The HDI came into being as one might expect of a mutual insurance society: at the initiative of its members, who were dissatisfied with the liability insurers of their day. The nucleus of what is today the
Talanx Group was formed by the employer's liability insurance associations of the successful iron and steel industry (176 companies and six employer's liability insurance associations as founding members). "Haftpflichtverband der deutschen Eisen- und Stahl-Industrie" founded in Frankfurt. 1904 headquarter in Saarbrücken.
The headquarter moved from Saarbrücken to Hannover. By 1920, further employer's liability insurance associations had joined: the association still had the "iron and steel industry" in its name, but already had a much broader membership.
The Feuerschadenverband (fire society) rheinisch-westfälischer Zechen Bochum was founded as a "civil-law partnership" and converted into a GmbH (limited liability company) in 1921. To avoid the looming threat of nationalisation and – as far as possible – insurance supervision, the new association did not want to be seen as an insurance institution. Instead, it focused on damage prevention through prudent precautions and risk education.