The founder of the Association was Fabio Padoa Schioppa, former Chief Executive Officer of Generali (Trieste), with Raymond Barre, subsequently French Prime Minister as President, and Orio Giarini as Secretary General.
"The Geneva Association has been founded to make an original contribution to the progress of insurance through objective studies of the interdependence between the economic environment and insurance activities. […] In order to achieve this aim, The Geneva Association shall highlight the role of insurance in the economy and in modern society. For, at a time when the need for security is increasingly acute, it is in the interest of all parties to stand together to face the growing risks of a changing world.”
Raymond Barre, First report to the Assembly of Members, 1974
Fabio Padoa had a clear perception of the growing importance of risk management and insurance in our world, and he launched the idea of a centre or institute to study this development, travelling around Europe in 1972 to discuss this project.
In addition to Fabio Padoa, the founding committee included Emil Frey, General Manager, Mannheimer Versicherung (Mannheim); Georges Martin, President, Royale Belge (Brussels); Ernst Meyer, General Manager, Allianz (Munich); and Bernard Pagezy, President, La Paternelle (Paris).
A Constitutive Assembly of The Geneva Association took place in Paris on 27 February 1973 at the headquarters of La Paternelle (today part of the AXA Group). The following companies were represented by their President or Chief Executive Officer:
- Allianz, Münchener Rück, Aachener & Münchener, and Victoria for Germany
- Commercial Union, Royal and Mercantile & General for the United Kingdom
- Erste Allgemeine for Austria
- Royale Belge for Belgium
- UAP, AGF, La Paternelle, Préservatrice and SAFR for France
- Generali, RAS, Reale Mutua, INA and Fondiara for Italy
- Nationale Nederlanden for the Netherlands
- The Swiss Reinsurance Company for Switzerland.
Orio Giarini, Secretary General from 1973–2000, trustee of the World Academy of Art and Science and editor of The European Papers on the New Welfare and of Cadmus, wrote a detailed history of The Geneva Association as a special contribution to the Insurance Economics newsletter in 2011.
Orio Giarini died on 28 February 2020, and a Special Issue of The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance was published in March 2021 in his memory. The issue includes an article by Walter B. Kielholz, former Chairman of The Geneva Association, on the history of the organisation.