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We trace our roots 200 years back

For more than 200 years we have safeguarded our customers' life, health and property. 


At the beginning of the 1800s, Norway is essentially an agricultural society ruled by a king with absolute power. At the end of the century, the country is an industrial society with a democratic system of government. The development of the insurance industry is both a result of and an important contributor to the development of society. The modernisation of agriculture, which frees up labour for industry, is capital-intensive. Banks will not provide loans unless mortgaged buildings are insured against fire.


We trace our history back to a customer-owned insurance company, a so-called fire mutual, which is established this year. During the 1800s, around 200 such fire mutuals are established, which largely insure farms against fire. Often, the fire mutuals also take responsibility for fire protection in their district, such as the operation of the chimney sweeping service, the fire brigade, and in some cases also the establishment of waterworks.

We can't know for sure, but the first insurance policies may well have been written with a quill, which was a common writing technique in the early 1800s.


The life insurance company Christiania almindelige gjensidige Forsørgelsesanstalt is established. The company name is gradually simplified to Gjensidige, which also becomes our name more than a hundred years later.


The first half of the 1900s is marked by two world wars and major economic fluctuations. An important, long-term, consequence for the insurance industry is that the state is taking a far greater role in the economy than before. From a lightly regulated market economy before the First World War, Norway is developing into a mixed economy with strong government control and regulation of competition. Another important development for companies engaged in land-based insurance is that industry, and eventually also households, are adopting electricity. This leads to a sharp increase in fires. The car makes its entrance, and car insurance becomes a big market. Technological developments also have an impact on how the companies are run. In the interwar period, punch card machines and calculators are introduced, which dramatically improve efficiency.


This year, Samtrygd is established, primarily as a reinsurance company for fire mutuals. This means that Samtrygd takes over risk from the fire mutuals that choose to be members. Both economic cycles and an increase in fires as a result of electricity contribute to the fire mutuals needing reinsurance. Over time, most of the fire mutuals choose not only to be members of Samtrygd, but also to merge with the company, which thus develops into what we know today as Gjensidige.


The watchman logo and the slogan "Time passes – Gjensidige remains", which is far more catchy in Norwegian, are adopted by the life insurance company Gjensidige. The logo and slogan help Gjensidige develop into one of Norway's most well-known brands. But there are still decades until this becomes our name.


The first decades after World War II are characterized by strong government regulation and rationing schemes. In the 1970s, Norway becomes an oil nation, and in the 80s, a significant liberalization of the economy begins. The period as a whole is characterised by strong growth in prosperity. An increasing number of homes have running water, which leads to a new type of risk and new insurance needs. Cars will eventually become common property. What we today call information technology is adopted, and leads to both more efficient work and a need for large investments that create economies of scale.


This year, Samtrygd is granted a license to sell most types of insurance. This is absolutely necessary to be able to participate in the competition. So far, Samtrygd and the fire mutuals have only had a licence to sell fire insurance, but more and more homeowners want "combined" insurance that also covers water damage, theft and the like. Samtrygd's insurance policies are sold by the fire mutuals. The division of labour means that more and more of the risk assessment and pricing is done centrally, in Samtrygd. This means a step on the road to the merger that will come later.


A decision is made to use electronic data processing (EDB) to replace manual work with the drafting of contracts, customer communication and the processing of statistics. In 1970, the first insurance policies are transferred to EDB, and within a few years the entire portfolio is digitized. The transition will lead to significant efficiency improvements. This frees up resources for, among other things, marketing, which is increasingly important because the market is becoming more competitive.


This is an important year in our history. Samtrygd takes over a competitor called Norsk Bilforsikring Gjensidig (despite the similarity in name, the company has no connection to Gjensidige before the merger), and thus becomes Norway's largest player in car insurance under the name Samtrygd-NBG.

In the same year, Samtrygd-NBG enters into a strategic partnership with the life insurance company Gjensidige. The two companies quickly agree to use Gjensidige as a common brand name.


Samtrygd-NBG is changing its name to Gjensidige Norsk Skadeforsikring. From this year, we are finally called Gjensidige. Both the non-life insurance company Gjensidige and the life insurance company Gjensidige are customer-owned, and they will continue as separate companies with their own management. The general insurance business is also divided between the central Gjensidige company and a large number of regional and local fire mutuals. But to the outside, the business appears as one group.


A new "data" project to develop advanced real-time systems for processing claims and insurance contracts is named Kombi-80. The name is partly misleading as the project starts in 1976 and the system is put into use in 1979. In 1985, all the insurance policies were converted to the new system, which provides major efficiency gains. Claims can be completed faster, customer service is significantly improved, and most insurance contracts can be gathered in one document, giving customers a better overview.


