Financial History Issue 116 (Winter 2016) - Page 28

Courtesy of the Guardian Life Insurance Company By 1890, Germania was an important multinational corporation; in 1896, the contribution of its European branch to its total insurance in force peaked at just over 48%. Just 30 years later, however, Germania had changed its name to Guardian, stopped writing new policies abroad and began disposing of its existing foreign policies as best it could under deteriorating economic conditions in Central Europe and the close scrutiny of regulators on both sides of the Atlantic. Although the unwinding process was not completed until after World War II, by 1925 only 1.2% of the company’s insurance in force was of foreign origin. The Great War (1914–1918) was the proximate cause of those major transformations in the company’s business and brand. After America’s entry into the war on the side of France and Great Britain in early 1917, many (likely tho \