The images that appear in this timeline are reproduced from and also appear in ‘The Time of the Lion’ (Generali, 2015) or from public domain. Generali would like to thank once again all those who have contributed to the wealth of imagery in this book. The images that appear in this timeline are from the following sources:
An awkward situation
Companies in Trieste are technically foreign to Italy. Generali entrusts its monopoly on life insurance to Ina. The company holds its nerve while others abandon the market.
Venezia, o cara
Renovations are finally complete on Generali’s Venice office, the Palazzo delle Procuratie Vecchie. Meanwhile, business is good: dividends are of 500 gold Francs.
Italy or Austria?
Italy enters the war and the company’s growth comes to a halt on both sides. Uncertainty emanates from both Rome and Vienna.
The Italian government grants Generali Italian nationality, now Rome’s head office can operate without limitations.
A company divided
After the Battle of Caporetto the Austrians invade Veneto. Generali decides to move its Venice offices to Rome, while Vienna continues to head up central Europe.
Trieste: finally part of Italy
World War I is over. For the first time in history, the company holds its General Assembly of Shareholders in Italian Trieste.
Changes at the top
Following the sudden death of Marco Besso, Edgardo Morpugo becomes president.
The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire has created many new states. Generali creates new regional offices in Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Warsaw.
A new, international Generali
Eight head offices abroad; more than 60 branches and agencies in 30 countries; 16 partner companies and subsidiaries. Generali is now present on four continents.
100 years of Generali
A century since its foundation, the company celebrates this historic milestone in both Rome and Trieste. And the reading of the company accounts contributes to the festive atmosphere: guarantee funds of 1.5 billion Lire, corporation stock of 60 million.
Generali from east to west
Expansion continues: 29 subsidiaries in Europe alone, four in the Americas, two in Africa and one in Asia. New investments in real estate, with assets totalling 700 million Lire.
Big Blue and the Red Lion
Enter the age of technology: following a period of early experimentation Generali’s new Electronic Accounting Centre is established, using the new calculators designed by Herman Hollerith, one of the original founders of IBM.
New race laws spell bad news for Italians of Jewish origin and the shockwaves ripple within Generali. President Edgardo Morpugo gives way to Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata, while scores of executives and other workers are assisted in relocating abroad.
A global catastrophe
The tragedy of World War II illustrated in the fates of three Generali executives: 1943, Volpi di Misurata, president, is arrested by the Germans; ‘45, treasurer Umberto Fegitz disappears with Tito’s troops; and Fulvio Balisti, a partner in Brescia, is arrested as a Republican, later released.
The president of the recovery effort
Antonio Cosulich, who had replaced the sick Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata following his arrest, is succeeded by the forward-thinking Mario Abbiate, who is able to pre-empt the insurance needs of the country.
A two-speed recovery
While in Eastern Europe virtually everything Generali is nationalised or requisitioned, it’s a very different story elsewhere. The company consolidates its position in western Europe and directs its attention to both north and south America.
1914 - Venezia, o cara
Assicurazioni Generali building in piazza San Marco (Procuratie Vecchie), Venice from Novo Incepto Saeculo, Published by the Company, early 1930s
1915 - Italy or Austria?
Italian alpine troops during World War I - National Library of France, Paris
1919 - Trieste: finally part of Italy
King Vittorio Emanuele in Trieste on November 3, 1918 from Università Popolare di Trieste 1899-1999 edited by Bruno Maier, 2000 courtesy of Università Popolare, Trieste
1935 - Generali from east to west
The Generali City - Pollione Sigon - Image for calendar courtesy of Modiano, Trieste
1938 - Dark times
Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata - Private collection