143rd Swiss Re Annual General Meeting approves increased dividend of CHF 3.40 per share and share buy-back programme

20 April 2007, Zurich

At Swiss Re's 143rd Annual General Meeting, shareholders approved the company's financial statements for 2006, a year in which Swiss Re delivered record earnings with net income after tax of CHF 4.6 billion. The shareholders also approved this year's 36% increase in dividend to CHF 3.40 per share, the changes to Swiss Re's capital structure and its share buy-back programme. Hans Ulrich Maerki was elected to the Board of Directors for the first time while Raymond Breu and John F. Smith, Jr. were re-elected.

At the 143rd Annual General Meeting, held at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, the Swiss Re shareholders accepted all the motions brought by the Board of Directors. The 2006 annual report was approved, as were the annual and consolidated financial statements and the higher dividend of CHF 3.40 per share.

Swiss Re's shareholders also approved the proposed changes to the capital structure and a share buy-back programme. On 6 March 2007, Swiss Re re-purchased 16.7 million shares from General Electric Company (GE), or approximately 50% of the stake which GE held in Swiss Re as a result of the GE Insurance Solutions acquisition. These shares will be used as underlying for mandatory convertible bonds. This allowed the shareholders at the AGM to approve the reduction in ordinary share capital by cancelling 4.5 million shares (thereby reducing the number of Swiss Re registered shares from 374.5 million to 370 million) as well as cancelling and reducing conditional capital.

Furthermore, the shareholders authorised the Board of Directors to buy back Swiss Re shares amounting in total to CHF 4.2 billion within a three-year period.

Elections and re-elections to the Board of Directors

At today's meeting Hans Ulrich Maerki was elected as a new non-executive, independent member of Swiss Re's Board of Directors for a four-year term of office. Mr Maerki is Chairman of IBM Europe, Middle East and Africa and is also a member of the boards of ABB, Mettler-Toledo International and of the Menuhin Festival Gstaad. Furthermore, the shareholders extended for a further four years the terms of office of Raymund Breu. John F. Smith, Jr. was re-elected for a one-year term, until the official retirement age for Board members. In application of the 2005 GEIS purchase agreement, Dennis D. Dammerman has decided to resign from the Board of Directors, as GE has sold its shares in Swiss Re.

A total of 1 144 shareholders attended the event, representing 43.49% of Swiss Re's voting share capital.

Civilian Service prize 2006

This year Swiss Re awarded the Civilian Service Prize to Dr. Daniel Heini and Dr. Claude Heini for the "Hunger Project Switzerland" (www.hungerprojekt.ch). With this prize Swiss Re annually honours individuals who, in addition to their daily work, engage in "good-citizenship" activities, upholding the civic service principle. This year's winners earned the prize for their efforts towards eradicating chronic hunger in developing countries.

Notes to editors

Swiss Re

Swiss Re is the world's leading and most diversified global reinsurer. The company operates through offices in more than 25 countries. Founded in Zurich, Switzer-land, in 1863, Swiss Re offers financial services products that enable risk-taking essential to enterprise and progress. The company's traditional reinsurance products and related services for property and casualty, as well as the life and health business are complemented by insurance-based corporate finance solutions and supplementary services for comprehensive risk management. Swiss Re is rated "AA-" by Standard & Poor's, "Aa2" by Moody's and "A+" by A.M. Best.

Cautionary note on forward-looking statements

Certain statements and illustrations contained herein are forward-looking. These statements and illustrations provide current expectations of future events based on certain assumptions and include any statement that does not directly relate to a historical fact or current fact. Forward-looking statements typically are identified by words or phrases such as "anticipate", "assume", "believe", "continue", "estimate", "expect", "foresee", "intend", "may increase" and "may fluctuate" and similar expressions or by future or conditional verbs such as "will", "should", "would" and "could". These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause Swiss Re's actual results, performance, achievements or prospects to be materially different from any future results, performance, achievements or prospects expressed or implied by such statements. Such factors include, among others:

  • the impact of significant investments, acquisitions or dispositions, and any delays, unexpected costs or other issues experienced in connection with any such transactions, including, in the case of acquisitions, issues arising in connection with integrating acquired operations;
  • cyclicality of the reinsurance industry;
  • changes in general economic conditions, particularly in our core markets;
  • uncertainties in estimating reserves;
  • the performance of financial markets;
  • expected changes in our investment results as a result of the changed composition of our investment assets or changes in our investment policy;
  • the frequency, severity and development of insured claim events;
  • acts of terrorism and acts of war;
  • mortality and morbidity experience;
  • policy renewal and lapse rates;
  • changes in rating agency policies or practices;
  • the lowering or withdrawal of one or more of the financial strength or credit ratings of one or more of our subsidiaries;
  • changes in levels of interest rates;
  • political risks in the countries in which we operate or in which we insure risks;
  • extraordinary events affecting our clients, such as bankruptcies and liquidations;
  • risks associated with implementing our business strategies;
  • changes in currency exchange rates;
  • changes in laws and regulations, including changes in accounting standards and taxation requirements; and
  • changes in competitive pressures.

These factors are not exhaustive. We operate in a continually changing environment and new risks emerge continually. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to publicly revise or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.