of real underwriting
results recorded by insurance companies cre-
ated serious imbalance within the market, caus-
ing many insurers to fold up.
Generali, which could rely on very solid finances
at the beginning of the Seventies, quickly re-
alised the real extent of the crisis and decided
to accelerate its asset strengthening policy
launched in the late Sixties. Thus, a massive in-
vestment plan was implemented in the real es-
tate sector, which ultimately led to a doubling
of Generali’s property in three years. At the
Real estate investments. Between the end of the Sixties and the beginning of the Sev-
enties, a major investment campaign was launched in the real estate sector. Generali’s
urban real estate assets were doubled over a period of three years. Particularly remark-
able is the building designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in Segrate, near Mi-
lan, that would become the headquarters of the Italian publishing giant Mondadori.
Overcoming the crises
1972 - During the Olympic Games in Munich,
swimmer Mark Spitz wins seven gold medals; a
Palestinian attack against the Israeli team casts a
dark gloom over the games.
data processing unit The computerized axial tomog-
raphy (CAT) is used for the first
in Mestre. A new,
single marketing de- 1973 - Following the signing of
a peace agreement, the Unit-
partment was set up
ed States withdraws its troops
midway through the from Vietnam.
The motor TPL conundrum. In Italy, as a consequence
decade for branches The Gulag Archipelago by Ale-
of the high number of road accident victims – 10,000
ksandr Solzhenitsyn (Nobel prize in Literature in
deaths and 250,000 injuries every year – following the supervised by the
1970) is published: the book is a heart-rending in-
dizzying growth in the number of circulating cars, law-
Veneto and Milan dictment against the horrors of Soviet lagers.
makers made third party liability insurance compulsory.
The law was officially enforced on June 12, 1971. Rightly 1976 - Apple creates the first personal computer.
Head Offices, in a bid
hailed as a social conquest, and backed by insurers since
1977 - The meteorological satellite Meteosat is
to streamline and en-
the Fifties, motor TPL almost led to the collapse of the in-
launched into orbit.
surance industry due to the pricing policy imposed by the
hance the Company’s The film Star Wars opens the famous motion pic-
sales strategy and net-
1979 - After the flight into exile of Shah Reza Pahl-
work. In-depth reno-
same time, organisational structures and servic-
avi, Ayatollah Khomeini rises to power in Iran, where
an Islamic republic is subsequently declared.
vation also involved
es were restructured and rationalised to improve
The first elections for the European Parliament
the corporate image:
profitability and contain costs. From 1971, Gene-
take place; the European Monetary System,
the aim was to stand-
rali’s accounting and administrative operations joined by EEC member states with the exception
of Great Britain, is created.
ardise the Company’s
were concentrated in the Company’s hi-tech
1980 - The Polish inde-
presence in all mar-
pendent workers’ union
Solidarność is established.
kets around the short-
Bill Gates launches the MS-
ened name “Generali”
– easily pronounced in
all languages – combining it with a more mod-
ern graphic representation of the winged lion.
The new trademark was launched in 1971 and
sustained by a massive communication cam-
paign based on the slogan “from now on, call
us Generali”. In line with the objectives set,
the Parent Company’s trademark
and logo were also adopted
The great crises. In
1971, the suspension of
the convertibility of the US
Dollar into gold marked
the end of a system of fixed
exchange rates that had been in
force for thirty years. This led to a period of
great uncertainty in international trade. Two years lat-
er the oil crisis, triggered by the OPEC’s decision to increase
prices, accelerated the inflationary trend that was already
undermining economies in industrialised countries and
Space risks. To fos-
ter the exchange of
ideas with clients, Gene-
rali promoted an interna-
tional forum in 1979 to dis-
cuss the issues connected
to the commercial and in-
dustrial utilisation of space,
which soon emerged as a
crucial fixture in the agen-
da of space operators and
Industry and insurance.
Being aware of the neces-
to deal with new and highly
sity to establish a dialogue
with counterparts to work out sophisticated risks, such as
solutions to common issues, Genera-
those relating to satellites
li and Confindustria – the Confederation of
Italian Industry – promoted a roundtable to be held on a
or involving multi-national
biennial basis. The “Insurance and Industry” talks became
a traditional appointment, taking place at Villa Manin, the companies. As to the lat-
residence of Venice’s last Doge.
