Wiener Stadtische Allgemeine Versicherung AG

The ring road encircling Vienna's city center serves a dual purpose. Besides transporting vehicles it also serves as a building buffer. Huh? The height of anything built inside the ring road is severely restricted. Starting on the outer edge of the ring road restrictions taper off. I mention this because the tallest building INSIDE the ring road belongs to Wiener Stadtische, one of Austria's oldest (est. 1824) and largest insurers with revenues of 2.6 billion Euro and over 10,000 employees.

When this 20-story edifice was built in 1955 it was the first multi-story office building in Vienna. That piece of history has given this not-so-old building historical status-meaning it's now a protected building and can't be torn down.

It's a fun visit thanks to the delightful Barbara Hagen-Groetschnig who's in charge of Public Relations. Between 600-700 employees work in the building, smoking is allowed in offices, it's a 20-minute drive to Vienna Airport and the company's art collection is primarily modern and limited to Austrian artists. Wiener Stadtische was the first company in Austria to provide childcare for employees and is the first company I've come across with a tulip as a corporate logo.

General Director (CEO) Guenter Geyer's sixth floor middle office contains several real plants, a family picture and a not very exciting view of buildings across the street. I kid Geyer about his view. Why? This was just after having come down from the 20th floor. The top floor is used for receptions, press conferences and such and the views afforded from all four sides are spectacular!

It's very competitive between insurers Wiener Stadtische and Uniqua. How so? Each told me they were the biggest in Austria but what's funniest is the one upsmanship going on. Uniqua is building a new headquarters just on the other side of the ring road from here---the OUTER side of the ring road where the restrictions on height are less restrictive. Guess how many floors the new building will have? 21-stories---as in one more than Wiener Stadtische's.