The Swiss financial sector represents a substantial portion of the Swiss economy: with its contribution of just under 10% to overall Swiss gross added value, the sector is among the country’s economic powerhouses. And with direct value creation of CHF 29.5 billion, insurance companies contribute almost as much as the banks. The insurance sector employs about 50 000 people in Switzerland and offers 2000 young people the opportunity to embark on a rewarding career.
As an insurance company, Swiss Life plays an important role in a healthy economy: Swiss Life covers risks and, with its products and services, offers people the chance to focus on their strengths and skills and look to the future with confidence. But Swiss Life’s economic contribution is much more than that. As a long-term investor, Swiss Life contributes to the stability of the financial centre. As one of Europe’s leading institutional real estate investors and owner of Switzerland’s largest private real estate portfolio, Swiss Life invests several hundred million francs every year in the renewal of its properties, and is thus also a key principal on the Swiss construction scene. By investing in its properties and with its active property management approach, Swiss Life shapes the urban character of Switzerland, creates residential and office space and makes the country an attractive place to live. As a tax payer, Swiss Life contributes to the economy and offers many people jobs and training opportunities.
Swiss Life’s operational environment is significantly defined by political and regulatory conditions. For example, legal principles and their practical application in the form of ordinances have a direct effect on product design, processes and the manner of reporting to shareholders, supervisory authorities and the public.
Public Affairs is responsible for monitoring matters of political significance, guiding and coordinating Swiss Life’s positions on such matters both internally and externally, and strategically developing and expanding a network among the involved parties. The Political Communications Steering Committee is the relevant strategic body. Its members are the Group CEO and the Group CFO, the CEOs of divisions headquartered in Switzerland, General Counsel, the Chief Risk Officer and the head of Group Communications. The Head of Public Relations is also an active participant in the meetings. The Steering Committee, chaired by the Group CEO, meets four times a year and defines its political communication priorities.
Swiss Life fosters contacts with representatives from the political, administrative and business communities as well as supervisory authorities. In its direct exchanges with political groups, Swiss Life aims to better understand their opinions, expectations and perceptions while at the same time gauging how the enactment or amendment of legal principles could affect its business. In Switzerland, parties of the political centre-right and individual politicians receive financial support mainly for their election campaigns. The total amount of support provided during the year under review was around CHF 500 000. No (significant) support was provided to parties or politicians in the other markets.
In its dealings with politicians, it is guided by the rules of the Swiss Life Group Code of Conduct, as specified in the internal directive ”Code of Conduct”. These rules decree, for example, that donations in the home market of Switzerland to political parties are to be free of any obligation.
Political work and communication are closely coordinated with trade associations in Switzerland, France and Germany. Moreover, a number of company executives are members of various national trade associations. In the year under review, Swiss Life Chairman of the Board of Directors Rolf Dörig was elected chairman of the Swiss Insurance Association (SIA).
Swiss Life France is a member of the French Insurance Federation, the largest trade association in France. The company is represented through a number of employees who actively participate in the committees for different insurance-related themes.
Swiss Life Germany is represented on all the major committees of the German Insurance Association (GDV) and is a member of various associations of intermediaries. It maintains regular contact with the Bundesverband der Verischerungskaufleute (BVK, a German association for self-employed insurance brokers) and the Verband unabhängiger Finanzdienstleistungs- Unternehmen in Europa (Votum, an association representing the interests of financial service providers operating throughout Europe).
In addition, in 2017 Swiss Life expanded its Public Affairs area within the Asset Managers division. One focus of this body is Swiss real estate policy.
Swiss Life is committed to promoting a competitive business location and appropriate regulation density in all markets. That includes adequate capital requirements: excessive capital requirements are forcing Swiss Life insurers to accept significantly higher capital costs for their operations than their foreign competitors.
Swiss Life is committed to the militia principle in Switzerland and encourages its employees to exercise public and political mandates. The company has an interest in promoting a fully functional and integrated society. Swiss Life holds regular events for employees in Switzerland with public or political mandates. During the reporting year, Swiss Life organised an event known as “Transfer” in conjunction with Avenir Suisse, Swiss Re, Zurich Insurance Group, Helvetia and Axa. This was the second time the event was held. Over 60 mandate holders from different companies discussed current political issues at this event.
