It is the final lifeline for Germany’s many life insurance policy holders, but most people don’t even know it exists.
Protektor, a private company that since 2002 has formed a sort of security blanket over the troubled industry, is based in an inauspicious four-story building in Mannheim, an industrial town in the central German state of Hesse. Even taxi drivers can’t name the building if you ask them to take you there.
And yet, Protektor could soon play a critical role in Europe’s largest economy. With interest rates at record lows across Europe, life insurance firms in particular are teetering on the brink. If they fail, it will be up to Protektor to pick up the pieces and ensure that policy holders still get their payouts.
Jörg Westphal became the head of Protektor in 2005. In an interview with Handelsblatt, he assured that his company has the resources to handle a possible crisis. Even large insurance companies could be saved if they run into trouble, he said.