The Group was established as Assicurazioni Generali Austro-Italiche in Trieste. Trieste was the ideal choice at the time as a commercial and international hub located in the main port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The positive economic and social context, the keen business acumen of the founding fathers and Trieste’s strategic geographical position allowed Generali to grow and thrive: it was listed on the Trieste stock exchange in 1857 and became a Group in 1881. As a consequence, subsidiaries were founded in Italy and abroad, starting with Erste Allgemeine, established in Vienna in 1882.
The First World War raged across Europe. After the Allied victory over the Central Powers, Trieste became part of Italy: as a result, Generali became an Italian company.
Generali returned to the growth that had been temporarily interrupted during World War I. In line with what was going on in Italy in those years when public construction activities and agriculture were strongly boosted through the policies adopted by the government, Generali made significant investments in agriculture and real estate starting from 1933. With the outbreak of World War II, the Group lost contact with its subsidiaries located in ‘enemy’ countries: one of the most complex periods of its bicentenary history began.
After World War II, Trieste’s future appeared uncertain: in 1947, Generali transferred its registered office to Rome to formalize its position as an Italian company. The Group resumed its expansion during the Italian economic boom years. An agreement was signed with the US-based Aetna in 1966, and in 1974 Genagricola was founded, which heads all agricultural activities of the Group. Generali transferred its registered office from Rome back to Trieste in 1990. Genertel, the first direct insurance company in Italy, was established in 1994. The Group took control of the AMB group in 1997 to promote growth in the German market. Banca Generali was established in 1998 in order to concentrate all asset management activities and services under one umbrella. There were some acquisitions in the first decade of the new millennium, e.g. INA and Toro, and joint ventures were launched in Central and Eastern Europe and Asia.
Recent years have driven a new phase of change, with a new top management and a corporate reorganization which saw the birth of Generali Italia in the wake of a significant restructuring process, the completion of the acquisitions of the minority interests of Generali Deutschland Holding and Generali PPF Holding, and the disposal of non-core activities. Generali presented its strategic plan at the Investor Day in May 2015, which aims to set out a new business model and achieve new, challenging targets.