History of Groninger & Welke

In 1865, the Senate of the City of Bremen decided that in future all cases of General Average should be adjusted by independent average adjusters sworn in by the Senate. Accordingly, the two then existing average adjusters Heinrich Tecklenborg and H. Theodor Hach became the first sworn average adjusters in Bremen.


Ludwig Groninger
Ludwig Groninger


In 1882 Ludwig Groninger, the great-grandfather of one of the present partners, born in 1840, was sworn in and took over the average adjusting office after the death of his predecessors. He started his career as a wood merchant whose affairs had deteriorated allegedly because people had started to build steel ships. He led the office for nearly 50 years until his death in 1929.

Ludwig Groninger earned high merits in connection with the development of the German and international maritime law, especially the law of General Average, and was widely recognized as an authority in these fields. Even the highest German Court emphasized his practical experience and competence. As a longlasting member of the parliament he rendered worthy services for his home town, too.


Paul Groninger
Paul Groninger


1895 his son Paul and 1905 resp. 1910 his sons in law Dr. jur. Erich Prosch and Hans Minnich entered the office.

In order to relieve the old senior partner and to assist the other partners in the very busy office in 1924 Dr. jur. Carl Traub was sworn in and granted partnership. In 1938 Dr. jur. Hansjörg Groninger stepped in the place of his father Paul. The second world war reduced the activities of the adjusters' office to a minimum, but with the subsequent redevelopment of the merchant fleet adjusters were required again. In 1949 the office consisted of the sworn average adjusters Dr. jur. Hansjörg Groninger and Gustav Schneider as partners.


Hansjörg Groninger
Hansjörg Groninger


The latter had started to learn the profession from Ludwig Groninger in 1920 as a boy of 13 years of age. Later on he had served the office as chief clerk.

After difficult post-war years their business regained success due to the partners' skilled professional work and traditionally good relations to local shipping companies, marine insurance brokers and the Bremen Association of Marine Underwriters. In those days the office adjusted mainly cargo claims and cases of General Average, later also cases of Particular Average of ships which were insured on German insurance conditions in foreign markets (whilst claims of ships insured in Bremen were adjusted by the underwriters' own claims office).

Hansjörg Groninger served the German Association of Average Adjusters as chairman for many years and was one of the spiritual fathers of the International Association of European Average Adjusters. Mr. Schneider became famous for his special delight in dealing with general average adjustments involving hundreds of shipments of general cargo.

1971 Günther Groninger took the place of his father who had deceased in 1968. Mr. Schneider retired in 1981 after having celebrated his 60th professional anniversary in the year before. In 1989 Captain Manfred Welke was sworn in and became partner in the office, followed by Jörn M. Groninger who like his grandfather combines the professions of an average adjuster and a lawyer. He was sworn in by the chamber of commerce in March 2002. Now he is also a partner of the company and granted partnership.

In 2007 a further master mariner, Dirk Janssen, joined the firm. When Manfred Welke retired end of 2011, Dirk Janssen succeeded him as partner of the company.