Three years ago I
visited Munich Re only to be frustrated in not getting past the
lobby. Earlier that day I had been right across the street getting
an extensive tour of Allianz's bland and uninspiring head office.
Allianz is one of the world's biggest insurers and I was expecting
something more grand. Then I walked over and entered Munich Re's
beautiful four-story edifice (built in 1912) with its neo-classicism
exterior and Vienna Youth-style interior (Art Deco). Though I
received a nice enough reception at Munich Re I wasn't allowed
past the lobby because (according to them) my letter of introduction
sent to the CEO a month earlier hadn't been received.
Who comes out to greet
me? It's Rainer Kueppers, Deputy Member of the Executive Management
Central Division; Information and Public Relations, the same
man I dealt with during my last visit. This time however I get
the grand tour of the place and my timing is right because renovations
of the building were recently completed.
The head office, who's exterior is painted a good-looking yellow, lies about a mile from the city center. When this building was erected back in 1912, the locals said the company was crazy to build it "out there in the boondocks".
The company has several other buildings in the immediate area and that explains the need for two cafeterias. How's the food? It gets two thumbs up from this biker. My hauptspeise, a salad-like concoction with ham, lettuce, egg, mayonnaise, carrot and mushrooms is delicious.
Insurance companies are known (at least by me) of having impressive boardrooms. Nothing really stands out about this one except it's set-up for tele-conferencing. I can't see CEO Hans-Jurgen Schinzler's middle floor corner office because "he's busy" though we do walk by his door. Schinzler can't have much of a view because he's not very high up. Is this a prestigious location? Well, after the Second World War the Allies used the building as their headquarters.