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2010 - 2019
Swiss Re was among the first five foreign reinsurance companies to obtain a license to sell reinsurance in India. The newly licensed entity, Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd, India Branch, began its operation effective from 1 February 2017.
In late March, the category 4 tropical Cyclone Debbie hit the northeastern coast of Australia. Wind gusts of up to 263 km/h and widespread flooding in central and southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales led to insured losses of USD 1.3 billion.
Swiss Re has announced plans to strengthen its commitment to Asia by establishing a dedicated regional legal entity in Singapore for its Reinsurance business unit in April. This legal entity is meant to be Swiss Re's regional headquarters for its network of reinsurance operations in Asia.
In June, the World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) launched bonds that support the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF), which channel first-response surge funding to developing countries facing the risk of a pandemic. This marked the first time that World Bank bonds are being used to combat infectious diseases. It was also the first time that pandemic risk was transferred to the market to cover low-income countries. Swiss Re Capital Markets was the joint structurer and sole book-runner for the cat bond transaction.
A new joint venture was established in Brazil in July: The commercial large-risk portfolio of Bradesco Seguros S.A. was integrated into Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Brasil Seguros S.A. (SRCSB).
In August and September, three category 4+ hurricanes – Harvey, Irma, and Maria (HIM) – made landfall in the US. Destruction from the three hurricanes stretched from the Texas coast (Harvey) through West Florida to the Caribbean (Irma and Maria), together causing insured losses estimated to be almost USD 93 billion.
In mid-September, two powerful earthquakes in Tehuantepec and Puebla, Mexico, led to numerous building collapses, claiming a large number of victims and resulting in insured losses of more than USD 2 billion.
Global insured losses from catastrophes in 2017 were estimated to be USD 136 billion, the third highest on sigma records.
In Zurich the first teams started on 25 September working in the new building Swiss Re Next. The offices set a milestone on the path towards Campus Mythenquai, where employees based in Switzerland are brought together.
ReAssure, a market-leading UK closed life book consolidator within the Swiss Re Life Capital Business Unit, reached agreement with Japanese insurance group MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc (MS&AD) for an investment into ReAssure of up to GBP 800 million in October.
The Rockefeller Foundation, Veolia and Swiss Re Corporate Solutions signed a partnership agreement in January to support cities worldwide in the field of climate change adaption and disaster risk reduction. The aim is to speed up recovery in wake of catastrophes and build cities' resilience to broader critical risks.
On 16 April a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Kyushu Island in southern Japan, the strongest quake in Japan since 2011. It was also the largest single insurance loss event globally in 2016, which triggered claims of USD 4.9 billion. On the same day, 16 April, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck offshore near the central coast of Ecuador. It was the deadliest earthquake of 2016 globally with 673 victims.
In April Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, through its partnership with Seguro Confianza, obtained Property licence in Colombia.
Along with the "Swiss Re Next" building, Swiss Re is planning to realise the vision of a "Campus Mythenquai". The planned new building at Mythenquai 20-28 will allow for all Swiss Re employees in Switzerland to be based at a single location.
The wildfire that spread through Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada from May to July was one of the costliest wildfire events in insurance industry history, and the biggest loss the Canadian insurance sector has ever experienced.
From 1 July on Christian Mumenthaler started as CEO succeeding Michel Liès who left Swiss Re after 35 years.
Bertrand Piccard, André Borschberg and Solar Impulse 2 completed the first Round-the-World solar flight on 26 July. Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has been part of the project as the official partner and sole insurance provider.
In July heavy floods hit the area of central China, the most devastating along Yangtze River basin. Economic losses were estimated at USD 22 billion, making it the costliest Yangtze River flood event since 1998.
Hurricane Matthew caused devastation across the east Caribbean and southern US in September/October. It was the second costliest insurance loss event in 2016 globally with insured losses of USD 4 billion.
The Group Executive Committee and Board of Directors have approved Mexico City as location for a third Business Solutions Centre (BSC) in October. At the end of 2016 the UK Admin Re business, including the acquired Guardian business, has rebranded to ReAssure.
In February Swiss Re Corporate Solutions obtained its South Africa license and set up a office in Johannesburg. In the course of the year office openings in Madrid, Osaka and a North America marine office based in New York followed.
The biggest disaster of the year was the earthquake on 25 April in Nepal. Up to 9 000 people were killed. Total losses are estimated at USD 6 billion, including damages in India, China and Bangladesh. The Swiss Re Foundation donated CHF 250,000 to support the instant relief efforts in Nepal.
In August an explosion destroyed part of the Chinese port city of Tianjin. With an estimated property loss of between USD 2.5 billion and USD 3.5 billion it is likely to be the biggest insured-loss event of the year and biggest man-made loss event ever in Asia.
Swiss Re's business unit Admin Re® has agreed to acquire Guardian Holdings Europe Limited, the holding company for operations trading under the name Guardian Financial Services from private equity company Cinven for GBP 1.6 billion. The acquisition extends Admin Re®'s position as a leading closed life book consolidator in the UK, with over four million policies in force.
During the COP21 climate negotiations in December in Paris world leaders and governments reached a landmark agreement, charting a new course to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius and prepare societies for the changes still to come. Swiss Re actively supported the negotiation process and assists countries, businesses and communities to realise this commitment.
Despite the harsh winter in the United States, 2015 overall was the hottest year on record. Heatwaves claimed a number of lives all over the world, while long stretches of high temperatures and lack of rainfall caused drought and wildfires in many regions. In contrast, regions such as India and the UK experienced extreme precipitation events. The Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank brought very heavy rainfall across central and northern UK in December. The insured losses from the floods were preliminarily estimated at around USD 2 billion.
Swiss Re's Group Strategic framework was updated in December 2015. It was also announced that, as of 1 January 2016, all areas of the Group that manage open and closed life insurance books would be combined under a new Business Unit called Life Capital.
Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and owners of Compañía Aseguradora de Fianzas S.A. Confianza ("Confianza") sign an agreement in February under which Corporate Solutions will acquire a 51% stake in Confianza. This arrangement will provide Colombian corporate clients local access to Swiss Re's commercial insurance products and services.