A joint group management is established for the non-life insurance company and the life insurance company. They are still two companies, but the collaboration will be much closer than before, and a common corporate culture will be developed in the group. This year also sees the start of an initiative to expand horizontally, which leads to the establishment in 1993 of Gjensidige Bank, which gradually grows considerably.


Gjensidige acquires Forenede-Gruppen, which is a life and non-life insurance company headquartered in Trondheim. This is Gjensidige's first major acquisition of a limited liability company, and gives us a significant presence in Trondheim.


This year, two major changes are taking place. Firstly, a large number of fire mutuals choose to merge with Gjensidige Skadeforsikring, so that approximately 90 per cent of the premium income is concentrated in the company. The remaining 10 per cent is distributed among 22 local fire mutuals. The process leading up to the merger has been going on for a long time, and several larger fire mutuals have already merged with Gjensidige Skadeforsikring earlier in the 90s. 

Second, the Gjensidige Group combines with the savings bank Sparebanken NOR to form the bancassurance group Gjensidige NOR. Talks about the merger start in 1998, and the plans are first published the same year.

It is not possible to merge a mutually owned insurance company with a savings bank. The merger is therefore a close alliance where the business is gathered in three cooperating companies: A bank, a life insurance company and a non-life insurance company. The three companies have a joint corporate board and group management, a structure that is only possible after a change in the law. To the outside, the entire business appears under one common brand name, which is Gjensidige NOR.


The Internet and digital media are having a full impact on the economy. Companies such as Google and Facebook are established, and Apple goes from being a marginal PC manufacturer to the world's largest player in smart phones. Digital technology affects the customer needs and how the financial industry distribute their services. Interest rates are falling to record lows, which will have an impact on the insurance companies' business model, which has traditionally been based on stable capital income.


The banking and life insurance part of Gjensidige NOR, which has been converted into a public limited company, merges with DNB. The non-life insurance company is not be part of the merger, and instead becomes the third largest owner in the merged bank. Gjensidige Forsikring also enters into a strategic partnership with DNB NOR.


The cooperation agreement with DNB NOR is terminated.


The website is developed into a sales portal where it is possible to buy all our non-life insurances.

Gjensidige acquires Fair Forsikring in Denmark. Over the next four years, Gjensidige acquires seven companies in Denmark, Sweden and the Baltic States, all of which will be rebranded as Gjensidige.

In the same year, Gjensidige Pensjonsforsikring is established.


The foundation Gjensidigestiftelsen is established.

The system of profit sharing in the form of customer dividends is adopted.

Gjensidige Bank is established as a pure online bank for retail customers.


Gjensidige Forsikring is converted from a mutually owned company to a public limited company (ASA), with Gjensidigestiftelsen as the sole owner. The company is then listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. In connection with the IPO, the Gjensidige Foundation reduces its ownership stake to 62 per cent.

The customers' special connection to Gjensidige is continued through the foundation, which is managed by the customers of Gjensidige Forsikring. The foundation also passes on share dividends from Gjensidige to the company's customers, in the form of customer dividends.


Gjensidige sets an unofficial world record in claims settlements, as a claim is processed in 1.6 seconds. The record is a result of digitalization and automation of claims handling. Claims can be submitted through our app or web portal, and processed using algorithms that are integrated into our core system. In the years to come, an increasing proportion of claims will be treated in this way. Simple claims, such as car glass, are fully automated.


Gjensidige enters into an agreement to sell Gjensidige Bank to Nordea. The sale will be completed on 1 March 2019.


The Covid pandemic means that most employees have to work from home for much of the year. The pandemic has no significant impact on operations and results, but will change work habits forever.


Gjensidige enters into an agreement to acquire Falck's roadside assistance companies in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Lithuania. The company is taken over in 2022 and rebranded as REDGO. Together with the toll management company Flyt, REDGO is part of Gjensidige's commitment to creating simple and safe mobility solutions.


We launch the first in a series of insurance policies that are sustainable according to the EU Taxonomy for Sustainable Products.

Helge Leiro Baastad steps down as CEO after 20 years at the helm. He is succeeded by Geir Holmgren.


The operations in Norway and Denmark are gathered in the three segments Private, Commercial and Claims, to create increased growth momentum, especially in Denmark.

The extreme weather event Hans causes loss worth over NOK 3 billion in Norway, and is among the most expensive weather events in the country ever.