Both Talanx Group, parent of HDI Global, and the wider German insurance market has lost another leading individual in its recent history, with the passing of the company’s long-time CEO and chairman of its supervisory board Wolf-Dieter Baumgartl last week at the age of 78.
Mr Baumgartl served as chairman of the board of management of HDI from 1993 to 2006 and CEO of Talanx from 2000 to 2006. In 2006, he became chairman of the two companies’ supervisory boards until stepping down in 2018.
A fully qualified lawyer, Mr Baumgartl was also a member of the supervisory board of Hannover Rück from 1993 onwards, which he chaired until 2009. He had previously served as CEO of AMB Aachener und Münchener Beteiligungs-Aktiengesellschaft until 1993.
Talanx paid tribute to its former leader: “As chief executive officer and chairman of the supervisory board, Wolf-Dieter Baumgartl led HDI Versicherungsverein auf Gegenseitigkeit with courage and foresight through its evolution from a mid-sized player into an international insurance group.”
Mr Baumgartl was in charge during the period in which Christian Hinsch, who also sadly passed away this year, led the expansion of HDI Global into a leading industrial insurer, developed its international retail business through HDI International AG, acquired the Gerling Group in 2006 and saw the public listing of both Talanx in 2012 and Hannover Rück in 1994.
During this period, group premium income grew from €3.7bn to roughly €20bn by 2006 and then €41bn by 2020. The group moved up the ranking of German insurance groups from number eight to number three.
Herbert K Haas, current chairman of the supervisory boards at Talanx and HDI Global, praised Mr Baumgartl for his prominent role in shaping the German insurance industry.
“Long-term, forward-looking action, the courage to take on challenging risks, creativity combined with robust assertiveness, as well as a keen intellect coupled with a very straightforward and human manner – these were the qualities that set him apart. He will be deeply missed,” said Mr Haas.