Insuring Golden Gate’s Legacy

May 25, 2012

The 75th anniversary of the construction of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge’s will be celebrated on Sunday, and InsuranceJournal.com has a photographer on scene to capture images of the celebration and the majestic span.

IJ.com will be publishing those images – as well as pictures from the past, including images of construction work on the bridge – along with the story on how the construction insurance industry since that time has changed, and continues to change.

A local insurance company in northern California was part of insuring the massive undertaking. Novato, Calif.-based Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. insured part of the $35 million completion bond when on Nov. 4, 1930, voters within the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District went to the polls and put up their homes, farms and business properties as collateral to support the bond to issue to finance the bridge.

“We are so proud to share in the rich history of this iconic bridge whose extraordinary architecture and beauty has led it to become a symbol of the gateway to San Francisco,” Lori Fouché, president and CEO of Fireman’s Fund said in a statement.

Manfred Schneider, head of engineering for North America for Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty Americas, who noted that 75 years ago those insuring the project didn’t have the advantage of computers and had to crunch any numbers “manually,” said looking back at the project it was a good risk to take.

“They were not gambling. Not at all. Not at all,” he said.

According to the website CaliforniaHistorian.com, the bridge opened in 1937 and has remained undamaged, withstanding high winds, years and years of massive loads, temperatures extremes, and even earthquakes like the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused no damage.

Nearly a dozen of the nation’s leading bridge engineering firms submitted proposals for construction of what was to become at the time the longest and tallest bridge built at nearly 9,000 feet long and almost 800 feet high, according to the site.

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