In July 1999, after a decade of international growth, Aegon acquired Transamerica, one of the best-known insurers in the United States, and a company with a rich history of its own.
The origins of Transamerica date to 1904, when Amadeo Giannini founded the Bank of Italy in San Francisco, California.
The bank served the working class residents of the city, including many Italians living in the North Beach neighborhood. The bank survived the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 and was one of the first to offer loans to businesses to help rebuild the city.
After years of expansion, the Bank of Italy merged with the Bank of America in the 1920s. The bank assumed the name of Bank of America.
In 1930, Gianni acquired a major insurance company, Occidental Life Insurance, through a holding company he named Transamerica. Occidental had been founded soon after Gianni’s Bank of Italy – in 1906, also on the West Coast.
After decades of expansion, Transamerica commissioned a new headquarters building in San Francisco: the Transamerica Pyramid.
The Pyramid was designed by William Pereira, an architect of futuristic buildings, and completed in 1972. The building is still San Francisco's tallest.
Though Transamerica's headquarters are no longer in San Francisco, the building is still owned by Aegon, and the pyramid is still an integral part of Transamerica's logo.
When Aegon acquired Transamerica in 1999, the purchase was the largest made by a Dutch company overseas and the second largest in the US insurance industry.
Transamerica operates under its own brand name in the US and Canada, and remains one of the most-familiar names in the American insurance industry.
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updated May 8, 2012
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