Net Premiums written 1999
European head office
30 Berkeley Square
Tel: + 44 161 238 9000
Established in 1996
Royal & Sunalliance was formed in 1996 but the group dates back to 1710. In effect, it comprises three companies: The Sun (founded in 1710), which is now the world's oldest insurance company still transacting business in its own name; The Alliance (founded in 1824) and The Royal (founded in 1845).
Yet the group is also the product of a continuous process of amalgamation which has included the Westminster Fire Office (founded in 1717); the London (founded in 1720); the Phoenix (founded in 1782), the County, Sea, Beacon, Liverpool Fire & Life, Globe, Law Fire, Lancashire, Household and General and many others.
More recently, in 1959, the Sun and the Alliance were merged, forming the Sun Alliance Group, while in 1961, the Royal merged with the London and Lancashire Fire. Alliance went on to merge with the London in 1965 and the Phoenix in 1984. The final link in this complicated chain was forged in July 1996, when Royal & SunAlliance was born from the merger of Royal Insurance with Sun Alliance.
1999 brought a number of structural changes intended to refocus the group on its core strengths. Sell-offs took place in the company's direct writing operations in Germany and France, its general insurance businesses in Cyprus, Barbados and Zimbabwe, and its life business in the US. At the same time the company disposed of its stake in Codan Bank. On the other hand, the company made strategic acquisitions in Orion Capital (US speciality insurance), Trygg-Hansa (mainly Swedish) and Tyndall (Australia).
Bob Mendelsohn- group chief executive
Bob Mendelsohn was appointed group chief executive and director of Royal & Sunalliance Insurance Group on December 3, 1997, and serves as chairman of Royal & Sunalliance USA, the US holding company, and as chairman or director of many of the group's worldwide insurance companies. He joined the company in January 1994 as chief executive officer and president of Royal Insurance in the US.
Mendelsohn came to the company after a 20-year career with WR Berkley Corporation, a property and casualty insurance group operating throughout the US, where he was president and chief operating officer. Before joining WR Berkley, he was an attorney with Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York City.
Active in a variety of industry and civic organisations, Mendelsohn is currently chairman of the board of the American Insurance Association and chairman of the Council of Insurance Company Executives.
He is an honours graduate of Georgetown University, where he majored in English Literature and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the US Academic honours society. He read law at Harvard University and served as an officer in the US Army Reserve for eight years.