The German Insurance Association, i.e. Gesamtverband der Deutschen Versicherungswirtschaft (GDV), headquartered in Berlin is the umbrella organisation for private insurers in Germany. Interacting with parliament, government and the general public, we represent the interests of an exciting, diverse and high-performing industry. Our roughly 460 members run the gamut from international to local players, from full-service to specialty insurance companies and from long-established firms going back hundreds of years to modern insurtech start-ups.
Our workforce mirrors that diversity – both at the GDV and in the entire industry. Insurance companies and agencies employ almost 490,000 people with different nationalities and the most diverse set of talents, including programmers, mathematicians, loss adjusters, account managers and engineers. They are the faces of an industry more deeply rooted in society than most others.
For we insurers are partners to everyone: public institutions, organisations, companies, clubs and associations as well as individuals, of course. Our clients’ risks are as varied as the insurance cover we offer. That includes products to provide for retirement and to guard against the risks of life. We protect our clients against the financial consequences in case something does happen. No matter if your house burns down, a prolonged illness prevents you from earning a living, a company's manufacturing grinds to a halt because of a mechanical failure in one of the machines or if a hospital is flooded, the insurers are there to help: Roughly 454 million policies are on their books – that is 454 million commitments to help and 454 million votes of confidence by our clients.
We don’t only protect livelihoods, however; we are also enablers. It is our sector that makes economic activity possible by freeing companies of financial risks. Without insurance cover factories would stand still, the flow of goods would come to a halt and innovations wouldn't even see the light of day. So, insurance companies also play a vital macroeconomic role enabling growth and prosperity, providing job security and opening doors for new products and technologies. In a time of increasing complexity and uncertainty this is particularly important.
It is not only our ambition to pay for damages but to do whatever it takes to keep them from occurring in the first place. The industry is engaged in various initiatives for risk provision and prevention, for example conducting accident research to improve road safety, promoting fire and break-in prevention, improving flood protection, beefing up IT security and developing security standards for equipment or industrial facilities.
In a broader sense, we believe prevention means preserving nature and limiting the consequences of global warming. Climate change destroys habitats and poses a threat to human life and biodiversity alike. That's why we need to fight it with everything we have.
Insurers were one of the first industries to develop a sustainability strategy committing to climate-neutral business processes by 2025. Using our know-how in assessing risks and preventing damages we aim to promote the green transformation in other industries, too. It is not least the investment portfolio of about 1.8 trillion euros that makes private insurance companies in Germany one the largest groups of investors.