He could have been a farmer, in the tradition of his ancestors. But Aloyse Hentgen, born in 1894, chose – like his two older brothers – to study law. After the First World War, he participated, like 32 other people, in the creation – on 29th February 1920 – of La Luxembourgeoise, Société Anonyme d’Assurances et Placements, with the aim of contributing to the economic redevelopment of the country. The company started its activities in banking and non life insurance, adding life insurance in its portfolio only from 1937.
During the Second World War, the company was dissolved by the German occupier in 1941, while Aloyse Hentgen and his son, Robert, then in his last year at school at the Athenee, were deported to Germany. They miraculously escaped the concentration camps.
At liberation, business resumed quickly, thanks to the zeal of the non-arrested or non-deported employees who immediately took the first steps useful for such a restart. The company was thus reconstituted and the Office of the Receiver was responsible for redistributing and dispatching the clients, one by one, between La Luxembourgeoise and its Luxembourg competitor Le Foyer.
In 1948, Aloyse Hentgen joined the government of Pierre Dupong as Minister of Economic Affairs and Agriculture. He therefore interrupted his term at La Luxembourgeoise, while his son Robert took office there in 1947, after his law studies.
Victim of a cerebral attack, however, he left his government position in September 1950 and returned to the company where, until his death in 1953, he prepared the transition with Robert. Young thirty-something, the latter took soon the head of the company. He stayed there until 1989.
Throughout the 50s and 60s, driven by the favorable general context, the two activities of La Luxembourgeoise were developing well, but the law of 6 September 1968 concerning the control of insurance companies forced it to gradually abandon its banking division from 1970. This activity was merged in La Banque du Benelux – La Luxembourgeoise, took over by the Banque Suez in 1970.
That same year, the insurance company invested its new headquarters in the city center on Aldringen Street. The building will be the scene of sometimes very special events, such as the day when a molotov cocktail was thrown into the entrance, by motorists protesters protesting against increases in the price of car insurance.
In 1986, Robert Hentgen became president of La Luxembourgeoise (leaving the general management to Gabriel Deibener), while his son Pit chose to start his career in a bank, with the consent of his father. In particular, he experienced the stock market crash of October 1987, which he himself predicted in his analyses.
New image, new name
While pursuing his career outside La Luxembourgeoise, mainly at the BGL, Pit Hentgen joined its management committee in 1988 with his cousin François Pauly, son of Jules Pauly, former director of Arbed and himself member of the board of directors of the company for more than 10 years.
When Gabriel Deibener surprisingly left the company, the cards were reshuffled and in 1995, Pit Hentgen, then 34, was convinced to become General manager, first in a duet with his father, then solo from of 1998.
The crises following the attacks of 11. September 2001 in New York or the economic and financial crash of September 2008 put insurance companies under severe strain. But prudence in management methods and a certain sense of anticipation allow La Luxembourgeoise to pass the pitfalls without much suffering, at the price of some radical decisions and judicious reorientations of investments.
Pushed to abandon its almost historic building on rue Aldringen, while the big urban development project of the commercial mall Royal-Hamilius was emerging, La Luxembourgeoise left, for the first time in its history, the perimeter of the city and installs its new headquartered in Leudelange in 2011.
She took the opportunity to adopt a new visual identity and a short name in Lalux, with the slogan “meng Versécherung” (“my insurance”) which expresses continuity with the proximity, listening and dialogue that have always characterised.