COVID-19: key information

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on individuals, families and countries dealing with infection. The economic shock of the crisis is affecting many more, especially those without the resources to weather a financial downturn for an extended period.  Swiss Re stands with you in these challenging times to provide our risk knowledge and pay covered losses.

This document provides basic information about the impact of the pandemic on Swiss Re, the economy and the insurance industry, as well as Swiss Re's response to the situation.

For general information about the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the World Health Organization website

Impact on the economy

What is Swiss Re's assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy?

Based on research from Swiss Re Institute, we expect a global recession this year due to the global coronavirus outbreak, tightening financial conditions and the weak economic resilience before the pandemic started. For full details see Economic and Financial Risk Insights. You may also be interested in the Swiss Re Institute publication Economic Resilience in Action Now.

Impact on the insurance industry

What is the impact of COVID-19 on the insurance industry?

Given that events continue to unfold, it is too early to estimate the full impact of COVID-19 on the insurance industry. 

The potential impact lies in the following areas:

  1. Asset Management: sharp drop in interest rates, widening credit spreads and lower equity markets generally have a negative impact on the industry's capital position and return on investment (ROI).
  2. Property & Casualty: we expect the potential impact to be highest on credit & surety, event cancellation and business interruption.
  3. Life & Health: the highest potential impact is on mortality exposures and healthcare coverages.

As an industry, we have a very resilient business model. Demand for our products and services is continuing and, as past crises have shown, we are able to provide our services uninterrupted, despite challenging situations. 

Impact on Swiss Re

Business continuity

How has Swiss Re responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in managing its business?

The safety of our clients and employees is our first priority. We have an experienced global crisis management set-up and all the necessary measures in place to keep our business running without interruption, while still protecting the health and safety of our employees and their families.

How is Swiss Re helping its clients during this challenging time?

We know our clients are dedicated to supporting their customers during this challenging situation.   Being accessible and responsive to our clients and partners during times of uncertainty is integral to our commitment to make the world more resilient.

As a result, we are taking the necessary actions to keep business uninterrupted while still protecting the health and safety of our employees. We're doing this by implementing business continuity plans and IT service continuity plans for our locations, business units and data centers. This ensures employees have access to a resilient IT infrastructure and the necessary tools to work remotely as necessary.

Financial impact

What is the financial impact of COVID-19 on Swiss Re?

While it is too early to estimate the impact of the current crisis on Swiss Re, at this point we assess it as being absolutely manageable. We are exposed to claims through both our Life & Health and Property & Casualty businesses, and our investment portfolio will be affected by the current market dislocation. But we have an industry-leading capital position with significant financial flexibility and a conservative investment portfolio with hedges in place that effectively, if partially, mitigate the economic impacts of falling equity prices and widening credit spreads. And we continue to manage our capital with the prudence that current volatility calls for.

Annual General Meeting

Will Swiss Re's Annual General Meeting be held on 17 April 2020 as planned?

As announced on 19 March 2020, in line with preventive measures announced by the Swiss Federal Council, it will not be possible for shareholders to attend the AGM in person. Shareholders can exercise their voting rights in writing or electronically via the independent proxy.

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