History of the Techniker Krankenkasse
TK can trace its history back to October 27, 1884, when a group of technicians and engineers gathered to create a comprehensive health insurance body.
At a time when the German state was seeking to deepen support for workers, TK sought to serve the technical experts who were powering the nation's rapidly industrializing economy. However, it didn't become a modern insurer for many decades. It took until 1927 for legal changes to convert the grant-making body into a proper occupational insurer.
From the 1950s, TK developed into a broader-based, democratically run organization, where members dictated who was in control. The fund constantly looked forward, pioneering coverage for unmarried partners and making sick pay easier to obtain.
Membership soared, hitting 1.1 million by 1984 (with 2.4 million insured). TK constantly adopted procedures ahead of the pack, making heart transplants mainstream well before other insurers. But it has still remained a very human organization, relying on an army of volunteers to liaise with members and assist with its many care centers.
In 1995, TK was a trailblazer once more, being the first insurer to create an online presence. Since 1996, it has also expanded from providing packages for technical workers, to serving all Germans - and foreign residents.
Nowadays, the innovation continues, from TK's popular apps, to the provision of acupuncture as a pain relief treatment. Wherever you look, TK sets the agenda for German health insurance, and this has been recognized by numerous industry experts.
For example, Focus Money magazine has named TK "Best German Health Insurance Provider" 13 times in a row, while the DFSI has given TK full marks in its GKV Quality Ratings.