In 2015 OOM Verzekeringen will celebrate its 75th anniversary. We began as an insurer of war and kindred risk during the Second World War and have now developed into a specialist provider of standard and increased fire risk cover and insurance abroad.
The war years
On 16 July 1940, five company directors founded the Onderlinge Oorlogsschadeverzekering Maatschappij (Mutual War Damage Insurance Company). The aim was to allow policy holders to collectively bear the risk of war damage. In contrast to other companies, that mainly operated regionally, ‘the OOM’ provided insurance throughout the whole of the Netherlands.
The OOM met a clear need and grew significantly during the war years. It didn’t take long before new departments were added, for industrial risk, personal liability, jewellery and inland navigation. As the fear of large-scale military action in the Netherlands increased, so did demand for war and kindred risk insurance.
The increase in activities led to new personnel being taken on. At the end of the Second World War the OOM had over 600 employees. Part of the work was carried out by ‘home workers’, often Jews or other people in hiding.
In search of a new direction
After the liberation, the expectation was that the OOM would soon disappear. After all there is little demand for war and kindred insurance during times of peace. But processing the claims from the war was complicated, and it wasn’t until 1978 that the last of the payments for damage were paid out.
Consequently the organisation remained more or less intact, in order to deal with the claims under the war and kindred risk insurance. It wasn’t long before the question arose if we couldn’t put our expertise to use and tap into new sources of income. This enabled the cost necessary for retaining the organisation and personnel to be covered.
So the company developed initiatives to move activities in a new direction. Not all of which were successful. In 1961, the name was changed to the Onderlinge Verzekering Maatschappij O.O.M (Mutual Insurance Company), to deflect the fact that the company offered more than just war and kindred risk insurance.
Contrary to expectation, the demand for war and kindred insurance didn’t disappear. OOM began offering ‘minor war and kindred risk’ insurance (for example against terrorism or riots) alongside the ‘major war and kindred risk’ insurance (covering damage due to war or rebellion, for example).
In 1965, OOM started offering fire, burglary and vandalism insurance for difficult to insure premises such as mobile fast-food outlets, beach catering establishments, fairground rides, jeweller’s shops and club premises. The demand was considerable and OOM was prepared to accept risks for which customers were unable to get cover anywhere else.
Another successful initiative was the launch of healthcare insurance on a mutual basis in 1961. The insurance was meant for people who are couldn’t get cover from general healthcare insurers, due to existing ailments. In 1978 this department continued under the name of “O.O.M.” Onderlinge Ziektekostenverzekering-Maatschappij U.A.’ (Mutual Healthcare Insurance Company).
OOM in 2015
War and kindred risk, increased fire and other risks and complementary healthcare insurance continue to form the pillars of the OOM offering. Only war and kindred risk is now insured on a mutual basis. OOM Verzekeringen healthcare insurance is aimed almost exclusively at Dutch nationals living abroad, or foreigners in the Netherlands. We also offer these groups a large range of indemnity insurance options.