- For the Swiss Re Tower, London, see: 30 St Mary Axe
|Traded as||SIX: SREN
|Founded||19 December 1863|
|Key people||Michel M. Liès (CEO of Holding), Christian Mumenthaler (CEO Reinsurance) Walter Kielholz (Chairman)|
|Products||Reinsurance, insurance, asset management|
|Revenue||US $33.624 billion (2012)|
|Profit||US $4.201 billion (2012)|
|Total assets||US $215.785 billion (end 2012)|
|Total equity||US $34.002 billion (end 2012)|
|Employees||11,193 (end 2012)|
Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd (German: Schweizerische Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft AG), generally known as Swiss Re, is a Swiss reinsurance company. It is the world’s second-largest reinsurer, after having acquired GE Insurance Solutions. The company has its headquarters in Zurich. Founded in 1863, Swiss Re operates through offices in more than 25 countries.
The Swiss Reinsurance Company of Zurich was founded on 19 December 1863 by the Helvetia General Insurance Company (now using the trade name of Helvetia insurance) in St. Gallen, the Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (Credit Suisse) in Zurich and the Basler Handelsbank (predecessor of UBS AG) bank in Basel.
On 10/11 May 1861, more than 500 houses went up in flames in the town of Glarus. Two thirds of the town sank into rubble and ashes; around 3000 inhabitants were made homeless. Like the fire of Hamburg in 1842 (which led to the foundation of the first professional reinsurers in Germany, ), the great fire of Glarus in 1861 showed that insurance coverage was totally inadequate in Switzerland in the event of such a catastrophe. Hence the need to provide more effective means of coping with the risks posed by such devastation.
The company’s articles of association were approved by the government of the Canton of Zurich on 19 December 1863. The foundation capital, which was 15% paid up, amounted to 6 million Swiss francs. The official foundation document bore the signature of the poet Gottfried Keller, who at the time was first secretary of the Canton of Zurich.
Group structure and operating model
The Group consists of the following three Business Units:
- Reinsurance: Reinsurance is Swiss Re’s largest business in income terms, providing about 80% of gross premiums through two segments — Property & Casualty and Life & Health.
- Corporate Solutions: Corporate Solutions offers insurance to mid-sized and multinational corporations across the globe. Offerings range from standard risk transfer covers and multi-line programmes to highly customised solutions. Corporate Solutions has over 40 offices worldwide.
- Admin Re: Admin Re provides risk and capital management solutions by which Swiss Re assumes closed books of in-force life and health insurance business, entire lines of business, or the entire capital stock of life insurance companies. Admin Re solutions aims to help clients to divest non-core blocks of business, thus reducing administrative costs and freeing up capital.
Swiss Re's leadership consists of the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee and the Group Management Board. Members of the Executive Committee are Michel M. Liès, Chief Executive Officer; Guido Fuhrer, Chief Investment Officer; David Cole, Chief Risk Officer; Agostino Galvagni, CEO Corporate Solutions; Matthias Weber, Chief Underwriting Officer; Christian Mumenthaler, Chief Executive Officer Reinsurance; George Quinn, Chief Financial Officer and Thomas Wellauer, Chief Operating Officer.
The group has offices in over 20 countries. In Europe, Swiss Re has offices located in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In Asia, the group has offices in the following countries: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, United Arab Emirates. Its only African office is located in South Africa. There are also offices in the Americas: Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States.
Swiss Re is headquartered in Zurich where the parent company’s main premises has stood on the shores of Lake Zurich since 1864. On 31 October 2008, Swiss Re completed GBP 762 million acquisition of Barclays PLC's Barclays Life Assurance Company Ltd.
Its London office is located in the award-winning 30 St Mary Axe tower, which opened on 25 May 2004. 30 St Mary Axe is London's first environmentally sustainable tall building. Among the building's most distinctive features are its windows, which open to allow natural ventilation to supplement the mechanical systems for a good part of the year.
The landmark London skyscraper, designed by architect Norman Foster and popularly known as 'the gherkin’, was confirmed sold on 5 February 2007 for over £600 million (US$1.18 billion) to a group formed of IVG Immobilien AG of Germany and Evans Randall of Mayfair.
The American headquarters of Swiss Re is located in Armonk, New York, on a 127-acre (52 hectares) site overlooking Westchester County’s Kensico Reservoir. The facility, which houses more than 1,000 employees from the company’s Life & Health and Property & Casualty business units, was completed in 1999 and expanded in 2004.
Swiss Re also has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Calabasas, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Wayne, Houston, Kansas City, Manchester, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Schaumburg, Illinois, and Windsor. Swiss Re has two Canadian offices, in Toronto, and Vancouver, Swiss Reinsurance Company Canada, was named one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc. in October 2008, which was announced by the Toronto Star newspaper.
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Broker dealer Swiss Re Capital Markets (SRCM), is a broker-dealer and underwriter and developer in the insurance-linked securities market. Since 1997 SRCM has underwritten over USD 15 billion of ILS including Insurance-Linked Bonds (ILBs) also known as Catastrophe Bonds (Cat Bonds) for third-party clients and its parent, Swiss Re.
Swiss Re Capital Markets has developed new security types such as earthquake bonds. Swiss Re Capital Markets also developed the parametric index trigger, the ILS shelf program, the first ILS synthetic CDO, and the first extreme mortality bond (linked to life risk).
In 2006, Fox-Pitt, Kelton completed a management buyout backed by J.C. Flowers & Co. Swiss Re had acquired FPK, a financial services focused investment banking boutique and brokerage in 1998 for $200 million.
Swiss Re supports its employees by refunding them up to 5000 Swiss Francs if they invest into technologies reducing CO2 emissions. Payments depend on the technology, its efficiency and the price of the investment. Examples of such technologies comprise hybrid cars, heat pumps, energy-saving refrigerators, or better insulated windows.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Swiss Re|
- "Financial Review 2012" (PDF). Swiss Re. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- "Disclosure notification in accordance with Article 20 of the Swiss Stock Exchange Act." Swiss Re. 2 August 2007. Retrieved on 18 January 2011. "Die Schweizerische Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft (Swiss Re) teilt mit,[...]"
- Ligi, Antonio (June 12, 2006). "Swiss Re Completes $7.4 Billion GE Insurance Purchase (Update2)". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2006-06-27.
- Lionel Laurent (02.05.09). "Buffett Sinks Billions Into Swiss Re". Forbes Magazine.
- DAVID JOLLY (February 5, 2009). "Swiss Re Gets $2.6 Billion From Berkshire Hathaway". The New York Times.
- Haig Simonian, Francesco Guerrera (February 5, 2009). "Swiss Re turns to Buffett for new funding". The Financial Times.
- Swiss Re leadership
- "Swiss Re confirms £600m Gherkin sale". Financial Times. February 5, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-07. "Swiss Re confirmed on Monday that it had sold the distinctive Gherkin building in the City of London for £600m to a joint venture between German property group IVG Immobilien AG and Evans Randall, the Mayfair based private investment group."
- "Reasons for Selection, 2009 Greater Toronto's Top Employers Competition".
- Fox-Pitt bows to $200m Swiss Re offer. The Independent, December 22, 1998
- "Swiss Re offers CHF 5 000 rebate to each employee committing to reduce her or his personal carbon footprint" (Press release). Swiss Re. January 4, 2007.