Swiss Re's Policy Engagement

Policy engagement

Dialogue is part of Swiss Re's DNA. Our engagement with external stakeholders therefore includes dialogue with local (city/municipal), regional (cantonal), national and international policymakers, government representatives, international organisations and financial institutions, and opinion leaders.

We appreciate this dialogue as an opportunity to stay abreast of current developments, explain Swiss Re's position, inform and shape the policy debate about matters of interest for us, and, not least, learn about trends and developments important for our business at all political levels.

Our engagement and dialogue with all our stakeholders is based on trust, mutual respect and integrity and is governed by published governance guidelines such as Swiss Re's Code of Conduct.

In 2019 Swiss Re's membership fees to industry trade association memberships in Swiss Re's top three markets by premium, and Switzerland as our Headquarters location, amounted to USD 1'258'131.- (USA: APCIA, ACLI, NAMIC, UK: ABI, China: IAC, Switzerland: SVV)

In 2019, Swiss Re's total monetary contributions to and spending for political campaigns, political organizations, lobbyists or lobbying organizations, trade associations and other tax-exempt groups across Swiss Re's top three markets by premium (USA, UK, China) and Switzerland as our Headquarters location was USD 3'629'242.-

Policy engagement in Switzerland

Our policy engagement is particularly relevant in Switzerland, our global Headquarters location for over 150 years and where Swiss Re employs about 3 300 employees or about 21% of its global workforce.

In the absence of state funding, political parties and organisations have to rely on private donations from corporations and individuals to support their activities. As a corporate citizen and in line with applicable laws and regulations, Swiss Re supports the political process in Switzerland as follows:

1) Political parties

Swiss Re supports political parties, organisations or groups who – based on their political programmes and activities – are committed to the principles of open society, freedom, open markets, fair competition, the respect of property and privacy rights, and who support favourable framework conditions for Switzerland as an attractive business and investment location.

2) Campaigns

Switzerland's political system has strong direct democratic features with frequent public votes (initiatives, referenda) and elections at local, regional (cantonal) and federal levels.

Organisations such as industry and sector / trade associations (eg economiesuisse, Swiss Insurance Association, Chambers of Commerce) inform and explain the position of their members and of the corporate community to the electorate to enable it to build an informed opinion.

Swiss Re supports specific election campaigns and voting projects if deemed relevant for our business or of concern for Switzerland as an attractive location for business and investments. Support is provided either directly or indirectly via Swiss Re's membership in business and industry organisations.

Swiss Re's support is in line with applicable laws and regulations and is based on considerations of preserving an attractive location Switzerland with a competitive, open market, good working conditions, and a sustainable, attractive environment for businesses and investors.

3) Individual candidates standing for election to public office

Swiss Re provides financial support to election campaigns of individual candidates standing for election to public office and whose election programme and past track record indicate support of the principles of open society, freedom, open markets, fair competition, the respect of property and privacy rights, and who support favourable framework conditions for Switzerland as an attractive and sustainable business and investment location.

In 2018, the aggregate amount of Swiss Re's political contributions in Switzerland did not exceed CHF 500'000.-.

In 2019 the amount was CHF 464'000.- (USD 474'544.-)

All contributions are made in strict compliance with applicable laws and regulations and with Swiss Re's corporate guidelines and policies, such as anti-bribery and corruption.

Supporting our employees who stand for election to public office in Switzerland

The Swiss political system ("Milizsystem") hinges upon the personal engagement of its citizens. All legislative functions at federal, cantonal and communal level, and also many executive functions at the local community level are exercised by citizens in a part-time capacity, based on publicly elected mandates. This is unique and contributes to the stability and resilience of the Swiss political system.

Swiss Re therefore also encourages and supports employees who stand for election to public office at communal, cantonal or federal levels in Switzerland. This support is independent of individual party affiliation and political orientation.

Swiss Re's general working conditions state: "Participation in public offices and authorities in the militia system is deeply rooted in Swiss culture and contributes significantly to Switzerland's political stability and development. Swiss Re strongly encourages the acceptance of public office by employees and supports employees who hold or apply for public office in a public authority. This includes public offices in elected legislative, executive or judicial bodies, such as part-time involvement in municipal, cantonal or federal functions such as local councils, city councils, cantonal councils, involvement in school boards or other militia commissions, lay judges, etc.

In principle, Swiss Re's flexible working time arrangements already facilitate the compatibility of public offices with the requirements of the profession. In addition, Swiss Re grants holders of public office - where necessary - paid leave of up to 20% of their annual working time. A more extensive, individual regulation is possible in principle and will be examined on the basis of the disclosure of the time requirements of the respective office to the direct superior. Swiss Re attaches great importance to finding a viable solution with the respective mandate holder in individual cases and depending on the specific time requirements of a public mandate.

The responsible HR team must be informed immediately of the acceptance of a public office and the associated time requirements, as well as of the arrangements agreed with the line manager for the duration of the mandate. This ensures that no conflicts of interest arise for Swiss Re and that the maximum weekly working hours are not exceeded."

Policy engagement in the United States

Swiss Re has been a part of the American business community since 1906.

In the United States, political support for candidates is made via Swiss Re's Political Action Committee (PAC) which is funded individually via employees. Our political contributions are careful and deliberate. We support those who have a shared vision about the real value of our business to America.

Every PAC contribution Swiss Re makes is publicly disclosed in line with regulations and is in accordance with the company's governance on the matter.

In 2019, total annual spending for lobbying, interest representation or similar in the USA: USD 794'657.-. Of this amount USD 360'000.- were spent for lobbying.

Summary overview of Swiss Re policy engagement contributions 2019

Our overview includes Swiss Re's three most important markets by premium (USA, UK, China) and Switzerland as Headquarters location.

  • Lobbying, interest representation or similar: Switzerland: USD 1'098'410.-, United States: USD 794'657.-, total of USD 1'893'067.-
  • Local, regional or national political campaigns/organisations/candidates contributions in Switzerland 2019: USD 474'544.-
  • Trade associations or tax-exempt groups: trade association memberships in Swiss Re's top three markets by premium (US: APCIA, ACLI, NAMIC, UK: ABI, China: IAC) and Switzerland (SVV): total membership fees: USD 1'258'131.-
  • 2019 largest policy spending (markets): Switzerland: total contributions of USD 474'544.-; United States: USD 360'000.-

Total policy and trade association membership spending for top three markets (by premium: USA, UK, China) plus Headquarters location Switzerland: USD 3'629'242.-

May 2020