40,000 analyses in 75 years

Studying major losses and learning from them – that was where work at the Allianz Center for Technology (AZT) started 75 years ago. And today, this one-of-a-kind institution is still helping – in this way and others – to make technology safe and cost-effective. The center’s employees have analyzed more than 40,000 losses since it was founded as the "Materials Testing Office" in 1932.

From the very outset, the work of its engineers involved looking into the past ("How did it happen?") and followed by a look into the future ("How can these and other losses be avoided?"). Today, the AZT's main task is risk prevention.

Design for a broschure from the 1950s: "We investigate"

The center was founded by Allianz’s industrial insurance unit. In the 1920s, much of the machinery in Germany was in poor condition. Expensive accidents were becoming more and more common. Even before the Materials Testing Office was officially founded, Allianz employees – the company was still located in Berlin in those days – were trying to track the causes of accidents, so as to be able to cost out premiums correctly.

The center soon grew in importance. By 1936, four years after it was founded, its staff were already studying 170 claims cases, often in cooperation with researchers from universities and research institutes. Word had spread about the unit, so that it also began getting orders from outside – one of the team’s assignments was to study the propulsion engines of the Hindenburg. A year later the staff – now ten strong – moved into a new building in Berlin’s Mariendorf district.

In 1945, the center started again from scratch to become a partner in the turbulent postwar growth of German industry. In 1962, it accompanied the move of Allianz headquarters to southern Germany, and relocated to the German suburb of Ismaning, where it still resides (since 1969) as the "Allianz Center for Technology".

During this period, traffic in Germany increased dramatically, and motor insurance became one of Allianz’s most important lines of business. Consequently, in the early seventies, the AZT added a separate unit for automotive engineering – even today, yet another one-of-a-kind establishment in Europe.

Where investigations in industrial insurance were mostly specialist cases, the automotive unit's research results make life safer for millions of drivers. Whether it’s lower repair costs, mandatory safety belts, the proper application of airbags, safer travel for kids, car immobilizers that make life harder for thieves, or car bumpers that can really absorb a serious bump – over the last 35 years, the AZT's experts have provided important impetus for change everywhere.

Crash tests are an important part of AZT's automotive unit

The industrial insurance unit has also kept up with the times. Its risk service helps more than ever to stop losses before they happen. On behalf of Allianz’s international industrial insurance business, its experts have also investigated losses or evaluated installations in such countries as Brazil, Nigeria and Thailand. They also carefully keep tabs on such fields as nanotechnology, renewable energy sources, and the risks of climate change.

"As a part of Allianz Corporate & Specialty, a new age has begun for the Allianz Center for Technology," said AGCS CEO Axel Theis on the occasion of the anniversary celebration. "The center makes a key contribution toward the complete solutions we offer our clients for their risks."

"The Allianz Center for Technology faces new challenges, because the risk landscape continues to change," adds Lutz Cleemann, managing director of AZT and of AZT Risk & Technology GmbH. "But the center’s goal and job have remained the same – to support Allianz, as an insurer and financial service provider – as well as industry and society in general – in their efforts to achieve sustainable development, and to make sure technology is justifiable, cost-effective and insurable.

Axel Theis: "The AZT makes a key contribution to the solutions we offer our clients"

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