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.