In March Swiss Re extends its longevity reinsurance expertise to Aviva as part of the largest such transactions completed to date. Since 2007, Swiss Re has established a strong track-record providing longevity protection for insurers and pension funds in both the public and private sectors.
After more than 6 years in his role as Group Chief Financial Officer and 14 successful years at Swiss Re overall, George Quinn leaves Swiss Re. David Cole, then Swiss Re Chief Risk Officer, takes over from George Quinn on 1 May 2014.
In July Swiss Re Corporate Solutions agrees to buy the Chinese subsidiary of RSA Insurance Group PLC, Sun Alliance Insurance (China) Ltd. The deal will allow Swiss Re to offer corporate insurance directly from the mainland China.
The foundation stone for Swiss Re Next was laid in a formal ceremony in September. With this symbolic act, representatives of the City of Zurich, the general contractor and the building owner set an important milestone in the realisation of the new office building. Swiss Re Next is scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2017.
Swiss Re Admin Re® announces the sale of its US subsidiary Aurora National Life Assurance Company to Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated (RGA) in October. According to John R. Dacey, Swiss Re's Group Chief Strategy Officer and Chairman of Admin Re® "This transaction is an important step in Swiss Re's strategy. Admin Re® will continue to focus on the UK, where we have signed a transaction with HSBC earlier this year."
Swiss Re is 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.
Early in the summer, massive flooding occurred in the upper Danube basin and along the Elbe. Damage was particularly severe in Germany. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland also suffered. The total economic loss was estimated to be USD 16 billion. The strengthening of flood protection measures in recent years helped contain the damage. But still, insured losses of USD 4 billion made this event the biggest flood loss in Europe ever.
Unusually strong hail storms throughout Germany in July caused significant losses in the country. Around 100 000 buildings and 50 000 vehicles were damaged. The same weather pattern also caused hail damage in France, resulting in overall insured losses of USD 3.8 billion combined.
Under the anniversary motto "Open minds – connecting generations", Swiss Re aimed to foster a dialogue about risks and how society and generations are to tackle them in the future. For this purpose – and to celebrate the anniversary – Swiss Re hosted a series of events in various cities around the globe, starting in Zurich on 30 August 2013.
On 24 September, during the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, President Bill Clinton announced a global Commitment to Action for the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge. The Commitment to Action, led by The Rockefeller Foundation and shared by Swiss Re and other organisations, will support at least 100 cities to hire a Chief Resilience Officer and create a resilience strategy.
Swiss Re Corporate Solutions' wholly-owned subsidiary Swiss Re International SE set up a branch office in Singapore in October.
In November, Swiss Re announced that it had agreed to acquire a 14.9% stake in Brazilian insurer SulAmérica: This move was in line with Swiss Re's strategy to invest in high growth markets. In the same month, Swiss Re invested USD 493 million for a 4.9% stake in New China Life.
On 19 December 2013, the day of its official 150 year anniversary, Swiss Re unveiled a new brand strategy and logo. Swiss Re also presented a book of its history and of the industry overall. Published in German and English, it traces the evolution of the company from a small start-up in a tiny office in Zurich's old city into an industry giant with more than 11,000 employees in over 60 locations.
Swiss Re's Board of Directors appointed Michel M. Liès as new Group Chief Executive Officer as of 1 February 2012.
Also that year, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions took some important steps in its expansion. The Marine insurance footprint in Continental Europe was strengthened through the formation of two dedicated underwriting teams in Zurich and Genoa. In addition, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions received an insurance licence to operate in the Dubai International Financial Centre and an office in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, was opened to reinforce the presence in the Benelux region.
Swiss Re Corporate Solutions also joined forces with Solar Impulse as its official insurance provider, thus supporting Swiss aviation pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg's ambition to fly around the world in an aircraft powered only by solar energy.
In March, Swiss Re Capital Markets announced the first catastrophe bond combining the risks of two reinsured parties into a single transaction. This marked an important innovation in better enabling insurers to access the catastrophe bond market.
On 18 June 2012, Swiss Re received final approval to register its local reinsurer Swiss Re Brasil Resseguros SA from the Brazilian regulator SUSEP.
In August, Microinsurance Catastrophe Risk Organisation (MiCRO) – a reinsurance company formed in March 2011 with the support of Swiss Re – announced a significant payout to Haiti's largest microfinance institution Fonkoze following Tropical Storm Isaac. These funds were transferred to hundreds of female microentrepreneurs who lost their homes or inventories due to the storm.
In September, Swiss Re completed the sale of its Admin Re® US business to Jackson National Life Insurance.
Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall in the US on 29 October 2012, caused high winds and storm surge, resulting in extensive flooding and loss of life and property. Before it hit the US, Hurricane Sandy struck the Caribbean and The Bahamas. Estimates for the total damage were about USD 70 billion, with USD 35 billion in insured claims, making it the second-most expensive storm after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
In November, Swiss Re obtained USD 200 million in coverage against North Atlantic hurricane and UK extreme mortality risk through its new Mythen Re programme. The bond issuance was the first time hurricane and mortality risks had been combined into a bond offering.
The devastating floods in Queensland state on 9 January that forced evacuation in Brisbane cause insured losses of USD 2.3 billion.
A new holding company, Swiss Re Ltd., is established in place of the current Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd. It compromises three legally separated Businesss Units: Reinsurance, Corporate Solutions and Admin Re®. Effective 20 May 2011, Swiss Re Ltd will be the holding company of Swiss Re group of companies.
The magnitude 6.3 earthquake which strikes Christchurch region of South Island of New Zealand on 22 February 2011 causes economic losses of USD 12 billion.
On 11 March 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake strikes off the coast of Honshu, Japan. It was the largest known - in terms of magnitude - to have ever hit the country, costing the insurance industry an estimated USD 35 billion. The event causes strong ground motions in the northeastern prefectures of Japan. The earthquake also triggered a tsunami which causes a substantial loss of life and extensive damage in coastal areas. Failures in cooling systems of the Fukushima nuclear power plant led to explosions, severe damage to nuclear reactors and the release of radioactivity into the environment.
