History of Gen Re

With our roots beginning in 1921 in North America and in 1846 in Europe, we’ve always been an "underwriting company" – more interested in underwriting quality than volume. We’ve been a direct reinsurer since 1929 when General Reinsurance® affirmed that it would only sell directly to insurers.

Gen Re has made significant contributions to the structure of today’s reinsurance markets. In Germany in 1846 (as Cologne Re), the world’s first independent professional reinsurance company was born, and in 1852, the first professional reinsurance treaty was signed. Gen Re was the first company to offer casualty and property facultative reinsurance in the 1950s and the first company to write reinsurance on an excess basis.

In 1994, General Re® formed an alliance with Cologne Re (now General Reinsurance AG). In 1998, Berkshire Hathaway acquired General Re Corporation, our holding company, and in 2003 General Re and Cologne Re began marketing globally under the brand name of Gen Re. In 2009 General Re completed its purchase of Cologne Re, whose name was changed to General Reinsurance AG in 2010.

We have no exit strategy. Gen Re will be here for the long term.

In 2021 we celebrated the 100th anniversary of our founding in North America and the 175th anniversary of the historical Cologne Re. Find out more about our pioneering past on our anniversary homepage.