Our name is now ERV

In February 2012, Europeiska changed its name to ERV. The name is new, but most things will carry on as usual. Our ambition remains the same – we aim to be the leading company in Sweden in helping travellers before, during and after their trips.

As ERV, we are part of a major Group, operating in 11 countries, with 16 Euro-Centers throughout the world and a network of 40,000 hospitals and doctors. The Group’s head office is in Munich in Germany.

We are large but specialised. We are also the only travel insurance company which offers assistance at travel destinations from people who speak the Scandinavian languages. In addition, we are experts in special insurance for watches, jewellery, debit cards, concert tickets and accident insurance for schoolchildren.

So stamp your boarding pass and stay aboard for our trip through a century of adventure and excitement.


It all started in Hungary

In 1905, a Hungarian timber merchant, Herr von Engel, was planning a trip to London. When he wanted to insure his two trunks, the insurance company sent round an inspector, who demanded that he empty everything out so that the inspector could list every single item. This gave von Engel the idea of a simplified luggage insurance. This turned out to be a successful business idea, and launched the story of Europeiska. To start with, it was a Hungarian company – Európai.


All across Europe

To spread his vision, Herr von Engel travelled across Europe. A large number of companies sprang up, with A.T. Hammarstad setting up a Europeiska company in Sweden in 1920. All the companies signed a network contract, under which they cooperated across national frontiers. Each of the companies was called Europeiska, but in its own language.


“Clip and go” and Comprehensive insurance

In 1937, we unveiled a Comprehensive insurance policy – this was a totally new product, and we were the first on the market. The first claim we received involved frost-damaged oranges. In the 30s, we also launched the first insurance certificates. These were in the form of coupons which the traveller carried, and which were checked and clipped like a train ticket.


The War brought the world to a standstill

The Second World War brought both the world and Europeiska to a standstill. But after the War, there was a huge pent-up demand to travel and see new places.


Travel takes off

The 1950s brought unparalleled prosperity. People were curious about the outside world, and both business and tourist travel took off. In 1955 a plane lifted off the runway at Bromma Airport, headed for Palma in Majorca. This was Sweden’s first-ever charter holiday. It lasted for 16 days and cost SEK 1095.

Europeiska was in the right place at the right time, ideally placed to cooperate with travel agencies and organisers. The company grew at a fantastic rate. In the 50s, we also began offering insurance cover for business travellers.


More holidays for the public

The TV had made its way into people’s homes, opening the door to the outside world. The charter industry widened its appeal. In 1963, Swedes were given longer holidays by law, up from three weeks to four. Travel exploded, and new companies appeared, all ready to cater to this huge new demand, including Ving (in 1956) and Fritidsresor (in 1961).

In 1962, Europeiska introduced a combined travel policy, which offered complete cover during a foreign trip. We can’t swear to it, but we believe that we were probably the first company in the world to offer this kind of insurance.


Everyone heads for the Med for sun and sea

In the 1970s, charter holidays continued to grow. The Mediterranean was where people wanted to go, and places like Majorca, Nice and Rimini were popular destinations.

Our first Euro-Center opened in Majorca in 1971. In Sweden, our head office moved to Kungsgatan, and the company had a staff of 25-30 people. During the 70s, we also introduced the concept of “active claim help”, which meant that tour guides could given policy holders money immediately at the holiday destination.

In 1978, Swedes were given an additional week’s holiday, and the ”general industrial holiday” became part of life.


We expand

At the beginning of the 80s, we launched air crash insurance. Once again, we were the first with a breakthrough product. The insurance industry was going through a major period of flux, with mergers and takeovers.

  • In 1983, we changed our name from Europeiska Varu- och Resgodsförsäkringsaktiebolag [Europeiska Cargo and Luggage Insurance Company] to Europeiska Försäkringsaktiebolag [Europeiska Insurance Company].
  • In 1987, WASA was formed by the merger of four Swedish insurance companies – Vegete (our parent Group), Valand, Skånska Brand and Allmänna Brand. As a result, our name changed once again, to WASA Europeiska Försäkrings AB.

We also streamlined our operation and sold our cargo insurance business. Our focus was now on the needs of travellers (at home and abroad), so we developed a range of specialist policies. The first of these was our highly-successful Watch Insurance, which we launched in 1987.


On hand throughout the world

We took the decision that we would always be where our policy holders needed us, and that they would be assisted by people who spoke their own language. So, in the early 90s, we began to work more closely with Euro-Center, and we started Euro-Alarm, our first in-house emergency centre.

We were now on hand throughout the world – vital, as Swedes began to travel all over the world, and stay away for longer. In the 90s, new types of travel appeared, such as backpacking, sports and adventure holidays. Swedes also began to look for jobs abroad, and business travel became an increasing part of our operations.

The Iron Curtain fell, and this brought new levels of cooperation to Europeiska companies.


Two events that changed the world

The whole world changed in a single day when two aircraft flew into the World Trade Center in New York. This was one of the worst terrorist outrages ever. Three years later, between 225,000 and 300,000 people lost their lives in the tsunami disaster. These two events had a massive impact on the whole world, and on our travel habits.

Even so, travel continued to increase in the first years of the new millennium. New low-cost airlines made travel between Europe’s cities incredibly cheap. All-inclusive holidays were another innovation welcomed by Swedes.

Our brand went from second place to first. Europeiska Reseförsäkringar and Europeiska Försäkringar merged under the Europeiska name. We also made our first-ever TV advert.


Over 100 years have passed since Herr von Engel laid the foundations of Europeiska. Today, we are one of the largest players in the Swedish market for private and business travel insurance, and for insurance for people working abroad. Each year, we insure 2 million private travellers, 1.5 million business travellers and 15,000 people bases in over 100 countries in every part of the world.

2012 and onwards

A new name throughout Europe

On 1 February 2012, we changed our name to ERV – a milestone in our history. As ERV, we are part of a major Group, operating in 11 countries, with 16 Euro-Centers throughout the world and a network of 40,000 hospitals and doctors. The Group’s head office is in Munich in Germany. But most things will carry on as usual:

  • Our ambition remains the same – we aim to be the leading company in Sweden in helping travellers before, during and after their trips.  
  • Our specialist insurance for items such as watches, jewellery, debit cards and hearing aids is much in demand, and this is area we will continue to develop. 
  • We insure 670,000 school and preschool children in 65 municipalities throughout Sweden. 

As ERV, we will continue to offer the best insurance cover for travel and other specialist requirements. We hope that you have enjoyed this journey through our history, and that you will travel with us again in the future.