In April and May two massive tornado events in the United States cause nearly USD 14 billion in claims and the losses of more than 400 lives. In August Hurricane Irene cost the Industry nearly USD 5 billion in property damage.
In the period from May to October 2011, Northern and Central Thailand are hit by heavy monsoon rainfalls which are intensified by the remnants of five typhoons in the second half of the period. Insured losses amount to USD 8 to 11 billion.
2010 saw some of the most devastating earthquakes in the last couple of years. The costliest event in 2010 is the earthquake in Chile (8.8 on Richter scale, 521 victims) on 25 February with insured losses in amount of USD 8 billion. The earthquake in New Zealand on 3 September measures 7.0 on Richter scale and cost insurers around USD 2.7 billion.
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico on 20 April is followed by an environmental catastrophe and cost insurers USD 1 billion.
Swiss Re establishes a new leadership structure to strengthen the company's core capabilities and market presence with focus on three key areas: Reinsurance, Corporate Solutions - the new name for all Swiss Re's insurance-related offerings - and AdminRe(R).
Swiss Re wins the "Asia Life Reinsurer of the year" for the third year in a row in October.
Standard & Poor's (S&P) upgrades Swiss Re's outlook from "stable" to "positive".
In December, Swiss Re participates for the second time in a row in the UN's annual Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico as an official member of Switzerland's country delegation.
2000 - 2009
Stefan Lippe, is appointed as CEO of Swiss Re.
In autumn, Diener&Diener Architekten win the commission to replace Swiss Re's "Neubau" site at its headquarter in Zurich.
Swiss Re acquires Retakaful licence in October, and sets up Retakaful operation in Kuala Lumpur.
After losses in the global finance crisis Swiss Re increases its focus on core reinsurance business.
In December, Swiss Re representatives are participating at the COP 15 negotiations in Copenhagen, representing the Swiss Insurance Association as part of the official Swiss delegation. Swiss Re advocates fast transition from Copenhagen discussions to immediate implementation of climate adaptation measures, in order to reduce losses caused by climate risks.
In February, Swiss Re registers as admitted reinsurer under new regulatory environment in Brazil. Existing operations in Sao Paulo become representative office.
Swiss Re completes the acquisition of Barclays Life Assurance Company Ltd (Barclays Life).
The Atlantic hurricane 'Ike' was the third costliest of all time, behind Hurricane Andrew of 1992 and Hurricane Katrina of 2005.
In June, Swiss Re sponsors the first Mediterranean earthquake risk bond worth USD 100 million, for the protection against earthquake risk in Turkey, Greece, Israel, Portugal and Cyprus. This is the first time that earthquake risk in these countries has been securitized in the capital markets.
By signing the United Nations' Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) on 4 July 2007, Swiss Re expands its commitment to sustainability considerations in investment decision making, as already stated in its Group Code of Conduct.
In September 2006, Swiss Re announces it will be offering reinsurance cover for private health insurance companies, starting in China and India.
In October, Swiss Re announces its intention to acquire UK GE's Life business.
Jacques Aigrain, CEO of Swiss Re from 2006-2009.
In June 2005, Swiss Re aligns its management structure to its strategic objectives, replacing its business group organisational structure with three business functions: Products, Client Markets and Financial Services. Central resources are managed by Corporate Functions.
In November, Swiss Re announces it has agreed to acquire GE Insurance Solutions, the fifth largest reinsurer worldwide, from General Electric Company (GE).
From 28 to 30 August, Hurricane Katrina destroys large sections of the coastline in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. New Orleans is hard hit as dams burst and 80% of the city is flooded.
Hurricane 'Wilma' with it's the most destructive effects in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, Cuba, and the U.S. state of Florida, is ranking among the top 5 costliest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic and the fourth costliest storm in U.S. history.
In April, 'The Great Warming', a global TV project, is first broadcasted in Canada. The climate change documentary sponsored by Swiss Re, will later be aired in other countries to raise awareness on sustainability, especially in America and Asia.
Swiss Re's Admin Re completes the acquisition of CNA's life insurance business.
On 19 May, Swiss Re celebrates the official opening of Japan Branch in Tokyo.
For its EUR 672 million Mandatory Convertible Security issued in July 2004, Swiss Re receives the 'ifr Structured Equity award' (Donator: International Financing Review). This award, in the category 'European Structured Equity Issue', is the most prestigious of its kind and is said to be the European financial services industry's oscar. Additionally, this deal is awarded as 'equity-linked deal of the year' by both 'The Treasurer magazine' and 'Financial News'.
The 2004 hurricane season (Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne) caused greater losses in the United States and the Caribbean than any other storm season in history. For the first time since 1886, four hurricanes made landfall in a single US state (Florida). Also Japan was hit by an unequalled number of 10 typhoons (e.g. Songda). The hurricanes led to insured losses totalling USD 20 - 25 billion, while the insured typhoon losses are estimated at USD 6 billion.
The Swiss Re Taiwan Branch is officially opened in Taipei on 29 September 2004, by CEO John R. Coomber and Ms Susan Chang, Vice Chairperson of Financial Supervisory Commission.
After an Earthquake in the Indian Ocean (near Sumatra), Tsunamis up to 10 metres high cause widespread flooding and devastation at the coast line of Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Maldive Islands, Mauritius, Myanmar (Burma), Tanzania, Thailand, Reunion, Seychelles, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sumatra. More than 200'000 people lose their lives in this natural catastrophe.
Opening of Swiss Re London's headquarters 30 St Mary Axe on 25 May constructed by the architects Ken Shuttleworth und Sir Norman Foster.
John R. Coomber, CEO of Swiss Re from 2003-2005.
Swiss Re sells its remaining shareholding in PartnerRe (about 16% of PartnerRe's shares).
The British Columbia fires on 2 August 2003 represent the largest fire loss in Canadian insurance history; the fires can not be kept under control until 14 September 2003.
