Mega-projects need courage, dependability and innovation in insurance underwriting

On May 27, one of the world's most famous bridges – the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco – is celebrating its 75 anniversary. Without Allianz, this American icon might never have been built.

Back in the 1930s, construction of the Golden Gate Bridge was insured by a local San Francisco company, and that company still exists today - Fireman's Fund, a company of Allianz. 

According to the Golden Gate Bridge: History of the World and People, on November 4, 1930, voters within the recently designated Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District went to the polls and put up their homes, farms and business properties as collateral to support a 35 million US-dollars bond issue to finance the bridge. Fireman's Fund was the company that underwrote the construction surety bond for what - at the time - was a staggering amount of money.

 Without Allianz, this American icon might never have been built. 

Opponents of the bridge felt that the timing of the bond election was considered economically reckless, as it would create bonded indebtedness during the Great Depression; proponents saw the construction as economic relief from the Depression. Of the voters, 145,697 voted for construction; just 47,005 opposed the idea. Having the construction bond insured by Fireman's Fund helped to create confidence in the project.

"The Golden Gate Bridge project was yet another example of the courage, innovation and dependability displayed by Fireman's Fund throughout its remarkable history," says Lori Fouche, CEO of Fireman's Fund and points to a number of historic events, where Fireman's Fund helped its customers.

Today, Fireman's Fund is an expert provider of specialized insurance solutions and a leader in high-net-worth, entertainment, and green insurance. Fireman's Fund provides personal and commercial insurance products for individuals and mid-size businesses backed by industry-leading claims and risk management solutions through independent agents and brokers.

National and international mega projects like the insurance of bridges, roads, highways, tunnels, offshore wind parks or construction works for high rise buildings are today handled by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, which operates globally and insures more than half of the Fortune 500 global companies. Recent projects include: the insurance and risk management for the Incheon Bridge in Korea (12 kilometres long and five years to build), the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (currently the tallest building in the world) and the Gotthard / Ceneri tunnel in Switzerland that is expected to become the largest railway tunnel in the world (57 kilometers long).

 Having the construction bond insured by Fireman's Fund helped to create confidence in the project.

Some of Fireman's Fund's historic actions:

  • Great Chicago Fire, 1871: While many insurers went bankrupt, Fireman's Fund paid all claims, even though its losses exceeded its assets. This demonstration of endurance earned the company a national reputation.
  • Boston Fire, 1872: One year after the Chicago fire, a major fire destroyed Boston. Fireman's Fund paid all claims.
  • San Francisco Earthquake, 1906: The company's headquarters were completed destroyed, but Fireman's Fund paid the claims of all policyholders, with a combination of cash and stock.
  • Charles Lindbergh's Trans-Atlantic Flight, 1927: Fireman's Fund insured the construction of the Spirit of St. Louis, which Lindbergh flew nonstop from New York to Paris.
  • The "Talkies" – in the late 1920s: Fireman's Fund insured movie studios concerned about the risk of introducing movies with sound – the "talkies"  - in the late 1920s. Since then the company has played a big role in underwriting insurance for major motion pictures.

About Fireman's Fund Insurance Company

Founded in 1863, Fireman's Fund Insurance Company is a premier property and casualty insurance company providing personal and commercial insurance products backed by industry-leading claims and risk management solutions. Fireman's Fund is a leader in high-net-worth, entertainment, and green insurance. Since 2004, it has donated more than 29 million US-dollars in grants to local fire departments across the U.S. as part of its commitment to safer communities. Fireman's Fund is a member of the Allianz Group, one of the world's largest providers of property and casualty insurance, ranked 27th on Fortune's Global 500 list of the world's largest corporations. For additional information, visit:

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Janet Ruiz

Fireman's Fund
Phone +1.415.899-5381

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Katerina Piro

Allianz SE
Phone +49.89.3800-16048

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