Swiss Re writes reinsurance for both property/casualty and life and health insurers. It will also write property/casualty reinsurance for corporate and public sector clients that are self-insured and help them manage their risk. For insurers looking to unload old books of life insurance, the company's Admin Re group will buy up closed books and maintain the policies. It also stays busy working to make the most of the assets generated by its other businesses. While Swiss Re is active around the globe, its activities in the Americas account for some 45% of the company's premiums. Operating from offices in more than 30 countries, Swiss Re sells its products globally through both direct sales and distributors.
Swiss Re operates four core business segments: Property & Casualty Reinsurance (over 50% of net premiums), Life & Health Reinsurance (over 35%), Corporate Solutions (11%), and Life Capital (1%).
The two reinsurance segments work in casualty, property & specialty, agriculture, aviation, trade credit, engineering, marine, life & health, and retakaful (Islamic insurance).
Corporate Solutions covers agriculture, aviation, energy & power, entertainment, food & drink, healthcare, life sciences, manufacturing, and others. It serves mostly large and mid-sized corporations.
Life Capital, which includes the Admin Re business, acquires closed and open books of in-force life and health insurance.
Swiss Re has about 70 offices in more than 30 countries. The Americas accounts for some 45% of net premiums, followed by EMEA at 34% and the Asia-Pacific region at some 22% of sales.
Sales and Marketing
The company markets its products directly and through brokers. Its client base is global and consists of insurance companies, mid-sized to large corporations, and public sector clients.
In 2015, revenue fell 3% on prior year to $35.7 billion, the first decline since 2011. The fall came as a result of unfavorable exchange rate movements impacting all business units.
However despite the fall in net premiums, net income increased 31% on prior year due to lower operating expenses, including claims and claim adjustment expenses and life & health benefits.
Swiss Re created a Life Capital business unit in January 2016, which includes the existing Admin Re closed book operation.
"Closed books" are blocks of life insurance policies that are no longer being sold, but remain in force, with premiums still being paid in and claims still being paid out. While there is little apparent glamour in tending closed books, Admin Re was set up in 2011 to specialize in doing just that. The upside to buying existing books is that they simply require maintenance with none of the marketing or distribution expense. Some insurers opt to keep their books, but outsource the administration of the policies to Admin Re. As regulations change, many European insurers and banks are choosing to offload their closed books to free up capital. Admin Re operates in the UK through ReAssure, which has plumped up from the acquisition of books from Barclays and MetLife; the division sold the majority of its US closed books to Jackson National Life Insurance in 2012.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2016 Swiss Re acquired Guardian Holdings Europe for £1.6 billion through its Admin Re unit. The addition of Guardian will help diversify the unit's operations and build up its assets, including bringing some 900,000 policies in the UK and Ireland.