ter sector, a number of
by the new companies established over the fol- partnerships with promi-
lowing years as part of the restructuring process nent insurance groups – such as Mitsui, Taisho
in France, Belgium, Brazil and Austria. and Tokio from Japan and General Accident
For the first time, a Group trademark was also from Britain – integrated the agreement signed
introduced. The decision was dictated by the in the Sixties with the US Aetna group and
increasing need to co-ordinate and support proved particularly profitable. In the Seventies,
companies in various markets, with a view to Generali’s increasingly
harmonising strategies while maintaining each strategic focus on
company’s operative autonomy. It was with this the market found
in mind that consulting and technical assistance expression in a se-
provided to Group companies were strength- ries of initiatives, mainly
ened – especially with regard to for the benefit of share-
special risks, reinsurance and in holders and of the public
the asset and real estate manage- at large, aimed at provid-
ment sector. At the same time,
centralised structures were set up The Financial Statements
Award. Generali received this
award in 1970 from the insti-
tute for public relations.
A new corporate image. The reno-
vation of the Company’s organisa-
tional structures was reflected in the
creation of a new, more dynam-
ic corporate image: the lion
underwent a restyling, while
the logo was re-designed and
shortened to “Generali”. In
the photo, managing direc-
tor Fabio Padoa presents the
Overcoming the crises
1971 - A new trademark is launched with the
shortened name “Generali”.
Within the framework of a major organisational
overhaul, a new EDP centre is set up in Mestre.
1972 - Generali and Aetna establish the Genera-
li European Marketing Office (GEMO) in Brussels.
After its transfer to London, the unit changes its
name to Generali-Aetna European Marketing
Office (GAEMO) in 1977.
After nearly 30 years, the Company Articles of
Association are amended. Rules governing the
AGM are also introduced.
1974 - Genagricola is established. Starting in
1980, it will take over all the Group’s
1975 - Following the setting up of
a single marketing department for
the Milan and Veneto Head Offices,
The earthquake in Friuli. On May 6, 1976, a devastating
earthquake rocked the Friuli region in the North East Generali is the first company in Italy to adopt an
of Italy, killing 1,000 and leaving 100,000 homeless. underwriting planning and control system.
Generali, too, was affected by the disaster: two agency
1978 - The first conference promoted by Genera-
employees died, the agency of Gemona was completely
li and Confindustria – the Confederation of Ital-
destroyed, the offices in Spilimbergo, San Daniele and
ian Industry – is held at Villa Manin, near Venice.
Tolmezzo were severely damaged, while numerous other
The aim of the biennial conference is to discuss
buildings were also hit.
1979 - Enrico Randone is appointed chairman,
ing complete information on Group activities.
succeeding Cesare Merzagora who is acclaimed
honorary chairman at the shareholders’ meeting.
Particularly significant was the publication of
The Middle East Office
a consolidated Group statement – considered
Branch is established.
to be the most suitable tool to provide an ex- Based in Dubai, its op-
erations mainly focus
haustive picture of Generali’s complex web
on reinsurance and on
of interests – and a half-yearly report by the providing support to
middle eastern multi-
chairman. These initiatives were extremely in-
novative at that time and obtained important
acknowledgments, such as the Tagliacedole
d’Oro and the Oscar di Bilancio (Financial State-
ments Award), awarded to an insurance com-
pany for the first time.
John Paul II. Following the sud-
den death (after a pontificate last-
ing only 33 days) of Albino Luciani,
Pope John Paul I, the Archbish-
op of Krakow Karol Wojtyla be-
came the new Pontiff.
The farming strategy
The first investment. With a view to New acquisitions. In the years between the two
diversifying assets set aside to back re- world wars, Italy invests heavily in agriculture
serves, Assicurazioni Generali decides thanks to the law enforced in 1928 to encourage
to invest in agriculture: the first acqui- reclamation of marshes and agricultural lands
in general. The Company thus further pursues
investments in agriculture by purchasing farms
in Emilia and in Tuscany, including the 2,300-
hectare Portonovo farm.
The land reform. Following the land reform, Ge-
nerali’s agricultural estate – which was enlarged
after the war with acquisitions in the country-
side around Rome and in Emilia – is halved: an
entire 1,700-hectare farm is expropriated, while
a further 2,000 hectares are handed over to
the “Fund for the establishment of small agri-
cultural properties” and to individual farmers.
Further investments are carried out in the Six-
sition is a 1,770-hectare plot in a marshy area ties, mainly to restructure and consolidate ex-
of the Veneto region. Following a massive land isting property and to enhance specialisation.
reclamation drive – culminating in 1879 with Generali launches a “protein plan” to develop
the installation of huge water pumping plants – the zootechnical sector and intensifies farm
Generali establishes the Ca’ Corniani farm. processing initiatives.
