In the year of the Company's 190th anniversary, a project that takes us on a journey of discovery about people, companies and transformations that see Generali's story intertwined with history
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20th Story - 2021: The people of Generali
In 1832, Generali rent the Procuratie Vecchie building in Venice. Under the leadership of Marco Besso, the building becomes part of the Company’s real estate. Today, it has been restored and it’s ready to host the new headquarter of The Human Safety Net, the non-profit foundation of the Group. This last episode aims to celebrate the 190th anniversary of Generali, a Company especially made of people, the lions and the lionesses of today, who want to build a fairer and more sustainable future for everyone.
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19th Story - 1871: Masino Levi
After the defeat of Napoleon, Italy is once again divided into many small and larger states. In this context, Generali seeks to expand, under the leadership of Masino Levi. In some states the Company is well integrated, while is frowned upon in others. But, after the Unification of Italy, the king Vittorio Emanuele II signs a decree that recognizes the Group’s right to operate in all Italian provinces.
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18th Story - 1999: Alfonso Desiata
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, globalization begins. To easily control the rapid development of technologies, Generali move their headquarter to Mogliano Veneto. The Nineties, under the chairmanship of Alfonso Desiata, were particularly lively years for the Company: in 1994 was born Genertel and in 1998 Banca Generali was created.
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17th Story - 1989: Enrico Randone
After the end of the Second World War, communist regimes were established in many Eastern European countries. For this reason, Generali lose all of its real estate assets in these countries and its network of branches and agencies. Thanks to the president Enrico Randone, in 1989 the Company go back to Hungary and in the following years Generali will expand in other eleven Easter European countries.
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16th Story - 2002: Eugenio Coppola di Canzano
Following the footsteps of Marco Polo, Generali look with interest to the Asian market. In 1975 the Company’s first offices are opened in Hong Kong. In 1985, thanks to the President Eugenio Coppola di Canzano, the Group open its office in Tokyo, expanding across the continent in the following years. Today, Generali is present in eight Asian countries.
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15th Story - 1898: Vitale Laudi
The last years of the 19th century are years of experimentation for the Company. In 1877, the director of the Company’s life insurance business develops with the agent W. Lazarus from Hambrug a new actuarial table called L-L, more flexible than the previous ones. In 1893, the Bollettino is launched: the oldest Italian company magazine still in print, whose purpose was to inform the employees of the events of the month linked to the Company.
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14th Story - 1914: Edmondo Richetti
In 1914, Europe lives the Belle Époque. Those are years of prosperity but, at the same time, years of precarious balances and arms races. Edmondo Richetti, previously secretary and then director of Generali, sees the war coming and points to the creation of a united Europe as the only way out. His dream doesn’t come true and on July 28th of 1914 Austria declared war on Serbia.
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13th Story - 2019: Zaha Hadid
In 2004, Generali win the tender for the redevelopment of the parade ground that used to host the pavilions of the Milanese Fiera Campionaria. The new project, called CityLife, is dominated by the presence of three towers: the Twisted, the Straight and the Curved. The Twisted, created by the architect Zara Hadid, had been renamed Generali Tower, and has recently became the headquarter of the Company in Milan.
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12th Story - 1881: Marco Besso
In 1881, Generali takes part in the Milanese EXPO and exhibits the results of its research on hail risk. At that time Marco Besso is the General Secretary of the Company. Under his chairmanship, the Group opens new bases in four continents and acquires new representative offices, as is the case in Milan, with the construction of a building in the central elliptical Cordusio square.
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11th Story - 1954: Biagio Marin
After the Second World War, Trieste and its province are under Allied control. Part of the Generali headquarters building is requisitioned by the British command; in its library works Biagio Marin, the minstrel of the golden island. He writes of the day and night, of the sea, of love and death. In 1954, Trieste becomes Italian again and the people pour out to celebrate in Piazza Unità d’Italia, under a Company site, Palazzo Stratti.
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10th Story - 1907: Franz Kafka
In 1907 a young Franz Kafka was hired at Assicurazioni Generali in Prague. The Company’s intention is using the writer in their foreign offices, but the work didn’t leave him enough time and strength to write. So in 1908 he resigned for health reason, indeed he would never leave the sector: until his retirement, he worked at the Institute for Insurance against Industrial Accidents of the Kingdom of Bohemia.