In August, Swiss Re completes Gerling NCM transaction. Gerling NCM is established as an independent company, and the new shareholders agree on Atradius as Gerling NCM's new name.
On 18 September 2003, a full national reinsurance branch licence for China is granted to Swiss Re by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission. CEO John R. Coomber officially opened the company's China branch on 19 December.
For the third time in the seven years since the ceremony was launched, Swiss Re wins the Asian 'Reinsurance Company of the Year' award.
Swiss Re initiates a ten-year program combining internal emissions reduction measures with an investment in the World Bank Community Development Carbon Fund. With this initiative, Swiss Re will be the largest global financial services company to set itself the goal to become greenhouse neutral.
Swiss Re successfully sponsors its first ever insurance-linked security relating to Life insurance risk and obtains USD 400 million of coverage from institutional investors.
On 19 December 2003, Swiss Re celebrates its 140th anniversary.
Swiss Re's interactive information service CatNet is presented with the 'Special Achievement in GIS' award. The award particularly recognizes the innovative structure of the Hazard Atlas.
At the beginning of 2001, Swiss Re establishes three business groups: Life&Health, Property&Casualty, Financial Services. Central resources are managed by the Corporate Centre.
The Munich subsidiary, Bayerische Rueckversicherung AG, is integrated into its parent company, Swiss Re, following the restructuring. The company becomes Swiss Re Germany.
Management of Europe Division is transferred to Munich; the German, Austrian, Scandinavian and East European markets will be managed from there in the future. Likewise, the company's strategic regional market focus leads to the Latin American and Asian markets being managed from Armonk, Mexico City and Hong Kong respectively.
The terrorist attack on 11 September, causes the biggest economic loss in 2001. The insured property and business interruption losses alone caused by the terrorist attack of 11 September are put at USD 19 billion.
Swiss Re completes the acquisition of the reinsurer Lincoln Re, headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana, US, for USD 2 billion.
Rueschlikon, Swiss Re's Centre for Global Dialogue, opens in November 2000. It serves as a centre for discussing research and risk strategies with partners from the fields of science and research. The building is situated on the site of the former Villa Bodmer, which was acquired by Swiss Re in 1994 and carefully integrated into the new building.
The acquisition of Unterwriters Re Group in Calabasas, California, in the second quarter of 2000 secures Swiss Re's leading position in the US Non-Life sector. The broker has continued to operate under the name Swiss Re Underwriters Agency Inc. since the beginning of 2001.
1990 - 1999
From the beginning of 1999 'Schweizer Rueck' is marketed under the new global name, 'Swiss Re'.
Inauguration of the new North America Division headquarters in Armonk in June 1999. The spacious premises designed by Swiss architect Doelf Schneebeli are located approximately 50 kilometres outside New York and provide space for Life, Non-Life and holding companies.
Swiss Re launches an e-business platform for clients wishing to gain direct access to company know-how.
The end of December 1999 sees the most severe storms in Europe since 1990. On 26 December 1999 Lothar reaches northern France, southern Germany and Switzerland. The next day Martin also tramples through, this time further south, across central and southern France, northern Spain, Corsica and northern Italy. The winterstorms Lothar and Martin are going to be the costliest in France's history.
In mid 1998 Swiss Re shifts to a divisional organisational structure. Structuring the company according to regional markets leads to the creation of the following new divisions: Latin America, Asia, Europe and Reinsurance & Risk.
In an attempt to continue its policy of focussing on reinsurance and the management of capital and risk, Swiss Re negotiates several large acquisitions in 1998: market expansion in the Credit insurance sector allows Swiss Re to acquire a majority stake (90%) in the Dutch company NCM Holding. With the takeover of the Mexican reinsurer Reaseguros Alianza S.A. and the American Life Re Corporation Swiss Re reinforces its market position both in Latin America and in the North American Life sector. It also opens a new line of business known as Admin Re (R). The Group Company Audatex Holding AG is sold.
In 1998 Union Re Zurich, and Swiss Re merge. Swiss Re had already acquired a majority holding in this company from Union Bank of Switzerland, Swiss National Insurance Company and Zurich Insurance Company in 1988. Union Re's Europe and Asia-Pacific non-life business units are integrated into Swiss Re's newly established Europe and Asia Divisions.
The Capital Partners Division is founded in 1998. The founding of this new division signals Swiss Re's increasing involvement in company holdings. In assuming responsibility for the holdings of investment company Securitas Capital and Fox-Pitt, Kelton investment bank, Swiss Re Capital Partners reinforces its core reinsurance business by expanding its investment know-how. This is indicative of a general trend towards increased focus on banking activities and asset management. Swiss Re takes over London-based Fox-Pitt, Kelton Group in spring of 1999.
'Tuefihaus' in Sood-Quartier, Adliswil (Zurich) is opened in March 1998. This administration building houses 350 employees and represents the growing importance of Adliswil in the service sector. Construction is severely delayed due to protracted efforts to clean up residual pollution from the site of the 19th century spinning mill.
The increasingly international, global nature of the company's business creates the need for comprehensive risk financing solutions for large losses and catastrophes, also covering the new area of financial risks. The ART (Alternative Risk Transfer Markets) Division established in 1995, offering financial services and risk counselling to insurance companies, appears under the new name of Swiss Re New Markets from mid 1997. Services are also extended to include comprehensive balance sheet management, inter alia. The Division moves into premises in Gotthardstrasse 43.
After becoming heavily involved with Unione Italiana di Riassicurazione in 1996, Swiss Re Group concludes a 100% takeover of the company by the end of 1997. The company is christened Swiss Re Italia following its integration the Group.
Walter B. Kielholz, CEO of Swiss Re from 1997-2002.
In December 1996 Swiss Re again acquires Mercantile & General Re Group with head office in London (1300 employees, 27 branches world-wide), thereby continuing to implement its strategic objectives of expansion in the Life and Health sector. M & G was part of Swiss Re from 1916 to 1968. This new move makes Swiss Re world leader in this attractive market and reinforces the company's presence in North America. The Life sectors are combined to form Swiss Re Life & Health with head office in London.
