Three generations of professional claims expertise

1918-1960 Paul Gielisch

As an employee of  B. Glauerdt underwriting agency in Hamburg, Paul Gielisch receives an assignment in 1917 to work in Düsseldorf, where he applies with the local chamber of commerce to be sworn as an average adjuster. The respective certificate of appointment is issued on 16 January 1918. At the same time, Paul Gielisch is appointed by Verein Hamburger Assecuradeure on 15 January 1918 as their average agent for Düsseldorf.

His specialist expertise and professional experience quickly earn him a reputation in the industry, and in the course of the same year, he sets up his own office. Apart from working as an average agent, Paul Gielisch gets actively involved in clearing the river Rhine of war debris. He rallies a group of volunteers to remove war debris from the navigation channel, using his own ship, the  M/V 'P. Gielisch Düsseldorf'.
Over the following years, he is appointed as average agent/adjuster for Düsseldorf by other insurance companies:

  • 25/09/1922:  La Générale Société Anonyme d’Assurances à Berne
  • 21/12/1925:  Schweizerische National-Versicherungsgesellschaft
  • 21/01/1929:  Verein Bremer See-Versicherungs-Gesellschaften
  • 30/06/1937:  Basler Transport-Versicherungsgesellschaft

Continuing to expand his network of business contacts, Paul Gielisch successfully steers his newly founded company through a period marked by economic hardship. By the end of the 1930s, Paul Gielisch has built a reputation for providing reliable and competent claims handling services to the insurance industry.

Throughout the second world war, his business activities continue undisturbed by the Nazi regime. He becomes a highly sought-after expert in the handling of losses involving goods in transit by river, road, or rail. He conducts cause investigations and arranges salvage sales. He also intervenes after collisions of vessels on the river Rhine, organising recovery operations and issuing general average statements and damage appraisal reports.

Being an avowed art lover, Paul Gielisch also handles claims involving damage to fine art, starting a family tradition that would later be successfully continued by his son and grandson.

Paul Gielisch has three children. In 1960, he passes the management of his company to his youngest son, Carl. At that time, the company had less than five employees.

1960-1990: Carl Gielisch

Even before completing his university studies in law and mechanical engineering, Carl Gielisch helps out in his father's company, learning the business from the bottom up. On 14 December 1959, he is officially appointed and sworn as an average adjuster by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

On 1 January 1961, Carl Gielisch is appointed by Comité Central des Assureurs Maritimes de France as their average agent. His appointment as average agent for Verein Hamburger Assecuradeure follows on 15 August 1963.

Carl Gielisch increases the number of employees working at the headquarters in Düsseldorf. He takes on three apprentices, including Hans Riedel and Willi Fleischhauer, who would remain with the company for over 50 years, building extraordinary careers in adjusting marine and hull claims. Willi Fleischhauer expands the activities of the hull claims department. It is thanks to his commitment that our hull claims specialists today are appointed to handle marine losses across all navigable rivers and canals in Western and Eastern Europe.

The company's first branch office is opened in Stuttgart in 1964. Branch offices in Frankfurt am Main and Cologne follow in 1969. In 1977, another branch office is opened in Munich.
On 1 August 1983, C. Gielisch GmbH is appointed as average agent for Düsseldorf by Verein Bremer Seeversicherer e.V.  In August the following year, the company is appointed as average agent by Comisariado Español Maritimo, S.A. in Madrid.

In addition to his activities as an average adjuster, Carl Gielisch pursues his keen interest in art, starting his own art collection. This earns him appointments to assess marine claims involving damaged artwork. As he gains in-depth knowledge in the field, he intensifies his activities as a fine art claims specialist. With his network of contacts in the art scene, Carl Gielisch gets appointed by major museums and art collectors, building an international reputation for fine art claims expertise, while the handling of hull and marine claims remains the company's core segment.

Carl Gielisch continuously expands his contacts beyond Germany, especially to Scandinavia, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and England.

In April 1990, Carl Gielisch dies at the age of 63.



Since 1990: Claus Gielisch

At the age of 32, Carl Gielisch's son Claus takes over management of the company. Having completed his law degree, he has already familiarised himself with the business operations working as deputy manager of the company's branch office in Munich during his father's lifetime. In 1991, Claus Gielisch is officially sworn as an average adjuster.

Following in his father's footsteps, Claus Gielisch works as a fine arts adjuster on an international level. In 2008, he is officially appointed and sworn as a fine arts specialist by the Düsseldorf Chamber of Industry and Commerce. In 2015, his appointment is renewed for another five years. With the employment of another fine arts adjuster in 1996, the company expands its activities in the fine art claims segment. 


A longstanding tradition of average adjusting expertise

For many years, the individual offices of C. Gielisch GmbH have received appointments as average agents both in Germany and abroad. Appointments with the following clients have been regularly renewed and continue to exist to the present day:


  • American Institute of Marine Underwriters (AIMU)
  • Comité d’Etudes et de Services des Assureurs Maritimes et Transports (CESAM)
  • Comisariado Español Maritimo (COMISMAR)
  • Verein Hanseatischer Transportversicherer e.V. Hamburg-Bremen (VHT)

An expanding network of branch offices

After the fall of the inner German border, Claus Gielisch expands eastward. In 1990/91, offices are opened in Berlin, Leipzig, Budapest, Nuremberg, Dresden, Almaty, and Warsaw. In 1997, an office is opened in Hamburg. Under the leadership of Claus Gielisch, further offices are opened in Bratislava, Saarbrücken, Gera, Magdeburg, Münster, and Hanover between 2003 and 2011. In 2015, an office is opened in Bremen, end of 2016 an additional office is opened in Offenburg. Today, C. Gielisch GmbH operates in 15 locations across Germany. While its international offices in Almaty, Bratislava, and Warsaw have meanwhile been closed, operation of its offices in Wroclaw and Budapest continues.



Conquering new business segments

Into the mid 1980s, C. Gielisch GmbH concentrates on its core business in the hull, P&I, and marine lines. Thanks to excellent contacts with the English market, instructions to investigate liability and property claims in Germany start coming in from clients in England in the early 1990s. This leads to first contacts being made with German clients in this line of business. From this starting point, the company steadily expands its activities in the liability and property lines, which by the mid 1990s would become one of the main pillars of the business.

At the same time, the new 'film/TV/media and event' division is set up, in response to demand from a major German film insurance company. 

In view of the growing interest on the part of both national and international insurers and other clients in services providing desktop handling of high-frequency claims, our subsidiary, Gielisch Claims Management (GCM GmbH) is founded in May 2005.

In 2011, our wind energy division is set up. Forming around a core of two expert engineers specialising in wind power technology, our wind energy team surveys damages to wind energy installations.

Over the years, the increasing level of complexity of claims has called for greater specialisation among surveyors and loss adjusters. Today, our company draws from a pool of over 80 surveyors and loss adjusters from the fields of mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, civil engineering, architecture, transportation and logistics, agricultural science, law, fine art, film, media, and the insurance business. In total, C. Gielisch GmbH has about 100 employees. Its subsidiary, Gielisch Claims Management GmbH, has 20 employees.


International network partners

Claus Gielisch is one of the founding members of his first European network, MEP - McLarens European Partners, which was launched in 1992. In 2002, the international 'McLarens European Partners' network disbands, and new partners are included, who thereafter operate worldwide under the new name 'vrsuniverse'. In 2009, 'vrsuniverse' becomes 'vrs Adjusters', again including C. Gielisch GmbH among the founding members, and with Claus Gielisch holding a board position to this day. vrs Adjusters comprises 450 partner offices in 140 countries.