Swiss Re named as the insurance sector leader in the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices

11 September 2014, Zurich

  • Swiss Re named as the insurance sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices
  • Swiss Re leads in progressively embedding sustainability into core business processes and practices
  • Swiss Re again rewarded for its employee engagement through COyou2 and Own the Way You Work™ programmes

Swiss Re has been named as the insurance industry sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for 2014. This is the eighth time since 2004 that Swiss Re has led the insurance sector in these rankings. The award highlights Swiss Re's long-term commitment to sustainable business and the efforts to continuously and progressively embed sustainability into key business processes and operations.

David Cole, Swiss Re's Group Chief Financial Officer, says: "For over a decade Swiss Re has been at the top of this important measure of sustainable business. We achieved this long-running success because we build sustainability into our approach to managing our company on both the asset and liability side. We approach sustainability in a way that can be measured and which can be made a part of our value proposition to clients and investors."

The close link between sustainability and core business such as underwriting and asset management is exemplified by Swiss Re's Sustainability Risk Framework. This framework allows Swiss Re's underwriters to identify sensitive business risks, and to start a dialogue with clients on significant environmental, social, reputational or governance concerns. In such cases, underwriters are empowered to work with clients to address these issues – or to abstain from business.

Swiss Re has formally endorsed, and implemented both the UN Principles for Responsible Investment and the UN Principles for Sustainable Insurance. Swiss Re is committed to investing its assets responsibly through a controlled and structured investment process, which also reflects our commitment to corporate responsibility by integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria.

Swiss Re's risk management processes encompass a forward-looking approach to risk. For example, the SONAR programme is an industry leading programme to identify new and emerging risks. SONAR is used directly in quantifying and modelling such risks. Swiss Re is also building on its long track record in addressing the possible future risks of climate change and climate risks. For example, in 2013 Swiss Re's Mind the Risk report made Swiss Re's in-house expertise on managing climate risks available to insurers and others who manage climate risks in urban areas.  

Swiss Re has been active in encouraging sustainable practices in the way it operates its own business. This is especially true for employees, who will continue to receive financial incentives to reduce their carbon footprint through the COyou2 programme. The Own the Way You Work™ programme gives employees the flexibility and technical infrastructure to work where and when they need to. This has proven especially beneficial for those with children or dependent relatives, who may need more flexibility in their workplace.

Sustainable growth is a priority in Swiss Re's strategy, especially in high growth markets, where increased wealth presents very positive business opportunities for the insurance sector. Globally, approximately 70% of the world's assets are still uninsured and risk being lost to natural catastrophes and other risks. By closing this protection gap, Swiss Re expects demand for natural catastrophe cover to double in high-growth markets between 2012 and 2020, while demand in mature markets is estimated to grow by 50% over the same period.

In order to achieve this growth in a sustainable way, Swiss Re is actively engaging insurance partners and community stakeholders to develop funding programmes for communities at risk of natural catastrophes. It is also developing a knowledge base for promoting awareness of mitigation measures and the benefits of adaption measures. Swiss Re helps its partners to build markets at the grassroots level; for example, through microinsurance programmes to help smallholder farmers. These programmes typically involve the use of cutting-edge satellite-based insurance techniques, which trigger payouts based on weather data.

David Cole says: "Swiss Re is committed to growing our business in a way which makes sense in the long term. This ensures profitability for our shareholders today and contributes to sustainable economies in the future."

Notes to Editors

Swiss Re

The Swiss Re Group is a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer. Dealing direct and working through brokers, its global client base consists of insurance companies, mid-to-large-sized corporations and public sector clients. From standard products to tailor-made coverage across all lines of business, Swiss Re deploys its capital strength, expertise and innovation power to enable the risk-taking upon which enterprise and progress in society depend. Founded in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1863, Swiss Re serves clients through a network of over 60 offices globally and is rated "AA-" by Standard & Poor's, "Aa3" by Moody's and "A+" by A.M. Best. Registered shares in the Swiss Re Group holding company, Swiss Re Ltd, are listed in accordance with the Main Standard on the SIX Swiss Exchange and trade under the symbol SREN. For more information about Swiss Re Group, please visit: or follow us on Twitter @SwissRe.

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Dow Jones Sustainability Indices

The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices were launched in 1999 as the first global sustainability benchmarks. The indices are offered cooperatively by RobecoSAM and S&P Dow Jones Indices. The family tracks the stock performance of the world's leading companies in terms of economic, environmental and social criteria. The indices serve as benchmarks for investors who integrate sustainability considerations into their portfolios, and provide an effective engagement platform for companies who want to adopt sustainable best practices.

Cautionary note on forward-looking statements

Certain statements and illustrations contained herein are forward-looking. These statements (including as to plans, objectives, targets, and trends) 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”, “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 the Group’s actual results of operations, financial condition, solvency ratios, liquidity position or prospects to be materially different from any future results of operations, financial condition, solvency ratios, liquidity position or prospects expressed or implied by such statements. Such factors include, among others:

  • instability affecting the global financial system and developments related thereto;
  • deterioration in global economic conditions;
  • the Group’s ability to maintain sufficient liquidity and access to capital markets, including sufficient liquidity to cover potential recapture of reinsurance agreements, early calls of debt or debt-like arrangements and collateral calls due to actual or perceived deterioration of the Group’s financial strength or otherwise;
  • the effect of market conditions, including the global equity and credit markets, and the level and volatility of equity prices, interest rates, credit spreads, currency values and other market indices, on the Group’s investment assets;
  • changes in the Group’s investment result as a result of changes in its investment policy or the changed composition of its investment assets, and the impact of the timing of any such changes relative to changes in market conditions;
  • uncertainties in valuing credit default swaps and other credit-related instruments;
  • possible inability to realise amounts on sales of securities on the Group’s balance sheet equivalent to their mark-to-market values recorded for accounting purposes;
  • the outcome of tax audits, the ability to realise tax loss carryforwards and the ability to realise deferred tax assets (including by reason of the mix of earnings in a jurisdiction or deemed change of control), which could negatively impact future earnings;
  • the possibility that the Group’s hedging arrangements may not be effective;
  • the lowering or loss of one of the financial strength or other ratings of one or more Swiss Re companies, and developments adversely affecting the Group’s ability to achieve improved ratings;
  • the cyclicality of the reinsurance industry;
  • uncertainties in estimating reserves;
  • uncertainties in estimating future claims for purposes of financial reporting, particularly with respect to large natural catastrophes, as significant uncertainties may be involved in estimating losses from such events and preliminary estimates may be subject to change as new information becomes available;
  • the frequency, severity and development of insured claim events;
  • acts of terrorism and acts of war;
  • mortality, morbidity and longevity experience;
  • policy renewal and lapse rates;
  • extraordinary events affecting the Group’s clients and other counterparties, such as bankruptcies, liquidations and other credit-related events;
  • current, pending and future legislation and regulation affecting the Group or its ceding companies and the interpretation of legislation or regulations;
  • legal actions or regulatory investigations or actions, including those in respect of industry requirements or business conduct rules of general applicability;
  • changes in accounting standards;
  • significant investments, acquisitions or dispositions, and any delays, unexpected costs or other issues experienced in connection with any such transactions;
  • changing levels of competition; and
  • operational factors, including the efficacy of risk management and other internal procedures in managing the foregoing risks.

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

This communication is not intended to be a recommendation to buy, sell or hold securities and does not constitute an offer for the sale of, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, securities in any jurisdiction, including the United States. Any such offer will only be made by means of a prospectus or offering memorandum, and in compliance with applicable securities laws.