The farming strategy
Establishment of Genagricola. The need to op-
timise the management of such a wide range of
agricultural activities leads to the establishment
of a specialist company: Genagricola. The new
company begins operations with the acquisi-
tion of Poggiobello farm in eastern Friuli and
the San Martino farm in Lazio. Five other
farms were acquired between 1976
and 1978, giving a total area of
The concentration of ac-
tivities. In 1980, shareholders
approve the decision to transfer enters the rice farming and foresta-
all the Parent Company’s farmlands tion sectors, with the acquisition of two
to Genagricola, whose share capital is in- woods in the Carnia region and a rice farm
creased from 15 to 90 and, subsequently, to 123 near Pavia. In 1992, Generali takes over the
billion Liras. In the Eighties, Genagricola widens Sant’Anna estate, a producer of fine wines in the
the range of its activities by acquiring not only Veneto region. Some years later, Genagricola will
new property but also firms specialising in the transfer its headquarters to Sant’Anna.
production and sale of seeds, fungicides, insecti-
cides and powder serums.
New horizons. Genagricola expands to Roma-
1992 nia with the acquisition of 3,000 hectares of
Diversification and specialisation. With a view grain fields and 300 hectares of vineyards, in the
to further diversifying activities, Genagricola Timisoara region.
Genagricola chairman Giuseppe
Perissinotto points out the
area in Romania, where the
fields acquired in 2004 are
Towards new horizons
I n December 1981, Generali turned 150. The recorded another upsurge early in the Eighties,
event was solemnly celebrated in June of the fol- hitting an all-time high in Italy of 21.1%. To make
lowing year at the AGM for the approval of the matters worse, tight mon-
150 report. On that occasion, the meeting took etary policies adopted by
place at the Verdi theatre, Trieste’s opera-house. central banks in the main
After one and a half centuries, Generali’s posi- industrialised countries
tion was as strong as ever. It was leader in the – above all the US – seriously
domestic market, controlled a Group compris- slowed down the economy,
ing 35 insurance and 67 real estate and financial triggering a recessive climate
companies and was among the biggest players and growing unemployment.
in Europe. Generali’s accounts recorded an un- Insurers, too, had to face a
broken spell of good results, while its assets were string of problems: in the life
extremely solid. The Generali share was the blue sector, new business had prac-
chip in the Italian stock exchange, also thanks to tically ground to a halt as a
a 46.5% appreciation in 1981.
The overall economic picture, however,
was not a very favourable one: infla-
tion, which had exploded
in the mid-Seventies,
A century and a half. The pictures highlight moments of the
celebrations marking the Company’s 150th anniversary, which
were held in Trieste in 1982. From top to bottom: the special post-
age stamp issued for the occasion; the commemorative postcard
depicting the storm that struck Trieste on December 26, 1831, the
day when the Company was founded; the medal etched by Emilio
Greco and minted for the occasion; the San Giusto castle decorat-
ed with the Generali trademark for the gala evening; the AGM held
at the Verdi theatre.
Towards new horizons
Antarctic mission. In 1988, Generali in-
sured the Italian expedition to the Antarc-
tic. The initiative confirmed Generali’s com-
mitment to scientific research, which had
started sixty years earlier with the Nobile
polar mission in 1928.
1982 - Generali’s 150th anniversary is solemnly
celebrated with a series of official events.
1984 - “Generali: an open book” is the first
advertising campaign launched on the mass
1986 - Generali, in co-operation with Taisho,
opens its first branch in Japan.
in the course 1988 - Generali obtains the San Giusto d’oro, a
prize awarded to persons or organisations that
consequence of the enormous gap between the of the decade,
honour the name of Trieste in the world.
“technical rates” awarded to policyholders and individual life 1989 - The new Mogliano Head Office becomes
the current interest rates on savings. In non-life premium income
Following the establishment of AB-Generali
business, inflation bloated claims and premium grew at an aver-
Budapest, Generali is the first insurer to start
income was affected by the competitive pres- age annual rate a joint venture in an eastern European coun-
try that is still under a communist regime.
sure arising from the so-called cash-flow under- of 28%. Moreo-
Generali obtains the
writing: a practice aimed at achieving maximum ver, in 1982 Generali de- Premio Torta, a prize for the
restoration of the Squero
cash flow, even at the cost of charging non- signed the first policy in
Vecio in Venice, an old ship-
technical premium rates, ECUs (European Currency yard depicted in a painting
by Canaletto and currently
so as to take advantage Units) and the following
the headquarters of Gene-
of the high interest rates year it established Gener- rali’s nautical club.
