Hannover Ruckversicherungs AG

I knew visiting Hannover Ruckversicherungs, the world's fifth largest reinsurer, would probably be for naught but, I was curious. Why? Several weeks earlier I received an Email from Gabriele Handrick in the company's public relation department. The message said they were looking forward to meeting with me if I showed up after October 11th. During the week of October 4th to the 8th (the dates I said I would arrive) Handrick said the headquarters would be closed because the company's IT department would be checking the IT systems for the Y2K.

Their suggested dates were not good for me because I arrive as scheduled the week of 10/4-10/8. I still head out for a look-see because I can't believe an international company with almost $6 billion in revenues and over 1,000 employees would shut it's head offices down for a whole week. Hmm, could it possibly be a ploy to keep this nosy bicyclist from turning up and gathering corporate trivia?

I'm about five miles from Hannover's city center and it's an area where quite a few companies have large office complexes. Riding up to the five-story red brick structure I see plenty of cars in the parking lot. The front doors are open so I wander in. I explain to the receptionist who I am and what I do and how the offices were suppose to be closed this week. It's true she says but there's still a bare bones staff on duty. "Wow, does everyone get paid for having to be out of the office this week?", "Yes", she answers.

My visit to Hannover Reinsurance isn't all that disappointing because four years earlier I visited HDI, the mutually held insurer that owns 75% of this reinsurer. HDI's head office lies a few miles away.