On 1 January 1996 the American, Heidi Hutter, becomes the first female member of the Swiss Re Executive Board.
New Swiss Re's Office in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) opens.
Swiss Re signs the 'Statement of Environmental Commitment by the Insurance Industry' in 1995 in the context of the UN's Environmental Programme (UNEP). Swiss Re's seminars and conferences, publications, its establishment of a Climate and Environment Steering Committee and its energy and environment mission statement combine to make it a leader in the field of sustainability.
The Great Hanshin earthquake in Kobe on 17 January 1995 measures 7.2 on the Richter scale. It devastated whole neighbourhoods and caused major damage to infrastructure, particularly harbour facilities. Six thousand people were killed, 30,000 injured and 300,000 rendered homeless. Total damage was estimated at USD 147 billion, of which only USD 4.1 billion was insured.
Swiss Re acquires the Alhermij Group, Amstelveen. Swiss Re pursues a strategy in which Life and Health insurance are to be developed as key pillars.
From 1 April 1995 Swiss Re embarks on a process to reinforce the integration of its group companies. Foreign nationals are admitted to the Swiss Re Executive Board as part of this process. At the same time the company's various areas of responsibility are reorganised in line with client and market requirements.
In 1995 Swiss Re launches its new corporate design (Corporate Identity) world-wide. All Group Companies, with the exception of Union Re and Bayerische Rueck, now carry the new logo.
Swiss Re Group launches itself on the World Wide Web in 1995 by installing its own Internet server.
The economic and technical analyses of insurance data published under the name 'sigma' since 1968, enjoy an exceptional reputation in the insurance world and amongst specialists in the industry. In 1995 and 1997 the renowned professional journal 'The Review' awards this economic research series the title of 'Analyst/Researcher of the Year'.
As part of a strategic reorganisation Swiss Re decides to concentrate more exclusively on reinsurance, the prospects of which are judged to be more favourable than direct insurance business.
From 1994 onwards, Swiss Re goes ahead with selling its majority holdings in direct insurance companies. The Holdings Vereinte and Magdeburger, in Lloyd Adriatico, Triest and the ELVIA Group are transferred to the Allianz Group on 1 January 1995.
The Winterthur Group takes over SCHWEIZ Seguros, Barcelona and SCHWEIZ Italia as well as ELVIA's majority stake in the LA EQUITATIVA Group.
The Northridge earthquake, occured on January 17, 1994, close to Los Angeles, California, caused an estimated $20 billion in damage, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.
Lukas Muehlemann, CEO of Swiss Re from 1994-1996.
Swiss Re moves into new office premises in Sood-Quartier in Adliswil due to lack of building space in Zurich.
The '1992 strategic orientation' statement declares Swiss Re to be a comprehensive global insurance corporation operating mainly in the reinsurance and direct insurance sectors, complemented by activities in the related areas of risk management and claims handling.
Swiss Re's strategic management organisation and personnel are separated from headquarters in Zurich from 1 January 1993.
In 1992 Swiss-Baltic Reinsurance Advisers, a Swiss Re outpost in Tallinn, Estonia, starts business. This is Swiss Re's first move into the Baltic States after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
In August 1992 hurricane 'Andrew' struck the northwestern Bahamas, southern Florida at Homestead (south of Miami), and southwest Louisiana around Morgan City and caused tremendous damages.
Swiss Re acquires a majority stake in the ELVIA Swiss Insurance Company, Zurich. Following a restructuring of domestic insurance the Swiss insurance business of SCHWEIZ Allgemeine Versicherungs AG in Adliswil is transferred to ELVIA.
Arnold W. Saxer, managing-director of Swiss Re from 1990-1994.
1980 - 1989
In 1989, Swiss Re celebrates its 125th anniversary with various cultural events. An exhibition on the history of the company is set up in the 'Altbau' for visitors and employees.
Swiss Re acquires the Lloyd Adriatico, Trieste, one of Italy's leading insurance companies. Lloyd Adriatico employs 1400 people and is active in all branches.
The Thomas Howell, Selfe Group, with head office in Birmingham, one of the leading companies in the field of claims handling and risk inspection with around 1000 employees, is acquired by Swiss Re. Swiss Re also takes over the Union Re, Zurich, Switzerland's third largest reinsurer. The Union Re employs around 150 people and has subsidiaries in the Netherlands, France and Spain.
On taking over the Reiss Organisation, with 500 employees specialising in the management of captive insurance companies, Swiss Re establishes the International Risk Management Group Ltd. (IRM Group) as a new service company in Bermuda.
The concept by which contemporary Swiss art is displayed in the Swiss Re buildings, with works by Martin Disler, Barbara Hée, Hans Josephson, Oliver Mosset, Meret Oppenheim, Hugo Suter, André Thomkins and Richard Paul Lohse, is extended at the end of the year with works by Balthasar Burkhard, Max Bill, Dieter Roth and Jean Tinguely.
On 1 December 1986, a new office building, the 'Mythenschloss', is inaugurated at the head office. The original building from the 1920s, which had been used as residential property and was partly under preservation order, had been demolished. The new building with the restored facade provides working space for 500 employees.
Swiss Re develops a future-oriented corporate strategy which takes into account altered market structures, new market participants and products and changes on the demand side in the area of risk management. The designing of progressive methods of risk management transforms the reinsurance product into a differentiated range of reinsurance cover and complementary services.
Over the years, Swiss Re has developed a whole range of services which go beyond the scope of reinsurance in the narrow sense, but which play a vital role in maintaining customer relations. In view of the growing importance of such services, Swiss Re decides to expand its capacity in this sector even further, the main emphasis being on risk assessment and handling, claims handling and insurance and reinsurance information services.
In 1984, the American insurance industry experiences its worst result in the Non-Life branches since 1906, the year of the San Francisco earthquake.
In summer a devastating hailstorm in Munich becomes one of the largest insured losses of all times. Insured damage totals around 1.5 billion Deutsche Mark.
