Swiss Re

For the Swiss Re Tower, London, see: 30 St Mary Axe
Schweizerische Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft AG
Traded as
Industry Financial services
Founded December 19, 1863 (1863-12-19)
Headquarters Zurich, Switzerland
Key people
Christian Mumenthaler (Group CEO), Walter Kielholz (Chairman),
Products Reinsurance, insurance, asset management
Revenue US $35.714 billion (2015)[1]
Profit US $4.597 billion (2015)[1]
Total assets US $196.135 billion (end 2015)[1]
Total equity US $32.415 billion (end 2015)[1]
Number of employees
12.767 (end 2015)[1]
Corporate headquarters in Zurich
30 St Mary Axe - at 180 m, Swiss Re's London headquarters is the 9th tallest building in London

Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd,[2] generally known as Swiss Re, is a reinsurance company based in Zurich, Switzerland. It is the world’s second-largest reinsurer.[3] It acquired GE Insurance Solutions in 2006.[4] Founded in 1863, Swiss Re operates through offices in more than 25 countries. Swiss Re was ranked 118th in Forbes 2000 Global leading companies 2016.[5] It was also ranked 313th in Fortune Global 500 in 2015 - competitor and industry leader Munich Re: 103th.[6]


The Swiss Reinsurance Company of Zurich was founded on 19 December 1863 by the Helvetia General Insurance Company (now using the trade name of Helvetia insurance) in St. Gallen, the Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (Credit Suisse) in Zurich and the Basler Handelsbank (predecessor of UBS AG) bank in Basel.

On 10/11 May 1861, more than 500 houses went up in flames in the town of Glarus. Two thirds of the town sank into rubble and ashes; around 3000 inhabitants were made homeless. Like the fire of Hamburg in 1842 (which led to the foundation of the first professional reinsurers in Germany,[7]), the great fire of Glarus in 1861 showed that insurance coverage was totally inadequate in Switzerland in the event of such a catastrophe. Hence the need to provide more effective means of coping with the risks posed by such devastation.

The company’s articles of association were approved by the government of the Canton of Zurich on 19 December 1863. The foundation capital, which was 15% paid up, amounted to 6 million Swiss francs. The official foundation document bore the signature of the poet Gottfried Keller, who at the time was first secretary of the Canton of Zurich.

In the late 1930s Swiss banker Ulrich Neukom effectively 'took' Swiss Re over to Beijing, China, where he introduced Asian companies to Swiss Re and allowed them to use the services which Swiss Re had to offer. However, Swiss Re were not officially present in China until the 1990s; the headquarters for China in Wanchai, Hong Kong, opened in 2003.

Swiss Re was the lead insurer of the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks which led to an insurance dispute with the owner, Silverstein Properties. In October 2006, the New York appeals court ruled in favor of Swiss Re, stating that the destruction of the twin towers was a single event rather than two, limiting coverage to 3.5 billion USD.

On 31 October 2008, Swiss Re completed a £762 million acquisition of Barclays PLC's subsidiary Barclays Life Assurance Company Ltd.

In 2009, Warren Buffett invested $2.6 billion as a part of Swiss Re's raising equity capital[8] Berkshire Hathaway already owns a 3% stake, with rights to own more than 20%.[9]

In June 2014, the company through Admin Re acquired the UK pensions business of HSBC Life (UK) Limited worth £4.2 billion.[10]

In May 2016, the Fort McMurray Canadian wildfires caused estimated damages of up to 10 billion CAD with Swiss Re having the most exposure among reinsurers, covering 70-80% of the losses.[11]

Within its risk management processes, Swiss Re uses RepRisk, a Swiss provider of ESG Risk analytics and metrics, for due diligence processes and as part of the companywide consideration of commitments regarding problematic sectors and themes as well as exclusion of companies and countries.[12]

Group structure and operating model

The Group consists of the following three Business Units:[13]


Swiss Re's leadership consists of the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee and the Group Management Board.[14] Members of the Executive Committee include Christian Mumenthaler, Chief Executive Officer; Guido Fürer, Chief Investment Officer; David Cole, Chief Financial Officer; Patrick Raaflaub, Chief Risk Officer; Matthias Weber, Chief Underwriting Officer; Christian Mumenthaler, Chief Executive Officer Reinsurance; Agostino Galvagni, CEO Corporate Solutions; Jean-Jacques Henchoz, CEO Reinsurance EMEA; Moses Ojeisekhoba, CEO Reinsurance Asia; J. Eric Smith, CEO Swiss Re Americas; John R. Dacey, Group Chief Strategy Officer and Chairman Admin Re®; and Thomas Wellauer, Chief Operating Officer.

Office locations

The group has offices in over 25 countries. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Swiss Re has offices located in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In Asia, the group has offices in the following countries: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, and South Africa. There are also offices in the Americas: Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Corporate headquarters

Swiss Re is headquartered in Zurich where the parent company’s main premises has stood on the shores of Lake Zurich since 1864.

