Fireman’s Fund Timeline: Through Earthquake, Amex and More

By | December 19, 2014

The sale of a Fireman’s Fund unit from Allianz SE to Ace Ltd. stands to further diminish an iconic U.S. insurance brand that dates to the 1800s.

The buyer said Thursday that it will integrate the operation, which caters to wealthy individuals, into Ace Private Risk Services. The seller has already begun to fold Fireman’s Fund’s remaining commercial businesses into other Allianz units.

Below is a timeline of the Fireman’s Fund brand.

1863: Fireman’s Fund is founded by retired sea captain William Holdredge as an insurer of homes and businesses in Gold Rush-era San Francisco. The company’s name stems from a pledge by the founders to donate 10 percent of profits to the city’s Fire Department Charitable Fund.

1906: The San Francisco earthquake and subsequent fires destroy the Fireman’s Fund office and many properties the company has insured. Fireman’s Fund agrees to pay policyholders 20 percent of claims immediately, 30 percent in 90 days and the remaining 50 percent in company stock.

1927: Fireman’s Fund insures construction of the Spirit of St. Louis, the plane Charles Lindbergh flies from New York to Paris.

1968: American Express Co. acquires Fireman’s Fund through an exchange of stock.

1972: The Fireman’s Fund reaches $1 billion in premium income for the first time.

1985: Fireman’s Fund goes public, raising $824 million in what the company says is the largest U.S. initial public offering to date.

1991: Allianz, based in Munich, buys Fireman’s Fund for more than $3 billion in cash to expand in the U.S.

May 5, 2000: Allianz acquires 70 percent of Pimco Advisors Holdings LP for $3.3 billion in cash, gaining control of the biggest U.S. bond-fund manager.

September 2002: Allianz says it will inject $750 million into Fireman’s Fund to cover asbestos-related claims. It’s the third time in two years Allianz has pumped money into the unit.

Aug. 12, 2008: Allianz said it will combine marine-insurance units of Fireman’s Fund with those of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty under the Allianz brand.

February 2011: Fireman’s Fund, the largest insurer of Hollywood productions, names “Salt,” starring Angelina Jolie, as the riskiest movie of 2010, a designation that the company makes annually before the Academy Awards.

Sept. 17, 2014: Allianz announces Fireman’s Fund commercial property-and-casualty business will become part of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty. The German insurer says it is considering “strategic options” for Fireman’s Fund personal- lines business.

Dec. 18, 2014: Ace announces deal to pay $365 million for the Fireman’s Fund unit that provides coverage to wealthy individuals
–With assistance from Jing Cao in New York.

Topics USA Catastrophe Natural Disasters Earthquake Allianz

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