On 2 May 1983 the number of staff at the head office in Zurich passes the 1000 mark for the first time. Many of these employees perform highly specialised activities. Swiss Re is referred to as the 'House of a hundred specialists'.
75th anniversary of Employees Association.
After the take-over of the 'mh Bausparkasse AG', a Munich-based building society, Swiss Re and the Zurich Insurance Company each take a 50% share of the Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland, Baltimore, USA, one of America's leading Fidelity insurance companies. In addition, 100% of the share capital of the 'Isar Lebensversicherung AG', Munich, is acquired. This company is merged with the 'EOS Lebensversicherung AG', Dusseldorf, to become the 'Vereinte Lebensversicherung AG', Munich.
For the first time Swiss Re creates a non-voting share capital (240,000 non-voting shares at a nominal value of 50 Swiss francs each).
1970 - 1979
In the last 20 years the number of staff at head office has doubled to around 900; the number of guests to be catered for has risen to over 5000 per year. For this reason, the 'Clubhouse' was enlarged in a two-year rebuilding programme taking into account aspects of urban architecture and the building's representative function.
In its series of publications Swiss Re contributes to the discussion of ecology and environment with a highly esteemed publication entitled 'Ecology and Environmental Protection'.
The service company SOCARI is founded in Buenos Aires.
In autumn 1976, the SWITZERLAND General Insurance Company Ltd., Zurich, is looking for a strong partner and approaches Swiss Re.
A take-over bid is made and Swiss Re acquires 94% of the company's shares by expiry of the deadline on 22 January 1977. The new subsidiary is one of the leading international Marine insurers in Switzerland and has subsidiary companies in Australia, Spain and England; it is likewise active in reinsurance.
Walter Diehl, managing-director of Swiss Re from 1977-1991.
Swiss Re founds Swiss Re Advisers Ltd., Manila, in the Philippines.
Swiss Re Holding Ltd. sets up a German holding company, 'SR Beteiligungen AG', in Munich, which takes over the majority shares of the two all-branch insurance groups, the 'Vereinigte' and the 'Magdeburger' groups. The 'Vereinigte Versicherungsgruppe', which changes its name in 1988 to 'Vereinte Versicherung', is one of Germany's leading insurance groups.
The international presence is strengthened further by the foundation of two service companies, OFATEC Venezuela in Caracas and OFATEC Mexico in Mexico City. In addition, Swiss Re Holding (North America) Inc. is set up in August 1973 as a holding company for the North American Reinsurance Corporation and North American Reassurance Company.
To secure enough reserve office space at its headquarters, Swiss Re buys two additional office buildings on the Alfred Escher-Strasse opposite the main building. Bernhard Luginbuehl is commissioned to execute a sculpture to stand in front of the main entrance of the 'Neubau'.
At Swiss Re a new management concept based on a participative style of management is developed. The company's top management approves the new management principles on this basis.
On 17 July 1972, a contact office is opened in the Dowa Building in Tokyo to perform service and information functions. In 1981, the office is renamed Swiss Reinsurance Company Representative Office Tokyo.
From 1 July 1970, employees benefits from so-called 'flexible' working hours.
The foundation of an advisory company, Swiss Re Advisers, Inc. in New York extends further the advisory and service companies in the reinsurance sector.
1960 - 1969
Swiss Re sets up the Swiss Reinsurance Company (UK) Ltd. in May 1969; the London contact office is disbanded. In August 1969, Swiss Re (UK) starts transacting reinsurance business in Property, Engineering and Accident. Life business is written from 1970, Marine from 1971 and Aviation from 1975, the latter being two major lines of business in which the London market is leader.
A new office building, the 'Neubau', on the site of the former tennis courts on the Mythenquai is completed and opened on 6 June 1969. On the same day, the new sports ground in Adliswil is opened. In 1971, Swiss Re receives an award from Zurich City Council for the new extension.
Representatives from the Swiss Re Advisers Bureau, founded in Hong Kong in 1956, travelled to Singapore on a regular basis, using the country as a base from which to manage their clients. Swiss Re applied for a licence to operate in Singapore in 1967, and in November 1968, Swiss Re Advisers (Singapore) Private Limited was officially founded.
Separation from Mercantile & General Reinsurance Company.
Swiss Re professionalises their advisory role as a reinsurer. Services companies like Audatex in 1966 are set up. Operating mainly in highly motorised countries, Audatex is used to calculate the current value of motor cars and motor bicycles and the cost of accident and glass damage.
In the autumn of 1965, hurricane 'Betsy' causes widespread devastation in the south of the United States. 'Betsy' kills 70 people and causes damage in the states of Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana costing the insurance industry over 700 million dollars.
Swiss Re is reorganized with the creation of market-oriented departments. Swiss Re's traditional 'branch' structure is discarded and replaced by geographically based market departments with specialised insurance sectors in light of the company's increasing. The traditional 'technical accounting areas' of Fire, Accident and Marine are merged.
In Swiss Re's 100th business year the gross premium income is just under 1.4 billion Swiss francs. The company has concluded reinsurance treaties with around 1000 companies in 75 countries and there are almost 500 people on the staff.
On the occasion of the centenary the company introduces a new logo. The company publishes an overview of the insurance markets of the world. Also, Swiss Re donates a Gottfried Keller memorial to the city of Zurich. A hall of residence is built for the students of the two higher education establishments in Zurich.
A contact office is opened in London to make Swiss Re's services available to the U.K. market and to permit new business.
In Melbourne, the Australian Reinsurance Company Ltd. is founded.
The company founds the Canadian Reassurance Company for Life business.
Swiss Re installs an IBM 650 data processing unit.
In the 1960s and 1970s, utmost attention is paid to the further training of employees, especially at all management levels, with the introduction of new training concepts.
On 15 December 1960, the Swiss Insurance Training Centre (SITC) is established in the form of a foundation. It is set up to promote the training of insurance experts from throughout the world, in particular from developing countries. The courses give a thorough introduction to the various classes of business, the organisation of insurance and management.