Swiss Life supports projects and institutions in the fields of culture, science, education and the environment and research. The focus is on institutions promoting confidence and self-determination.
The “Perspectives” Foundation, founded in 2005, plays a leading role in the Swiss domestic market. The foundation supports charitable initiatives in the fields of health, science, education, culture and sport and spends CHF 1.3 to 1.5 million every year on sociable-charitable projects in Switzerland. In the year under review, 137 projects were supported with around CHF 1.4 million. There is a film on the engagements of the “Perspectives” Foundation:
A further foundation Swiss Life runs in its home market is the Anniversary Foundation for Public Health and Medical Research, founded in 1957 on the occasion of the company’s centenary. The Foundation supports medical research projects and specific charitable organisations for people with physical and mental disabilities.
In France, philanthropic engagements are managed mainly through the Fondation Swiss Life, founded in 2009, which collaborates with charitable healthcare facilities such as the Institut Curie or the Association France Alzheimer. Through its partnership with the Institut Curie, Swiss Life finances immunotherapy research, a promising, effective and less painful treatment for cancer patients. Swiss Life supports the Association France Alzheimer in its campaign to improve the quality of life for Alzheimer’s sufferers, by means of art therapy, workshops, museum visits and concerts. Swiss Life employees and business partners are also involved in these engagements, aided in their efforts by the Foundation’s “Aider à Aider” programme.
With its “Stiftung für Chancenreichtum und Zukunft” (Foundation for Opportunities and the Future), newly founded in December 2016, Swiss Life Germany consciously commits itself to values shared by its employees, its national context and the umbrella brand. The Foundation is committed to knowledge, social innovation and equal opportunity. It works towards having as many people as possible in Germany – regardless of their social background – remain curious, acquire knowledge and, as a result, lead a longer self-determined life. The Foundation is mainly financed with donations from employees and financial consultants. Swiss Life Germany covers staff and administrative costs, thus allowing 100% of donation revenues to go towards project work. Before the creation of the Stiftung für Chancenreichtum und Zukunft, Swiss Life Germany lent its support to the Foundation Confidence for Children (beginning in 1991). This engagement is now being continued and social responsibility taken.
In 2013 employees of Swiss Life International in Luxembourg initiated “Rock Against Cancer”, an annual benefit concert sponsored by Swiss Life Global Solutions that raises money for two foundations devoted to fighting cancer: Fondation Cancer Luxembourg and Fondation Kriibskrank Kanner (children with cancer).
Corpus Sireo, a German subsidiary of Swiss Life Asset Managers, supports the charitable “Cornelius Stiftung für Kinder suchtkranker Eltern” (Foundation for children of parents suffering from addiction).
Swiss Life has been an active supporter of film-making in Switzerland for many years. The films usually centre around people and their stories – just as Swiss Life does. For example, Swiss Life is committed to the Solothurn Film Festival, the Locarno Festival and the Zurich Film Festival. Moreover, Swiss Life in Switzerland supports classical music through its financial commitment to Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, Zurich Opera House and the Lucerne Festival.
In France, the Fondation Swiss Life supports a cultural initiative through its award “Prix Swiss Life à 4 mains” for up-and-coming talent in photography and music. Swiss Life France is also a partner, through its foundation, of “Rencontres capitales: redonner du sens au progrès” (podium discussions on the meaning of progress), a public dialogue on trend-setting topics featuring experts from politics, research, technology and art.
Swiss Life Germany sponsors an event venue in Hanover, the Swiss Life Hall, where there have been up to 100 concerts, sporting and corporate events every year since 2005. The Swiss Life Hall has become a popular venue over the years and its reputation extends beyond Hanover.
Swiss Life Switzerland has been a partner of the Swiss Football Association since 2004 and supports the men’s national teams (all teams from U-15s to the A-team) as well as the national women’s teams (all teams from U-16s to the A-team). As of the 2015/16 season, Swiss Life is also the main sponsor of ZSC Lions ice hockey club. The Lions are one of the biggest ice hockey clubs in Europe with a well-respected youth development programme.
Together with the distribution companies Swiss Life Select and Proventus, Swiss Life Germany supports mass sports for regional amateur clubs. The company is also a regular supporter of sporting occasions, such as the football benefit event “Münchner Legendenspiel”, the proceeds of which go to charitable organisations.
You can find further information on our charitable engagement and sponsoring activities under: www.swisslife.com/society