National Socialism influenced the working climate and ethical standards throughout industry. It also affected the behavior of and relationships among Allianz's more than 10,000 employees.
In 1933 Hans Hess became Kurt Schmitt's successor as General Director of Allianz. Together with board member Eduard Hilgard he exerted a decisive influence on business development and the company's sociopolitical position right up to the end of the Second World War.
Kurt Schmitt's energetic course of expansion in the 1920s had made Allianz the biggest insurance company in Germany. In 1933 Schmitt became Minister of Economic Affairs in Adolf Hitler's government. In 1935 he resigned from this post as he was unable to implement his political ideas and his health was failing. After his recovery he returned to Allianz and in 1938 became General Director of Munich Re.
Schmitt's successor, Hans Hess, maintained a very distant relationship to National Socialism. Unlike many other German company directors, he did not join the NSDAP. Hans Hess concentrated on the internal organization of the company, creating a corporate structure that was both efficient and viable in the long term.
Eduard Hilgard, as a functionary of the insurance association, provided support for the management's actions. He represented the interests of the private insurer vis à vis the state and the party. In 1934 Hilgard became the head of the newly founded Reichsgruppe of insurance companies. The Reichsgruppe, the successor to the former umbrella organization of the insurance industry, was created in line with Nazi ideology.