The Group was established as "Assicurazioni Generali Austro - Italiche" in Trieste. Trieste was the ideal choice at the time as a commercial 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 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 and Generali became an Italian company.
Once the war ended, Generali returned to the growth that had been temporarily interrupted. 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 branches located in “enemy” countries and one of the most complex periods of its bicentenary history began.
The Group resumed its expansion during the “Italian economic boom” years. An agreement was signed with the US-based insurance company Aetna in 1966; Genagricola was founded in 1974 (which heads all agricultural activities of the Group) and Genertel, the first insurance company by phone 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 (INA and Toro) and various joint ventures (Central and Eastern Europe and Asia) which mean that Generali now has a presence in over 60 countries worldwide.
There have been great changes in Generali over the past few years. The appointment of Gabriele Galateri di Genola as Chairman (2011) and Mario Greco as Group CEO (2012) have heralded a new phase of development. In addition to the corporate reorganization which led to Generali Italia being established (comprising three brands: General for the retail market and SMEs, Alleanza for the family sector and Genertel sector for alternative channels), the acquisitions of the minority interests in Generali Deutschland Holding and Generali PFF Holding have been completed. The Group also disposed of certain noncore activities, as Banca della Svizzera Italiana (BSI). Finally, the Group has initiated the European partnership with Discovery to launch Vitality.