Austria: The Red Insurance Man

Behind drawn draperies in a ponderously furnished, strangely silent office on Vienna's Wohllebengasse (Alley of Good Living) lies one of the key outposts of the Communist drive for East-West trade. It is Garant Insur ance, a Russian-owned-and-operated firm set up under Austrian law, and its business is supplying coverage for Western businessmen who trade with the Soviet bloc. In the five years of its existence, Garant has seen its premium income soar from less than $600,000 to $4,000,000 this year; it now does business with some of the best-known manufacturers in Western Europe.

Westerners who want to trade with the...

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