1990 - The Registered Office
applied in the financial Comit mutual funds, in
is brought back to Trieste.
market. Thanks to its vast collaboration with Banca
international experience, Commerciale Italiana. In non-life business, the
Generali radically reno- Company further pursued its strategy aimed at
vated its life business in curbing the claims-to-premiums ratio – which
Italy by launching GESAV, continued to be a source of underwriting losses –
a highly innovative policy and at designing innovative products to encour-
ensuring excellent profit- age new business.
sharing. The success of Though absorbed in dealing with current prob-
the new policy was lems, Generali did not neglect to look ahead and
spectacular: to create the base for future development, espe-
Restorations. As part of the long-running initiative
aimed at safeguarding its real estate property, Genera-
li restored the historic San Marco café in Trieste, which
had been the favourite haunt of Italian patriots during
the Great War.
Italy’s ambassadors. In 1988 Generali’s gondolas
– caretakers of an ancient tradition – took part, as Italy’s
official representatives, in the opening ceremony of the
first New York International Art Festival.
cially in the Italian market. As early
as 1981, the Company had finalised
the acquisition in Mogliano Veneto
– between Venice and Treviso – of
a vast plot of land for the construction of more
modern headquarters, best suited for meeting
future challenges. Half-way through the decade,
Generali launched a vast technological upgrad-
ing project, with the installation in its offices of
thousands of computerised working stations
and the creation of a network linking all its
The Head Office for Italian
operations. Opened in 1989, the agencies. On the other hand, Generali’s expan-
new Mogliano Veneto complex
sion policy abroad in the early Eighties remained
– on the mainland near Venice –
houses the departments super-
very cautious and only highly selective acquisi-
vising operations in Italy, a task
originally managed separately tions were carried out.
by the Milan and Veneto Head
However, the international scenario was rapidly
Offices. The futuristic complex,
which spreads over an area of 34
changing: in the wake of the US, world economy
hectares and includes 55,000 sqm
of office space, is the venue of the was gradually moving out of recession, accom-
new IT unit, the Group School, the
panied by the good performance of internation-
underwriting, administrative and
marketing departments, as well al stock markets. Inflation, too, was beginning to
as the centralised archives and
slow down, following the stabilisation of raw ma-
terial prices. However, it was on the political side
that the signs of the changing times were more
evident. The rise to power in the Soviet Union of
Towards new horizons
World Cup glory. In 1982, the
Italian football team, coached
by Enzo Bearzot, won the World
Cup in Spain: it was Italy’s third
1981 - The first flight of the Space Shuttle pro-
title. On the right, the commem-
gram blasts off from Cape Canaveral.
1982 - Philips and Sony launch the compact
disc on the Japanese market.
Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985
1983 - The marketing of Swatch watches
and the implementation of starts.
1986 - During the 27th Congress of the Com-
the perestroika – a sweeping
munist Party of the Soviet Union in Moscow,
reform policy – triggered an Mikhail Gorbachev announces the beginning
unstoppable process culmi-
Reactor unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear
nating in two great symbolic
power station in Ukraine explodes, causing a
events: the fall of the Berlin major nuclear disaster.
Reinhold Messner is the first man in the world to
wall and the Tienanmen up-
climb all fourteen peaks in the Himalaya exceed-
rising in Beijing, both in 1989. ing a height of 8,000 metres.
These were the first warning 1987 - Intifada, the Palestinian uprising against
Israeli occupation, starts.
signs of a process that – over
1989 - The American
the following decade – would tanker Exxon Valdez
spills 35,000 tons of oil
lead to globalisation, in which economic, po- Europe, from which
in the sea in Alaska.
litical and social events would have a planetary it had been expelled
1990 - Iraqi troops
impact, thanks also to the new information over forty years ear- invade Kuwait.
technology, capable of cancelling both time and lier. That was just the
space distances. first step towards new challenges. Facing a glo-
Generali’s actions were in line with the chang- bal market requires adequate size, a widespread
ing times, and the Company was in a position international presence, ability to achieve syner-
to seize opportunities and rise to challenges as gies as well as expertise and advanced technolo-
they emerged. A clear indication that times were gy. These facts were well known in the corporate
indeed changing was the decision to purchase world, which had often been characterised by
a significant stake in a Hungarian company: the
operation marked Generali’s return to eastern
The wall comes down. In November 1989, the wall
that had divided Berliners for thirty years came
crashing down as the citizens of the East took to the
streets. The fall of the symbol that stood for the di-
Tienanmen Square, Beijing. On April 17, 1989, thou-
vision between two opposing visions of the world
sands of Chinese students demanded democratic re-
heralded the advent of globalisation – a new era in
forms by occupying the capital’s largest square. The dem-
which events and ideas have planetary implications
onstration was crushed by the army in June, bringing the
movement to an abrupt and bloody end.
