Swiss Re writes reinsurance for both property/casualty and life and health insurers. It also writes 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 Life Capital group will buy up closed books and maintain the policies; that unit also stays busy making 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 more than 45% of its total premiums. Operating from offices in about 25 countries, Swiss Re sells its products globally through both direct sales and distributors.
Swiss Re operates through three core business segments: Reinsurance (representing some 85% of net premiums), Corporate Solutions (about 10%), and Life Capital (less than 5%).
The Reinsurance segment, including units P&C Re and L&H Re, provides casualty, property & specialty, agriculture, aviation, trade credit, engineering, marine, life & health, and retakaful (Islamic insurance) coverage.
Corporate Solutions covers agriculture, aviation, energy & power, entertainment, food & drink, health care, life sciences, manufacturing, and others.
Life Capital acquires closed and open books of in-force life and health insurance. Its brands include ReAssure, elipsLife, and iptiQ.
Zurich-based Swiss Re has about 80 offices in some 25 countries. The Americas bring in more than 45% of net premiums. Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) bring in about one-third of net premiums, and the Asia/Pacific region brings in around 20%.
Sales and Marketing
Swiss Re 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.
Swiss Re's revenue has been trending upward for the past five years, but net income has been more volatile.
In 2018 revenue fell 13% to $37 billion. A decline in the Chinese quota share business and the US casualty business led to a dip in property/casualty reinsurance, but that was partially offset by gains in life & health reinsurance, corporate solutions, and Life Capital.
Net income rose 27% to $421 million that year, but that was still far less than the $3.6 billion it made in 2016 and the $4.7 billion it netted in 2015. The two-year slump was driven by weather-related catastrophe losses in the property/casualty arena, as well as lower investment earnings.
The group ended 2018 with $6 billion in net cash, about $800 million less than it had at the end of 2017. Operating activities provided $1.6 billion and investing activities provided $3.5 billion, while financing activities used $6.6 billion.
Swiss Re targets large, tailored reinsurance transactions for growth, as demand for that type of coverage is strong. The company banks on its experience and expertise to benefit from large accounts; it closed more than 150 such deals in 2018 alone. The group is also building up its presence in high-growth markets, particularly China, which it considers a key driver of growth. Even when those markets experience temporary challenges, Swiss Re remains committed to those areas.
The years 2017 and 2018 were hard on insurance companies and, by extension, reinsurance companies including Swiss Re. Typhoons, wildfires, and hurricanes, as well as man-made disasters led to high claims for the group's property/casualty businesses.
The group continues to develop new products as customer needs evolve. In 2019, it launched FLOW, which was designed to protect European companies from the financial impact of high or low river levels. (The summer of 2018 was dry and warm, which led to decreased production volume and higher transportation costs for certain businesses.) FLOW payouts are based on a defined index.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2017 Swiss Re agreed to purchase 1.1 million life insurance policies from UK-based Legal & General for £650 million. Those policies are being managed by ReAssure, part of Swiss Re Life Capital. The deal helped build the group's presence in the UK market.
In 1863 M. J. Grossmann lobbied the Schweizerische Kreditanstalt to allow the creation of a reinsurance organization to serve Schweizerische Lebensversicherungs- und Rentenanstalt (Swiss life insurer) and Helvetia Schweizerische Feuerversicherings-Gesellschaft (Swiss fire insurer), the two largest insurance companies in Switzerland at the time. Schweizerische Ruckverischerungs-Gesellschaft (Swiss Re) was founded later the same year, with Georg Schmidt, a seasoned insurance executive, at its helm.
In 1881 the company signed its first accident reinsurance contract, then introduced motor vehicle third-party insurance in 1901 and engineering reinsurance in 1904. It entered the primary insurance market during the 1970s and 1980s, but exited that business in the 1990s.
5200 METCALF AVE
Overland Park, KS 66202-1265
Phone: 1 (913) 676-5200
Employer Type: Privately Owned
Pres Industrial Risk Insurers: Dan Eudy
Sr V Pres: Mark L Ricciardelli
Sr V Pres Gen Counsel: Nicholas Spaeth
Employees (This Location): 1,000
Employees (All Locations): 4,000
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