The internationalisation of the Spanish insurance in the 20th century


  • José Luis García Ruiz Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • Leonardo Caruana de las Cagigas Universidad de Sant Pablo-CEU



Insurance, Internationalisation, Business History, Spain


The development of the Spanish insurance industry has been sluggish. At the outbreak of the Civil War (1936), the ratio of premiums to national income was around 1 percent. Foreign companies had a market share in direct insurance of one third. However, the leading company was La Unión and El Fénix Español, which were owned by Spanish capital and worked as a true multinational with a strong presence in France. During the Francoism (1939-1975), premiums grew very slowly. The role of foreign multinationals decreased drastically and national companies were unable to enter foreign markets. The accession of Spain to the European Union in 1986 triggered a process of crisis and reorganisation. Most of the insurance companies became controlled by banks or foreign multinationals. Nevertheless, the leader, Mapfre, was again a Spanish company strong enough to create an important network of affi liates abroad. In this paper we try to explain the singularity of the internationalisation of the Spanish insurance in the 20th century.