1950 - 1959
Swiss Re's Canadian Branch is opened in Toronto.
For the first time Swiss Re's gross premium income exceeds the billion mark with 1043 million Swiss francs.
Swiss Re introduces the five-day week. The Employees' Association celebrates 50 years of existence and issues a commemorative publication to mark the occasion.
Max E. Eisenring, managing-director of Swiss Re from 1958-1964.
Swiss Re's new restaurant for staff and guests, the 'Clubhouse', is completed after four years of construction according to plans drawn up Hans Hofmann, the chief architect of the 1939 Swiss National Exhibition. The building is inaugurated by the now 450 members of staff on 20 December 1957.
In the Far East, the advisory company, Swiss Re Advisers Limited, is founded in Hong Kong.
Swiss Re founds the Australian Branch in Melbourne.
At Swiss Re the mechanical computer is replaced by a programmable one.
On 10 November 1950, the Swiss-South African Reinsurance Company in Johannesburg is founded. The new company operates in both Life and Non-Life reinsurance.
1940 - 1949
Swiss Re Corporation, an advisory company, is established in New York.
In West Germany the Swiss Re Group gains markets shares in insurance in addition to those in reinsurance.
Despite the war, the company's world-wide connections are maintained almost without exception thanks to Switzerland's political neutrality and good relations. Hardly a treaty is lost, apart from in Eastern Europe. Although there are losses in these markets, Swiss Re gains new markets in Asia and Australia. Business expands from year to year. This can be taken as ready proof of the immense international confidence placed in Switzerland in general and Swiss Re in particular. Economic relations with the countries of Eastern Europe played a major role before the war. They now prove to be increasingly difficult. In Asia and Africa almost 100 independent nations are set up. Many countries come under the effect of new social systems, which calls for a reorientation of business relations.
In conjunction with a foundation set up to effect transport assignments, the Marine department of Swiss Re organises sea voyages on behalf of the Red Cross during the Second World War. In this way the company enables prisoners of war camps throughout the world to receive Red Cross supplies
The Swiss Federal Council assigns Swiss Re the task of handling the technical administration of the 'Federal War Insurance' which covers imported and exported goods against war risks. The principal is the Confederation. The policies are written by over a hundred agencies of Swiss Marine insurers. The liabilities incurred during the war total over 21 billion Swiss francs and more than 10,000 claims are paid.
The restrictions imposed on foreign reinsurers and their branches in the United States compel Swiss Re to set up two further subsidiary companies which, as American companies, receive the same treatment as other US reinsurers. In 1940 the North American Casualty and Surety Reinsurance Corporation and the North American Fire and Marine Reinsurance Corporation are established. In 1956, the two Non-Life subsidiary companies are merged into the North American Reinsurance Corporation. The major part of the business of the US branch is transferred to this new company.
1930 - 1939
On 10 June 1939, celebrations are held to mark the company's 75th anniversary. Only one year before Swiss Re has become the leading reinsurer. Premium income in 1938 is 297 million Swiss francs. Treaties are in force with 546 companies; the company employs 426 people.
In accounting, a change is made from the Powers system to the 'Hollorith' (IBM) system. The first keyboards for alphanumeric data and a mechanical card puncher are installed.
The company founds the Neue Holding AG; in 1970, it changes its name to Swiss Re Holding Ltd. and is responsible for subsidiary companies and company holdings. The exclusive purpose of the company, according to its articles of association, is the "continual holding of domestic and foreign insurance companies".
The devaluation of the Swiss franc also favours the foreign activity of Swiss Re, which is reflected in a rise in premium income.
1920 - 1929
Swiss Re suffers large losses from the stock market crash.
The 'automated office' arrives at the Mythenquai. Swiss Re acquires Powers punched card machines which remain in use until 1939.
Swiss Re acquires the majority shareholding of the Bavarian Reinsurance Company in Munich, founded in 1911. The company plays a valuable role, especially in the years after the Second World War, when it is no longer possible to maintain direct relations with German treaty partners during the allied occupation of Germany.
In Zurich-Enge the track of the Gotthard railway is transferred into a tunnel, leaving room to extend the Mythenquai office building on the side away from the lake.
Swiss Re decides to write Aviation Hull reinsurance business.
The Group's subsequent expansion is concentrated on Europe, where Swiss Re has shares in a total of 31 insurance companies, mostly direct insurers, in 11 countries, with the main emphasis on Germany. These post-war years also form the basis for the current close relationship with the 'German Group'.
In New York, Swiss Re founds the North American Reassurance Company, the first professional reinsurance company to write exclusively Life business on the American market. After a few dramatic years, the new company assumes a leading position.
Erwin J. Huerlimann, managing-director of Swiss Re from 1921-1930.
1910 - 1919
The General Meeting resolves to establish a separate foundation for the welfare of employees of Swiss Re and its subsidiary companies. The new institution assumes the task of caring for active and retired members of staff as well as for the widows and orphans of deceased employees.
Charles Simon, an employee of Swiss Re since 1895, is appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors, a position he occupies for 23 years until 22 June 1942, eleven days before his death.
Expansion of the company's organisation continues. Legal provisions in the United States compel Swiss Re to establish, in addition to the Prudentia, a second company, the Reinsurance Company Zurich; this is renamed General Re in 1924 and European General in 1929.
On an autumn morning in 1918, Swiss Re entrances are blocked as a result of the general strike. Although the disturbers of the peace disperse without resistance when the infantry move in, the management orders the creation of a voluntary guard made up of employees to protect the buildings for the next three days.
In the autumn of this year major companies in Zurich are compelled, in view of the shortage of coal, to curtail the midday break. From 25 October 1917 continuous working hours are also introduced at Swiss Re. A kitchen is installed on the top floor of the office building to provide catering facilities. At first, lunch is served by the female office employees.
From the point of view of Group policy, the acquisition of a majority shareholding in the Mercantile & General Insurance Company, London, founded in 1907, is just as important as the opening of the United States Branch in 1910. Partnership with this leading English reinsurance company, which later also operates on an international scale, proves to be extremely valuable.
