Swiss Re history in China

Swiss Re has a long-standing relationship with China’s insurance industry. Its first reinsurance contracts go back as far as 1931 when Swiss Re signed a fire treaty with the Taiping Fire & Marine Insurance Company; and 1973 when a treaty was signed with the PICC.

This long relationship between the Chinese insurance industry and Swiss Re has progressively strengthened with each year.  Swiss Re set up representative offices in Beijing and Shanghai in 1995 and 1996 respectively and opened its Beijing branch to conduct life and non-life business throughout the country on December 19, 2003.

"China Reinsurer of the Year" for years

Leveraging on the capital strength, expertise, innovation power, the international experience and local knowledge, Swiss Re has been working closely with insurance companies and brokers in China to provide a full range of reinsurance products and services in this market.

As a result of the good effort, Swiss Re has won three times the "China Reinsurer of the Year Award" since 2010, for successfully localizing its international experience to meet the needs of clients in China. The award is part of the annual "Focus of Insurance Awards,” run by China Insurance Marketing, a leading and highly respected trade publication in China. The award is in recognition of the value added by Swiss Re to the market and the contribution Swiss Re makes to the industry.

Supporting healthy growth of the insurance industry in China

Apart from providing tailored reinsurance solutions for insurance companies in China, Swiss Re is also committed to the healthy growth of the insurance industry.

Swiss Re sponsors regular knowledge sharing with the industry, ranging from technical workshops and seminars to the sponsoring of insurance staff to attend professional courses either on-line or at Swiss Re Academy in its many campus sites around the world.

Among all the key seminars and workshops delivered in China, the annual CFO roundtable since 2009 has been well received by the industry as a key platform for senior insurance executives to exchange views and obtain insight on new trend of development in the global insurance industry, especially in solvency related issues.

Apart from knowledge sharing, Swiss Re also works on building dialogue platforms for the insurance communities, which has helped the international insurance community to have a better understanding of the fast growth of the insurance industry in China, and also assisted the Chinese insurance professionals to be on track with the latest development of the global insurance market.

In 2011, Swiss Re hosted a conference with the Geneva Association in Beijing to promote liability insurance in the market. This conference was a direct outgrowth of the Geneva Association's traditional series of International Liability Conferences, held in Europe for the past seven years. And it was the first time for this conference series to come to Asia. The conference illustrated the rising importance of a broad industry dialogue on liability issues resulting from the developing Chinese market. Based on the warm feedback, Swiss Re hosted a second conference with the Geneva Association in Beijing in 2012 to discuss the tort law and its impact on the insurance industry in China. The two conferences enabled the international insurance society to have a better understanding on China, and also provided a good opportunity for Chinese insurance professionals to get an update on the latest development in liability insurance.

In the energy sector, Swiss Re structured the first precipitation index insurance solution in China in 2011. It was the first time to apply weather index solution to the energy sector in China.

Contributing to sustainable development of the Chinese economy

China is highly exposed to natural catastrophes. Without increased insurance penetration, the financial loss burden of such perils could threaten China’s sustained economic and social development. Swiss Re has been working with various stake holders, including government bodies, to look at innovative ways to mitigate natural catastrophe risks.

As early as in 2004, Swiss Re and the Beijing Normal University (BNU) published “Atlas of Natural Disaster System in China”. The atlas is the most comprehensive map series of natural catastrophe risk in China ever published and was intended to help insurers and the general public to better understand natural catastrophe risk in China. Swiss Re was the sole financial sponsor of the project and was actively involved in developing the atlas.

Throughout the years, Swiss Re has been working with concerned parties to improve data transparency as a vital step to sustainable management of natural catastrophe risk management in China. On behalf of CRESTA, an independent organisation for the technical management of natural hazard coverage, Swiss Re created in 2009 new and more specific zones for China, to help improve the country’s natural catastrophe risk management through more effective data exchange among insurance market players. The new system was introduced to the China market at a conference in Beijing in August 2009, which was jointly organized with National Disaster Reduction Centre of China (NDRCC), and with special support from the “Research and Demonstration Project for Risk Prevention Key Technology” of China.

In July 2009, Swiss Re signed an agreement with the Beijing Municipal Government to provide reinsurance protection for agriculture against natural catastrophes, which was praised by Mr Zhou Yanli, Vice Chairman of CIRC, as a significant important arrangement to enhance the model for agriculture insurance risk management in China.

Fulfilling corporate social responsibilities

Swiss Re has worked with a number of leading universities and research institutions, including the Peking University, the Tsinghua University, the Fudan University, the Nankai University, the City University of Hong Kong and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences to conduct joint researches, or to sponsor research projects for the purpose of better understanding risks China. In the past decade, a number of books and reports were produced as a result of the joint effort, which included but were not limited to “An insurance recipe for the Chinese food and agricultural industry” (in 2008), “Health Insurance and Medical Statistics” (in 2007), “Opportunities and Challenges for the Insurance Industry in China” (in 2006), and “Population, Illness and Insurance” (in 2003).

In 2011, Swiss Re worked with the Peking University to deliver a series of courses on the concepts of (re)insurance and international trends in the (re)insurance sector to the undergraduates in the university, many of whom will enter the insurance industry after graduation.

As part of the effort of supporting sustainable growth, Swiss Re partnered with the Centre for Environmental Education & Communications (CEEC) of the State Environment Protection Administration from 2003 to 2008 to organize and sponsor an annual, nation-wide competition for students as part of a grassroots programme to raise awareness for environmental protection themes. And starting from 2009, Swiss Re works with CEEC to promote environmental courses among selected universities in China as a key sponsor for their leading environmental project called "BELL".

Published May 2013