Foundation for the promotion of insurance science at the University of Mannheim*

*formerly Dr. Kurt-Hamann-Stiftung

Founders: Dr. Kurt Hamann, Directorate-General VICTORIA Versicherung AG (d.), and Heinz Schmöle, Directorate-General VICTORIA Versicherung AG (d.)

Prof. Dr. Thomas Puhl (President of the University)
Prof. Dr. Peter Albrecht
Prof. Dr. Oliver Brand
Prof. Dr. Martin Schlather

Purpose of the foundation

Promotion of research projects in the entire field of insurance science, in particular the fields of insurance management, insurance law and insurance mathematics. Conferral of the Mannheim Award for Insurance Sciences (formerly: Dr. Kurt-Hamann-Preis) for outstanding doctoral dissertations and Diplom theses in the field of insurance science.

Application process: Applications must be forwarded via the President to the foundation council.

Reasons for the name change

Due to an amendment adopted by the foundation council the former “Dr. Kurt-Hamann-Stiftung” was renamed “Stiftung zur Förderung der Versicherungswissenschaft an der Universität Mannheim” (Foundation for the promotion of insurance science at the University of Mannheim) in December 2018.

The name change is based on an evaluation of the economic historian Prof. Dr. Johannes Bähr. This evaluation provides new information about Dr. Kurt Hamann, the founder and long-term chairman of the board of the Victoria-Versicherungs-Gesellschaften. The foundation council commissioned the evaluation after the former BBC journalist Dina Gold had made a research request for her publication “Stolen Legacy” which suggested Kurt Hamann’s involvement in the large-scale “Aryanizations” by Victoria Versicherung.

The evaluation does not permit conclusions on Dr. Kurt Hamann's personal attitude toward National Socialism. It shows, however, his responsibility as chair of the board of Victoria Versicherung during the National Socialist regime. Although Hamann was apparently not an anti-Semite – this is suggested, among other things, by his efforts to hold on to Jewish foreign employees of Victoria Versicherung – he had “taken advantage of all business opportunities that were offered to Victoria in the 'Third Reich,' in particular the large-scale, almost routine takeover of Jewish-owned real estate, which often took place in the context of forced sales” (p. 26). Hamann was personally involved in the “Aryanization” of the Hermann Tietz company as the representative of the largest mortgage creditor.

Because of these findings, the foundation decided to no longer name the renowned award for insurance science after Dr. Kurt Hamann. The name giver of a prize awarded to outstanding early-stage researchers should also serve as a role model with clearly defined moral qualities.

See the evaluation

See the press release (December 2018)

You can find an interview with the journalist Dina Gold on FORUM online, the magazine of the University of Mannheim.