From 1914-1919 Swiss Re, in conjunction with the Red Cross, is instrumental in providing valuable aid in the exchange of prisoners of war.
Swiss Re celebrates its 50th anniversary. The official festivities are held on 15 May 1914. Since its foundation, it has managed to earn a reputable position among the world's leading reinsurers and has developed into an internationally active group owning subsidiary companies, holdings and a branch. The company's investment-related foreign presence is restricted to England and the United States. Two years earlier, Swiss Re for the first time employed more than 200 people.
Swiss Re's international relations pose new difficulties. These are not so much pure insurance problems but rather related to investment policy, exchange and currency stability, foreign exchange transfers and Group organisation. Thanks to a cautious reserve policy, the company manages to emerge from the First World War without having suffered major set-backs.
Building work is completed on a spaciously designed new office building on Zurich's Mythenquai. The move to the outskirts of the town takes place on 20 October 1913.
Just before midnight on the night of 14/15 April 1912, the 'Titanic', believed to be unsinkable, collides with an iceberg south-east of Newfoundland and sinks with the loss of 1517 lives. As the map of loss events shows, Swiss Re is also affected by this accident but is able to withstand the burden.
Swiss Re enters the Latin America market and signs the first contract with a company in Argentina.
Swiss Re's United States Branch is set up in 1910.
1900 - 1909
The company's employees feel the need to protect common interests and to foster activities on a professional, cultural, social, and sporting level. An employees' association is set up.
From 18 to 21 April 1906, the city of San Francisco is devastated by earthquake and fire. 25 000 houses are destroyed within an area of 7 square kilometres; some 500 lives are lost and about a quarter of a million people are rendered homeless.
The rebuilding of the city gets under way without delay but the claims settlement proves to be tedious. Insufficiently specified clauses in fire insurance policies trigger an international debate within the insurance industry as to whether fire losses caused by an earthquake are covered or not. As a result, Swiss Re teams up with other reinsurers to initiate the development of uniform and clear treaty wordings in order to avoid lengthy court cases in future.
Swiss Re incurs a net loss of CHF 4.3 million, which is considerable compared to the company's equity of CHF 9.9 million in 1906. However, exellent business results during the previous and subsequent years enable Swiss Re to cope with this loss.
The company extends its activities to embrace Engineering reinsurance.
Swiss Re also takes up Motor Third Party Liability reinsurance business.
The number of Swiss Re staff passes the hundred mark.
Charles Simon, Manager of Swiss Re from 1900-1919.
1890 - 1899
Operating railways bring new hazards. In the wake of increasing travelling, Swiss insurers also grant cover against travelling risks towards the end of the century.
On 1 July 1897, a group Life insurance policy is concluded with the Swiss Life and Pensions Company. This provides insurance coverage for employees of Swiss Re after three years of service up to the age of 60.
Charles Simon's (later Manager of Swiss Re) first travel to the USA.
The Chicago World's Fair opens on a 278 hectare site. As members of the Association of European Insurance Companies, Swiss Re and 'Prudentia' insure the visitors to the fair on their journey to and their stay in the United States.
1880 - 1889
A welfare fund is set up for the employees of Swiss Re. The corresponding resolution is passed by the General Meeting of 29 May 1885.
The company moves yet again, this time to Bahnhofstrasse 44. In the first 50 years of its existence, the company changes its domicile no less than seven times before settling at Mythenquai 60 in 1913.
The first Accident reinsurance treaty is signed with the Cologne Accident, Cologne.
1870 - 1879
Wilhelm Wasels, Manager of Swiss Re from 1879-1900.
Swiss Re purchases its first own office building, the 'Felsenburg' at Brandschenkestrasse 32 in the suburb of Zurich-Enge. Twenty employees move into the new premises.
The same year also sees the foundation of the first subsidiary company: the Prudentia, a limited company for reinsurance and coinsurance. This is an in-house retrocession company which was merged with the Swiss Re in 1934.
1860 - 1869
Extensive fire damage has been hard on the company in its first few years of business. To cover the losses, the General Meeting of 14 May 1869 resolves to reduce the share capital from 6 to 4.5 million Swiss francs. Thanks to gratifying business results, Swiss Re is able to consolidate its position in the years that follow.
The hiring of the ninth member of staff prompts the decision to move to larger premises. Swiss Re finds new office accommodation in the house named 'Zum Engelhof' at Stadelhoferplatz 12 in Zurich. Employees' salaries of 60 to 100 Swiss francs per month are no rarity. There are not yet any Swiss banknotes or gold coins in circulation; salaries are paid in silver, nickel and copper.
Life reinsurance business is taken up when the first treaty is signed with the Basle Life on 1 June 1865.
The company's first domicile is a two-room apartment on the first floor of Schoffelgasse 1 in Zurich.
Business relations with insurance companies in Germany, Italy, France, Austria, England, Belgium and Russia are developed.
Treaty business is not long in arriving. The first Marine reinsurance treaty is concluded with the Helvetia General in St. Gall on 1 January 1864. The first Fire reinsurance treaty is dated 1 May 1864; the treaty partner is the Helvetia Fire, St. Gall.
Georg Schmidt is appointed as first Manager of Swiss Re, followed by Josef Besso, Manager of Swiss Re from 1864 - 1879.
Like the fire of Hamburg in 1842, which had led to the foundation of the first professional reinsurers in Germany, the great fire of Glarus in 1861 also showed that insurance coverage was inadequate in Switzerland in the event of such unusually large catastrophe. To provide more effective means of coping with the risks posed by such devastation, the Helvetia General Insurance Company in St. Gall, the Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (Credit Suisse) in Zurich and the Basler Handelsbank in Basle founded the Swiss Reinsurance Company in Zurich.
The company`s articles of association are approved by the government of the Canton of Zurich on 19 December 1863. The foundation capital, which is 15% paid up, amounts to 6 million Swiss francs. The official foundation document bears the signature of the poet Gottfried Keller, who at the time was first secretary of the Canton of Zurich.