Swiss Re remains insurance industry leader in sustainability, according to 2016 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices
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- Swiss Re named sector leader for the tenth time; improving on its 2015 scores across all three sustainability dimensions
- Announcement underlines Swiss Re's ability to integrate sustainability considerations into its core business decisions
- Sustainability Risk Framework allows Swiss Re to effectively identify and address sustainability risks in underwriting and investments
- 2015 Corporate Responsibility Report provides detailed update of Swiss Re's commitment and activities
Swiss Re remains the insurance industry sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for the third consecutive year and the tenth time since 2004. The company was particularly recognised for understanding the sustainability issues that create risks and opportunities for the reinsurance business, and for closely cooperating with clients and public and private partners to create innovative solutions in the areas of climate and natural disaster risks, agricultural risks, sustainable energy and funding longer lives.
Christian Mumenthaler, Swiss Re's Group Chief Executive Officer says: "Playing our part in enabling sustainable progress is one of our key objectives as a company, and crucial to our vision of making the world more resilient. It's a great pleasure to see our progress reflected in the DJSI rankings."
Close link between sustainability and the core business
Swiss Re's commitment to sustainability is woven into its core business. The company works closely with its clients and partners from the private and the public sector to develop innovative solutions that help to tackle key environmental and social challenges. Highlights in this regard in 2015 include the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and insuring the first-ever offshore wind farm project in the US. In 2016, Swiss Re pioneered the first parametric insurance programme against risks of natural disaster for farmers in China.
Through its innovative transactions, the company continues to follow through on a commitment made to the United Nations at its Climate Summit in September 2014, when it pledged to offer USD 10 billion of climate risk protection to sovereigns and sub-sovereigns by 2020. By the end of 2015, Swiss Re had offered such clients a total of USD 2.1 billion in re/insurance protection.
The company also stays committed to the RE100 initiative, a joint effort of some of the world's largest companies to obtain 100% of their power from renewable sources by 2020. At the end of 2015, approximately 87% of the power it purchased across the Group came from renewable energy sources.
Identifying and addressing risks through the Sustainability Risk Framework
The DJSI announcement again highlighted Swiss Re's Sustainability Risk Framework, through which the company identifies and addresses sustainability risks in its re/insurance underwriting as well as its investment activities. The Framework also helps to trigger a dialogue with clients on significant environmental and social concerns. In such cases, the company works with clients to address these issues – or abstain from the business.
In 2015 Swiss Re introduced a new online Sensitive Business Risks assessment tool enabling its underwriters to quickly spot potential sustainability risks of transactions, further strengthening the due diligence process.
The accessibility and clarity of this online assessment tool led to an optimisation of the number of transactions referred to Swiss Re's sustainability experts for an assessment — from 454 in the previous year to 309 in 2015. Of these, the company issued negative recommendations in 32 cases and positive recommendations with conditions in 24 cases.
DJSI key for investors who integrate sustainability considerations into their investment decisions
The DJSI were launched in 1999 as the first global sustainability benchmarks for corporations. The assessment consists of an in-depth analysis of economic, environmental and social factors that are relevant to the companies’ long-term financial success, but that are under-researched in conventional financial analysis.
David Cole, Group Chief Financial Officer, says: "Our investors are looking for long-term, sustainable returns. They also look to sources like the DJSI to find out which companies share those goals and values. We are pleased to again be named the insurance industry leader by the DJSI and encourage all our stakeholders – investors, clients, employees and others – to join us in enabling sustainable progress."
Promoting dialogue and understanding around sustainability
The link between sustainability and Swiss Re's core business is illustrated in detail in Swiss Re's 2015 Corporate Responsibility Report (CRR). The CRR also serves as the company's Communication on Progress for the UN Global Compact and its Public Disclosure of Progress for the UN Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI). Swiss Re remains committed to both initiatives and will continue to play an active role in the PSI. The main content of the CRR was independently verified by PWC and is available on swissre.com.
Notes to Editors
Dow Jones Sustainability Indices
The Dow Jones Sustainability World Index was launched in 1999 as the first global sustainability benchmark. The DJSI family is 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.
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 around 70 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 International Reporting Standard on the SIX Swiss Exchange and trade under the symbol SREN. For more information about Swiss Re Group, please visit: www.swissre.com or follow us on Twitter @SwissRe.
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.
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