Swiss Re

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For the Swiss Re Tower, London, see: 30 St Mary Axe
Schweizerische Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft AG
Type Aktiengesellschaft
Traded as
Industry Financial services
Founded 19 December 1863
Headquarters Zurich, Switzerland
Key people Michel M. Liès (CEO of Holding), Christian Mumenthaler (CEO Reinsurance) Walter Kielholz (Chairman), J. Eric Smith (President and CEO Swiss Re Americas),
Products Reinsurance, insurance, asset management
Revenue US $33.624 billion (2012)[1]
Profit US $4.201 billion (2012)[1]
Total assets US $215.785 billion (end 2012)[1]
Total equity US $34.002 billion (end 2012)[1]
Employees 11,193 (end 2012)[1]
Website www.swissre.com
Corporate headquarters in Zurich
30 St Mary Axe - at 180 m, Swiss Re's London headquarters is the 9th tallest building in London

Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd,[2] generally known as Swiss Re, is a reinsurance company based in Zurich, Switzerland. It is the world’s second-largest reinsurer, after having acquired GE Insurance Solutions.[3] Founded in 1863, Swiss Re operates through offices in more than 25 countries. Swiss Re was ranked 127th in Forbes 2000 Global leading companies. It was also ranked 311th & 334th in Fortune Global 500 in 2014 & 2013 respectively.[4] [5] [6]

History[edit]

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,[7]), 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.

In the late 1930s Swiss banker Ulrich Neukom effectively 'took' Swiss Re over to Beijing, China, where he introduced Asian companies to Swiss Re and allowed them to use the services which Swiss Re had to offer. However, Swiss Re were not officially present in China until the 1990s; the headquarters for China in Wanchai, Hong Kong, opened in 2003.

Swiss Re was the lead insurer of the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks which led to an insurance dispute with the owner, Silverstein Properties.

On 31 October 2008, Swiss Re completed a £762 million acquisition of Barclays PLC's subsidiary Barclays Life Assurance Company Ltd.

In 2009, Warren Buffett invested $2.6 billion as a part of Swiss Re's raising equity capital.[8][9] Berkshire Hathaway already owns a 3% stake, with rights to own more than 20%.[10]

In June 2014, the company through Admin Re acquired the UK pensions business of HSBC Life (UK) Limited worth £4.2 billion.[11]

Group structure and operating model[edit]

The Group consists of the following three Business Units:[12]

  • 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.

Leadership[edit]

Swiss Re's leadership consists of the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee and the Group Management Board.[13] Members of the Executive Committee include Michel M. Liès, Chief Executive Officer; Guido Fuhrer, Chief Investment Officer; David Cole, Chief Financial Officer; Patrick Raaflaub, Chief Risk Officer; Matthias Weber, Chief Underwriting Officer; Christian Mumenthaler, Chief Executive Officer Reinsurance; Agostino Galvagni, CEO Corporate Solutions; and Thomas Wellauer, Chief Operating Officer.

Office locations[edit]

The group has offices in over 25 countries. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), 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, and South Africa. There are also offices in the Americas: Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Corporate headquarters[edit]

Swiss Re is headquartered in Zurich where the parent company’s main premises has stood on the shores of Lake Zurich since 1864.

London headquarters[edit]

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.[14]

American headquarters[edit]

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, was completed in 1999 and expanded in 2004.

Swiss Re also has offices in Alpharetta, Boston, Calabasas, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Wayne, Houston, Kansas City, Manchester, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Miami, 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.[15]

Subsidiaries[edit]

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.[16]

Social responsibility[edit]

Greenhouse neutrality[edit]

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 include hybrid cars, heat pumps, energy-saving refrigerators, or better insulated windows.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Financial Review 2012" (PDF). Swiss Re. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "Privacy Policy." Swiss Re. Retrieved on 18 January 2011. "Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd (“Swiss Re”)[...]" and "Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd, Mythenquai 50/60, 8022 Zurich, Switzerland (“Swiss Re”) 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,[...]"
  3. ^ Ligi, Antonio (June 12, 2006). "Swiss Re Completes $7.4 Billion GE Insurance Purchase (Update2)". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2006-06-27. 
  4. ^ http://www.forbes.com/global2000/#page:1_sort:0_direction:asc_search:swiss_filter:All%20industries_filter:All%20countries_filter:All%20states
  5. ^ http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/2013/full_list/
  6. ^ http://fortune.com/global500/swiss-re-311/
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ Lionel Laurent (02.05.09). "Buffett Sinks Billions Into Swiss Re". Forbes Magazine. Archived from the original on 2012-07-31.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ DAVID JOLLY (February 5, 2009). "Swiss Re Gets $2.6 Billion From Berkshire Hathaway". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ Haig Simonian, Francesco Guerrera (February 5, 2009). "Swiss Re turns to Buffett for new funding". The Financial Times. 
  11. ^ "Swiss Re unit acquiring UK pension business of HSBC Life". London Mercury. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "Our structure and operating model". 
  13. ^ Swiss Re leadership
  14. ^ "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." 
  15. ^ "Reasons for Selection, 2009 Greater Toronto's Top Employers Competition". 
  16. ^ Fox-Pitt bows to $200m Swiss Re offer. The Independent, December 22, 1998
  17. ^ "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. 

External links[edit]