Winterthur Group

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«Winterthur» Swiss insurance company

legal form Corporation
founding 1875
Seat Winterthur , Switzerland
Number of employees 18,984 (September 30, 2006)
Branch banks and insurance companies

The «Winterthur» Swiss Insurance Company was an internationally active Swiss insurance group based in Winterthur . It was one of the ten largest insurance companies in Europe . The group of companies, which had been part of the Credit Suisse Group since 1997 , was taken over by the French insurance group Axa at the end of 2006 and integrated into the group.


The company was founded on July 1, 1875 in Winterthur as the "Swiss Accident Insurance Corporation". From 1875 to 1882 the company expanded its business activities to Germany , the Benelux countries , France , Austria-Hungary and Italy . In 1879 the head office moved to the Warteck building for the first time , but left it six years later to move into the current district building . In 1900 Winterthur added other insurance branches to its product range. On February 8, 1923, "Winterthur-Leben" was founded. Under the pressure of political developments, Winterthur expanded into the United States in 1936 .

Founding share of the Federal Transport Insurance Company dated November 15, 1881

In 1963, Winterthur Insurance took over the "Eidgenössische Versicherungs-AG", active in the property and transport insurance sector, which emerged in 1911 from the "Eidgenössische Transportversicherungs-Gesellschaft" founded in 1881. This takeover helped Winterthur Insurance on its way to becoming an all-line insurer.

Around 100 years after it was founded, the company was renamed "Winterthur", Schweizerische Versicherungs-Gesellschaft, in 1975, with the company appearing externally under the short form of Winterthur Insurance and the word / image trademark "Winterthur" .

The Winterthur legal protection insurance company was founded in 1978, in 1988 the Neuchâtel insurance group was taken over, in which Winterthur had owned investments since 1929, and Winterthur Financial Services AG (WFS) was founded in 1990.

The steadily growing Winterthur Group began working together with the Credit Suisse Group (CSG) in 1996 under the leadership of Peter Spälti at the time , resulting in the Winterthur Columna joint venture . As early as 1997, the cooperation resulted in a merger between the Winterthur Group and CSG, which, like Allianz , intended to transform into an all-finance group . When it was taken over, Winterthur was valued at CHF 12.5 billion.

In the course of 1998 the insurance companies, some of which were duplicated, were consolidated within CSG. The new CSG business area Credit Suisse Financial Services was formed in 2000 and in future comprised the business areas Winterthur Insurance and Winterthur Life . In the course of the consolidation, other business areas were also merged. Among other things, the real estate department of Winterthur was merged with the Real Estate Asset Management activities of Credit Suisse in 1999 and Wincasa AG was founded as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Credit Suisse Group.

As part of a change in strategy in 2004, CSG downgraded Winterthur to a purely financial participation and held out the prospect of a sale or an IPO . This gave up the idea of ​​the all-finance company. After no buyer was found who was willing to meet CSG's asking price, activities for an IPO were pushed forward. At the end of March 2006, the Swiss insurance group was listed on the bank's balance sheet with 9.4 billion Swiss francs.

In mid-March 2006, the Winterthur Group sold its health insurance business in Switzerland , which was combined under the Wincare brand, as well as its individual health and individual accident insurance business to Sanitas Krankenversicherung .

On June 14, 2006, Winterthur and Axa announced the complete takeover of the Swiss insurance group for a price of 7.9 billion euros (= 12.3 billion CHF). The foreign activities of Winterthur were dissolved into the Axa Group. The Swiss parent company of Winterthur was merged with the previous Swiss subsidiary of Axa and renamed AXA Versicherungen AG at the end of March 2008 . Under the Axa Winterthur brand , it covered the Swiss market for the Axa Group until February 28, 2018. Since March 1, 2018, the addition "Winterthur" has been omitted.

Key figures

In the last financial year before it was dissolved, the Winterthur Group employed almost 19,000 people, 4,700 of whom were in Germany, and achieved a premium volume of CHF 27.3 billion.



The Winterthur Group was active in several countries, with a focus on Europe . In Europe there were branches in addition to Switzerland in Germany, Spain , Belgium , the Netherlands , Luxembourg and Great Britain . Another focus was Central Europe (in the pension fund business ) with branches in the Czech Republic , Slovakia , Poland and Hungary . Outside Europe, the company was active in the United States, Bermuda and in Asia in Japan , China , Hong Kong , Taiwan and Indonesia .


An important subsidiary was DBV-Winterthur Holding in Germany, which has been integrated into Axa since 2006.

See also


  1. last entry in the commercial register of the canton of Zurich as "Winterthur" Swiss Insurance Company (PDF; 34 kB)
  2. NZZ June 14, 2006: Credit Suisse took over Winterthur in 1997 for around CHF 14 billion. The insurer had fled into the arms of the big bank because of a feared takeover attempt by financier Martin Ebner . [1]


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