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9th Story - 1977: Cesare Merzagora
It’s the 1977 when Generali were entrusted with the insurance of the launch of the first Italian telecommunication satellite in the space. Under the chairmanship of the life senator Cesare Merzagora, the space insurance thrives and in 1989 the Company insures the flight in the Shuttle of Franco Malerba, the first Italian astronaut in history.
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8th Story - 1948: Mario Abbiate
After 5 years of war, Generali has lost most of their business. Mario Abbiate, the first Minister of Labour in liberal Italy, is appointed to chair the Company. Under his mandate, Generali looks to America. Today, the Company is still present in the United States and in six Latin American states.
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7th Story - 1928: the Venetian girl
After the war, Generali decides to reinvent its image through the advertisment. The Company turns to Marcello Dudovich, a Triestine master. His modern posters always represents a slim and dark-haired woman, his muse for life, his wife, the Venetian girl.
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6th Story - 1938: Edgardo Morpurgo
Generali celebrates its 100th anniversary, solid and strong under the chairmanship of Edgardo Morpurgo. In 1938, due to the introduction of the racial laws, the Company is the target of a hard anti-semitic campaign and Morpurgo resigns. But, Generali’s solidarity towards its employees emerges in this occasion and would never fail.
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5th Story - 1963: Pierre Desnos
In 1963 in Paris, an entrepreneur from Le Mans, Pierre Desnos, creates Europ Assistance, with the help of La Concorde, a French company linked to Generali. The new company is specialized in providing assistance to anyone in a difficult situation away from home by operating both in Europe and in the rest of the world.
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4th Story - 1848: Isacco Pesaro Maurogonato
In 1848 the Republic of San Marco has been proclaimed and Isacco Pesaro Maurogonato, future Director of Generali, becomes its Minister of Finance. In order to counter the popular effervescence, the Trieste management of Generali proposes to reduce the name of the Company to “Assicurazioni Generali”. In the same year, once the Hasburg are back in power, the Venetian management replaces the two-headed eagle with the Lion of St Mark: they would never go back.
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3rd Story - 1851: Daniele Francesconi
In 1851, the Assicurazioni Generali, under the impulse of the new secretary of the Venetian management, Daniele Francesconi, purchase the Ca’ Corniani estate. Thanks to the reclaman of the territory, a still-existing prosperous community was born and thrives around the holding.
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2nd Story - 1869: Pasquale Revoltella
Pasquale Revoltella, Director of Generali, understands the need to open a shortcut between East and West. Therefore, in 1859, he gives the first pick stroke to open the future Suez Canal, establishing the cosmopolitan vision of the Company.
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1st Story - 1831: Giuseppe Lazzaro Morpurgo
The Austrians come back to Trieste after the defeat of Napoleon and the insurance companies flourish again. In 1831, Giuseppe Lazzaro Morpurgo establishes the Assicurazioni Generali Austro-Italiche: a Company aimed to the Italians and to the Empire, such as demonstrated by the two main headquarters, Venezia and Palazzo Carciotti, in Trieste.
On 26th December 1831, Bellini's Norma was staged for the first time in Milan. On the same day, Assicurazioni Generali Austro-Italiche was founded in Trieste. The company was born under a lucky star, together with a masterpiece of Italian art. A few years later, in 1836, it was the newly born company that made the rebirth of the Teatro La Fenice possible with its compensation after the theatre was devoured by fire, enabling it to immediately resurrect from its ashes. The curtain rose again, both on the stage of the famous Venetian theatre and on the promising future of the Company.
Since its foundation and for 190 years, Generali has grown, faced and overcame historical events and contingencies, and it has been able to meet the needs of families, businesses and individuals. It has done so by always being ahead of its time, accompanying progress and changes in customs and society, without ever forgetting the well-being and safety of individuals and communities.
This is the heart of Generali 190 - People and Stories: twenty original videos, one for each decade from 1831 to 2021, that accompany us on a journey of discovery about the people, events and transformations that see Generali's journey intertwined with history. From the first steps taken during the nineteenth century, through the turbulent events of the last century and up to the present day, each video tells the story of an endeavour; and each represents a step in the Company's journey towards a safer future characterised by sustainable growth in its economic, social and environmental dimensions.