Start of a new era of research into risk

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Start of a new era of research into risk (1970–1995)

Until well into the 1960s, risks in the insurance industry are quantified using comparatively simple statistical methods. Earlier than many other reinsurers, Munich Re sets up new departments in which risks were systematically researched and scientifically evaluated. The main focus is initially on geo risks like earthquakes and storms. Engineering classes of insurance also play an increasingly important role. Within just a few years, Munich Re recruits many additional experts from scientific and technical disciplines and develops mathematical models for calculating risk.

1970 – New subsidiary in Australia
Munich Re establishes Munich Reinsurance Company of Australia Limited in Melbourne. The subsidiary starts to operate in the summer of 1970, with offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

1974 – Geo Risks Research Department established
The number of natural disasters is rising sharply. The “Joint Office for Natural Hazards” is established at Munich Re. Under its later name of Geo Risks Research, it soon develops into an indispensable partner for politicians, scientists, industrialists and insurers worldwide.

1974 – First woman on the Board of Management
The Doctor of Political Science Edith Lukas is appointed to the Board of Management, making Munich Re the only insurer with a woman on its Board at the time.

The first woman on Munich Re’s Board of Management: Edith Lukas (1974–1994), photograph from the 1960s.

1976 – Engineers in reinsurance
The scientification of risk evaluation and the growing importance of engineering classes of business changes the company: between 1966 and 1976, for example, the number of graduate engineers on the staff rises from 15 to 70.

1979 – Venturing into space
Space insurance is developed. Due to the multi-line nature of space risks, Munich Re creates an internal pool for space technology. Interdisciplinary cooperation in development teams has a long tradition at Munich Re and is the key to the successful management of new risks.

1984 – The Munich hailstorm
On 12 July, the greatest loss event in the history of the German insurance industry and one of the largest in Munich Re’s history occurs: the Munich hailstorm. The economic loss is DM 3 billion, the insured loss DM 1.5 billion.

1985 – Earthquake in Mexico City
On 19 September, the biggest city in the world is shaken by an earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter Scale and a 7.5-magnitude aftershock the following day. 10,000 people are killed. A third of the city is reduced to rubble. The economic loss is estimated at US$ 4 billion and the insured loss at US$ 275 million. Mexico City’s earthquake is the largest earthquake loss since the 1923 quake in Tokyo and one of the heaviest claims burdens for the company since it was founded.

1989 – Number of offices abroad rises to 65
A new office is set up in Seoul, Korea. In 1989, Munich Re has 65 offices outside Germany.

1989 – Hurricane Hugo
In September, Hurricane Hugo ravages the Caribbean and the USA. The insured loss is estimated at DM 7.5 billion and the cost for Munich Re is around DM 250 million.

1993 – Hans-Jürgen Schinzler becomes Chairman of the Board of Management
Following the death of Horst Jannott, Hans-Jürgen Schinzler assumes the office of Chairman of the Board of Management, having been a Board member since 1981. Schinzler remains CEO until 2003.


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