In 1886, just six years after Munich Reinsurance Company was established in Munich, it opened an office in Paris. It was the company’s second business establishment outside of Germany and thus one of the earliest steps towards the clearly defined international business orientation that characterises Munich Re.
Paul von der Nahmer, the nephew of company founder Carl von Thieme, opened the local office in rue Vivienne and began with the acquisition of marine business. The business transacted in Paris prompted Munich Re to introduce a French version of its Annual Report as early as 1887/88.
Reinsurers were confronted with a difficult environment at that time, one of the factors being that risks were mainly ceded on a facultative basis only in the French market. Antiselection and other difficulties relating to terms and conditions were to persist for years and, in 1902, even brought the underwriting of French business to a temporary halt for many reinsurers.
Our Paris office, then known as a general agency, also handled business from Belgium and Spain. Business contacts with the insurance companies of these markets were under the exclusive control of the Paris office. With this client proximity and the interaction between Munich and the business unit, confidence in the quality of our local staff was an essential criterion.
The significance of the French insurance industry for the markets of French-speaking Africa is also important to mention. French and German market players encountered one another frequently in the second half of the 20th century, pursuing business on a continent that remains promising to this day.
Munich Re, Paris – one of our oldest non-German business units – looks back on over a century of commitment to the market and our local clients. During that time, we have grown and developed, weathering economic and political turbulence. Throughout these changes, one thing has remained the same: the firmly established relationship and spirit of partnership between Munich Re and the French insurance industry is a solid basis for developing excellent and up-to-date solutions to our clients’ risk needs.