Growth of average life expectancy
in Italy from 1890 to 1990
Life expectation increases. One of
the most visible consequences of in-
creased wealth in the last centu-
ry has been longer life expectan-
cy. In the last decades of the mil-
lennium, longer life has seriously
affected the stability of state pen-
sion systems and boosted demand
for additional insurance-oriented
private pension schemes.
ing a common corporate identity.
At the same time, the Company
was taking steps to strengthen its
international presence with the ac-
disorder- quisition of new companies and the
ly merger and opening of branches in numerous
acquisition campaigns. Against markets such as Japan, Switzerland,
this highly competitive background, Generali Belgium, Germany, Great Britain and
was successful in finalising its projects: in 1989, it the United States. The largest operation, howev-
inaugurated the first section of the Head Office er, was the take-over bid for Compagnie du Midi
for Italian Operations in Mogliano Veneto, near in France launched in late 1987. Though the bid
Venice, which housed the new IT centre – the was unsuccessful, the operation marked a turn-
technological heart of the Company – and the ing point in Generali’s international expansion
Group School for the professional training and strategy, paving the way for the important acqui-
upgrading of its employees, with a view to forg- sitions of the Nineties.
Generali in space. As evidence of the Company’s
Back to the East. In 1989, Generali became the first insurer from the West
leading role in the complex space insurance sector,
to initiate a joint venture in an eastern European country that still had a
the Generali trademark was reproduced on a launch-
communist government. Above: chairman Enrico Randone, Generali CEO
er that orbited the Soviet spacecraft Soyuz from the
in Austria Dietrich Karner and the head of the Hungarian state insurer Alla-
Bajkonur space centre.
mi Biztositó join hands to mark the setting up of AB-Generali Budapest.
Towards new horizons
The Company’s share capital growth
Generali is founded with a share capital of 2 million
Florins, divided in 2,000 shares of 1,000 Florins each.
Generali shares are listed for the first time
on the Trieste Stock Exchange (right).
The company capital is
converted into Crowns.
Generali becomes Italian. Its share capital,
now expressed in Liras, amounts
to 13.2 million.
On the eve of World War II,
following two rights issues and a split
operation, the capital rises to 120 million Liras; the face
value of each share is 200 Liras.
Following the postwar monetary devaluation, the company capital is increased
initially from 1.2 billion and successively to 4 billion Liras through three operations.
Starting 1951, seven bonus issue operations bring up company capital to 16 billion Liras.
With three operations, including rights and bonus issues, the company capital
increases to 41.1 billion Liras.
In ten years, eight bonus issue operations raise the company capital to 420 billion Liras.
In order to finance the large expansion of the Nineties, the company capital
is brought up to
2,506 billion Liras.
The company capital is
converted into Euros.
On July 21, 2008, Assicurazioni Generali’s share capital
amounts to 1,410,029,542 Euros.
The Company’s share capital growth 75
A leading player in the global market
T he drive towards globalisation was growing. ingly complex demands and thus to lure them
Barriers were falling not only in geopolitics but away from competitors. In this context, insur-
also on a business level. As competitive pressure ance was gradually expanding into the area of
increased, many operators were setting their financial services, on which a growing number
sights away from their traditional core activi- of savers were relying for their changing needs.
ties, making inroads into related business. The Among these, was the demand for additional
aim was to provide clients with an ever wider pension coverage that had been stimulated
range of services, in order to meet their increas- by the crisis of state funded pension systems.
In Italy, this situation boosted the life insurance
sector, which passed from 25% to 60% of over-
all premium income in just a decade. Quite nat-
urally, the boom attracted a significant number
of big banking and financial groups.
As an answer to these changes, which were
taking place in all major markets, Generali re-
sponded by signing business co-operation
agreements with prominent banking groups
and by designing innovative life products (in-
The European Union. On February 7, 1992, the ministers
of the twelve countries that made up the EEC signed the
Maastricht treaty, defining the process for the establish-
ment of the European Union.
Generali without frontiers. In 1990, the Company‘s
growing international presence was highlighted by the
launch of an innovative advertising campaign in the
main countries of operation that hinged around the catch
phrase “Generali: the insurer without frontiers”. Generali’s
example – it was the first insurance group to present itself
with a unique message worldwide and a strong corporate
identity – would soon be imitated by competitors.
A leading player in the global market