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Institute of Insurance Science (IVK)

Institute History

The Institute of Insurance Science at the University of Cologne (IVK) is an interdisciplinary institution that focuses on the acquisition of scientific knowledge and its transfer to academic teaching and practice.

In 1940, Walter Rohrbeck, who was appointed to the chair of insurance science at the WiSo Faculty, founded the Institute of Insurance Science at the University of Cologne (IVK) with the support of the insurance sector. The institute initially consisted of four departments, later and up to the present day of three departments for insurance economics, insurance law and insurance mathematics. The original fourth department covered the field of insurance medicine. The IVK is in this respect the oldest existing interdisciplinary research institute for insurance issues in Germany.


"Probability calculations and statistics are the foundation of insurance. The concrete design of insurance coverage and its processing are scientifically based legal applications. An efficient operating process in insurance companies requires the use of findings from business economics".

This quotation by Dr Georg Büchner, the former President of the German Insurance Association (GDV) on the occasion of the IVK's 50th anniversary in 1990, formulates in general and in principle the still valid core tasks in the areas of research, teaching and the transfer of science into insurance practice.

IVK Directors

Directors of the IVK were and are:

Department of Insurance Economics and Managing Director:

Prof. Dr. Dr. Walter Rohrbeck (1940-1945), Prof. Dr. Dr. Karl Hax (1945-1948), Prof. Dr. Dr. Walter Rohrbeck (1948-1956), Prof. Dr. Paul Braeß (1957-1972), Prof. Dr. Dieter Farny (1972-1999), Prof. Dr. Heinrich R. Schradin (since 1999).

Insurance Law Department:

Prof. Dr. Erich Roehrbein (1940-1961), Prof. Dr. Ernst Klingmüller (1961-1983), Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ulrich Hübner (1983-2008), Prof. Dr. Christian Rolfs (since 2008).

Department of Insurance Mathematics:

Prof. Dr. Albert Noack (1950-1956), Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Johannes Pfanzagl (1964-1993), Prof. Dr Hartmut Milbrodt (1993-2001), Prof. Dr Joseph Steinebach (2002-2005), Prof. Dr Hanspeter Schmidli (since 2005).

Main competences

The department of Insurance Economics is concerned with microeconomic and behavioural analyses of insurance demand, investigations into the limits of private insurability and the development of insurance regulation. Although the business economics of insurance generally deal with all questions of business theories and teaching, we in Cologne have set priorities in the areas of risk management and accounting.

Insurance law is not part of the compulsory area, but rather of the focus area of legal studies. In addition to the broad field of social insurance law, the law of private insurance is largely influenced by insurance regulatory law and insurance contract law.

Actuarial mathematics is part of applied stochastics with specific probabilistic analyses and technical risk statistics on the empirical level.


The internationality of the insurance sector becomes obvious when it comes to reinsurance. The oldest reinsurer in the world was founded in Cologne in 1846 as Kölnische Rückversicherung AG. The company now operates under the name General Reinsurance AG and has been supporting international research and teaching at IVK since 2009 by establishing the GenRe Guest Professorship. For the 11th time now, internationally renowned guest researchers have been invited to Cologne for several weeks to give lectures at the WiSo faculty in the Master's programmes and at the Cologne Graduate School (CGS). Research cooperations have developed and promoted the international reputation of the IVK, especially in the areas of empirical insurance science.

Institute Library

The work of the Institute in research, teaching and practice transfer would not have been possible in all these years without the equipment and continuous maintenance of the Insurance Science Library, which is financed to a large part by the Promotional Association of the IVK. Over decades, the origins of a scientific reference library have given rise to the largest specialist library for insurance science in Germany. Today it is also internationally recognised and in great demand. It sees itself equally as a service provider for research, teaching and the insurance industry. Due to the changes in technology, a specialized information system based on all relevant print and digital media with corresponding databases and online workstations for users from all over the world has developed from mere book collections. Nowadays, after retro-cataloguing, the entire holdings of all the library's departments are fully accessible and searchable on the Internet.

A milestone in the coordinated library sector in 2005 was the cooperation agreement on a common specialist library of insurance science (FBV) between the Institute and the University and City Library. By locating this specialist library at the Institute of Insurance Science, the entire insurance literature of the University of Cologne is now collected and administered at the IVK. This cooperation agreement has accelerated and deepened the library's traditionally close collaboration with other library institutions of universities, the insurance industry and other economic sectors as well as legal practice. Today, numerous national and international enquiries, including interlibrary loans, are regularly handled.