London headquarters

Its London office is located in the award-winning 30 St Mary Axe tower, which opened on 25 May 2004. 30 St Mary Axe is London's first environmentally sustainable tall building. Among the building's most distinctive features are its windows, which open to allow natural ventilation to supplement the mechanical systems for a good part of the year.

The landmark London skyscraper, designed by architect Norman Foster and popularly known as 'the gherkin’, was confirmed sold on 5 February 2007 for over £600 million (US$1.18 billion) to a group formed of IVG Immobilien AG of Germany and Evans Randall of Mayfair.[15]

American headquarters

The American headquarters of Swiss Re is located in Armonk, New York, on a 127-acre (52 hectares) site overlooking Westchester County’s Kensico Reservoir. The facility, which houses more than 1,000 employees, was completed in 1999 and expanded in 2004.

Swiss Re also has offices in Alpharetta, Boston, Calabasas, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Wayne, Houston, Kansas City, Manchester, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Miami, Schaumburg, Illinois, and Windsor. Swiss Re has two Canadian offices, in Toronto, and Vancouver, Swiss Reinsurance Company Canada, was named one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc. in October 2008, which was announced by the Toronto Star newspaper.[16]


Broker dealer Swiss Re Capital Markets (SRCM), is a broker-dealer and underwriter and developer in the insurance-linked securities market. Since 1997 SRCM has underwritten over USD 15 billion of ILS including Insurance-Linked Bonds (ILBs) also known as Catastrophe Bonds (CAT Bonds) for third-party clients and its parent, Swiss Re.

Swiss Re Capital Markets has developed new security types such as earthquake bonds. Swiss Re Capital Markets also developed the parametric index trigger, the ILS shelf program, the first ILS synthetic CDO, and the first extreme mortality bond (linked to life risk).

In 2006, Fox-Pitt, Kelton completed a management buyout backed by J.C. Flowers & Co. Swiss Re had acquired FPK, a financial services focused investment banking boutique and brokerage in 1998 for $200 million.[17]

Social responsibility

Swiss Re explains its comprehensive approach to social responsibility on its website. Swiss Re also publishes an annual report on Corporate Responsibility.

Greenhouse neutrality

Swiss Re supports its employees by refunding them up to 5000 Swiss Francs if they invest into technologies reducing CO2 emissions. Payments depend on the technology, its efficiency and the price of the investment. Examples of such technologies include hybrid cars, heat pumps, energy-saving refrigerators, or better insulated windows.[18]

See also


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Swiss Re.
  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Financial Information". Swiss Re. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  2. "Privacy Policy." Swiss Re. Retrieved on 18 January 2011. "Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd (“Swiss Re”)[...]" and "Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd, Mythenquai 50/60, 8022 Zurich, Switzerland (“Swiss Re”) Disclosure notification in accordance with Article 20 of the Swiss Stock Exchange Act." Swiss Re. 2 August 2007. Retrieved on 18 January 2011. "Die Schweizerische Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft (Swiss Re) teilt mit,[...]"
  3. "SNL's Top 15 Reinsurers: M&A Fails to Push Europeans Out of Leader Spots". 2015-07-13. Retrieved 2016-07-13.
  4. Ligi, Antonio (June 12, 2006). "Swiss Re Completes $7.4 Billion GE Insurance Purchase (Update2)". Retrieved 2006-06-27.
  5. "Swiss Re on the Forbes Global 2000 List". Retrieved 2016-07-13.
  6. "Global 500". 2015-07-21. Retrieved 2016-07-13.
  7. Archived September 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. DAVID JOLLY (February 5, 2009). "Swiss Re Gets $2.6 Billion From Berkshire Hathaway". The New York Times.
  9. Haig Simonian, Francesco Guerrera (February 5, 2009). "Swiss Re turns to Buffett for new funding". The Financial Times.
  10. "Swiss Re unit acquiring UK pension business of HSBC Life". London Mercury. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  11. W. Duggan (2016). "Bernstein's Fort McMurray Insurance Assessment". Benzinga Ratings. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  12. "Our Sustainability Risk Framework". Retrieved 2016-05-31.
  13. "Our structure and operating model".
  14. Swiss Re leadership
  15. "Swiss Re confirms £600m Gherkin sale". Financial Times. February 5, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-07. Swiss Re confirmed on Monday that it had sold the distinctive Gherkin building in the City of London for £600m to a joint venture between German property group IVG Immobilien AG and Evans Randall, the Mayfair based private investment group.
  16. "Reasons for Selection, 2009 Greater Toronto's Top Employers Competition".
  17. Fox-Pitt bows to $200m Swiss Re offer. The Independent, December 22, 1998
  18. "Swiss Re offers CHF 5 000 rebate to each employee committing to reduce her or his personal carbon footprint" (Press release). Swiss Re. January 4, 2007.
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