Responsibility in Society
Swiss Life promotes projects and institutions in the fields of culture, science, education and the environment and research that promote self-determination and confidence. Swiss Life also observes its socio-political responsibility through exchange with politicians and associations.
Insurance companies are a crucial pillar of the economy, whether as employers, tax payers or investors. Furthermore, the insurance sector offers young people an attractive starting point for a career. With gross added value of CHF 30 billion in Switzerland, the insurance sector as a whole accounts for almost 5% of Switzerland’s economic performance, a significant contribution.
But Swiss Life’s economic contribution is much more than that. 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. At the same time, as a long-term investor, Swiss Life contributes to the stability of the financial centre. And in its role 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 activity is of social relevance as well, since the consequences of the demographic trend are largely underestimated and pose new challenges. If people are living ever longer and state pension systems reach their limits, every single individual will have to take on greater personal responsibility for their own future provisions. At the same time, self-determination is a basic human need, and the source of the Swiss Life purpose: we enable people to lead a selfdetermined life.
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 Affairs manages this STC and provides operational leadership. 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 markets outside Switzerland. Dealings with politicians are 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 in Switzerland, France and Germany are closely coordinated with trade associations. Moreover, a number of company executives are members of various national trade associations. Swiss Life Chairman of the Board Rolf Dörig serves as chairman of the Swiss Insurance Association (SIA). In addition, members of the Corporate Executive Board and Swiss Life employees work on various SIA committees.
Swiss Life France is a member of the French Insurance Federation (Fédération française de l’assurance, FFA), France’s largest trade association in the insurance sector. 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 the major committees of the German Insurance Association (GDV) and is a member of various associations of intermediaries. It is in regular professional dialogue with the AFW Bundesverband Finanzdienstleistung e.V. (German federal association of financial service providers) as well as with the Verband unabhängiger Finanzdienstleistungs- Unternehmen in Europa e.V. (Votum, an association representing the interests of financial service providers operating throughout Europe).
In 2018, Swiss Life further consolidated the position of Public Affairs within the Asset Managers division. One focus of this department is Swiss real estate policy.
Swiss Life is committed to promoting a competitive business location and appropriate regulation density in all its markets. That includes adequate capital requirements: excessive capital requirements are forcing Swiss life insurers to carry significantly higher operational capital costs than their foreign competitors.
Swiss Life is committed to the militia principle in Switzerland and supports its employees in the performance of public and political mandates. Swiss Life holds regular events for employees in Switzerland with public or political mandates. During the reporting year, Swiss Life organised for the third time an event known as “Transfer” in conjunction with Avenir Suisse, Swiss Re, Zurich Insurance Group, Helvetia and Axa. Over 60 mandate holders from different companies discussed current political issues at this event.
Social and Cultural Engagement
Swiss Life supports projects and institutions in the fields of culture, science, education and the environment and research, and operates seven of its own foundations. In all social activities of the Swiss Life Group, the focus is on projects that promote self-determination and confidence.
In 2005, Swiss Life founded the “Perspectives” Foundation, which 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 2018, 142 projects were supported with around CHF 1.4 million. All funds are made available in their entirety by the founder, Swiss Life.
A second foundation Swiss Life runs in its home market of Switzerland is the Anniversary Foundation for Public Health and Medical Research, founded in 1957 on the occasion of the company’s centenary. It supports medical research projects and specific charitable organisations for people with physical and mental disabilities. Swiss Life has made annual donations to this foundation in the amount of some CHF 400 000 in recent years.
In addition to its foundation work, Swiss Life promotes Swiss film-making and helps artists follow their own path. 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, the Lucerne Festival and the Davos Festival.
The Swiss Life Select distribution company operates the Foundation Confidence for Children in Switzerland, which aims to improve the life and development opportunities of disadvantaged children and give them a better chance at leading a self-determined and independent life. Among its key undertakings are two projects in Kyrgyzstan providing medical care to children with cleft lips and palates. The foundation is essentially supported by Swiss Life Select financial advisors and employees, who donated CHF 123 100 to the foundation in 2018. Swiss Life Select Switzerland pays all administrative costs.
Swiss Life Asset Managers has sponsored the “Swiss Life Thesis Award” for the past five years. The Award, presented in cooperation with the Institute for Financial Services Zug (IFZ), part of Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, and the business paper Finanz und Wirtschaft, provides a platform for innovative and practice-oriented research work at Swiss institutes of higher education. The best theses in the fields of financial investments, financial markets, financial services companies, financial instruments and corporate finance are singled out for awards each year. The Swiss Life Thesis Award comes to CHF 20 000 in total.
In France, the company gives support to the Fondation Swiss Life, which supports among other groups France Alzheimer, an association that organises museum and concert visits for Alzheimer patients and their carers. Furthermore, thanks to a sizeable solidarity network within the company, it also finances cancer research carried out by the Institut Curie.
The Fondation Swiss Life supports culture and artistic work as well, with the “Prix Swiss Life à 4 mains” (Swiss Life Prize for 4 Hands), which brings together a photographer and a musician, or with concerts by young artists in the various regions of France. The Foundation also supports projects and associations in which Swiss Life employees are actively involved. The Fondation Swiss Life donated a total of around EUR 291 000 to all initiatives during 2018.
With the Swiss Life Stiftung für Chancenreichtum und Zukunft (Foundation for opportunities and the future), Swiss Life Germany does its part for educational equity and equal opportunity in Germany. It works towards having as many people as possible – regardless of their social background – remain curious, acquire knowledge and, as a result, lead a 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 pure project work. In 2018, in the second year of its existence, the Foundation was already able to donate EUR 120 500 to various initiatives.
Swiss Life Germany also sponsors an event venue in Hanover, the Swiss Life Hall, where since 2005 there have been up to 100 concerts, sporting and corporate events held every year. The Swiss Life Hall has become a popular venue over the years and its reputation extends beyond Hanover.
Corpus Sireo, a German Company of Swiss Life Asset Managers, supports the charitable Cornelius Stiftung für Kinder suchtkranker Eltern (Foundation for children of parents suffering from addiction). The Foundation focuses on the advancement of children from underprivileged homes afflicted by addiction, and thus offers them better perspectives for the future. Its average yearly donation volume is EUR 100 000.
Swiss Life Select in Austria also runs a foundation under the name Stiftung Zuversicht für Kinder, which supported 16 local and international aid projects as well as medical aid in specific cases during the reporting year. Donations in the amount of EUR 58 800 were collected in the previous year, mainly from Swiss Life Select financial advisors. With their help and the support of partner companies, customers and private individuals, numerous children were given a new outlook on life. In addition, Swiss Life Select in Austria has for the past four years been the main sponsor of the “Junge Philharmonie Wien” (Vienna young people’s philharmonic orchestra).
In Luxembourg, employees of Swiss Life International initiated “Rock Against Cancer” five years ago, a benefit concert sponsored by Swiss Life Global Solutions. This annual event raises money for two foundations: Fondation Cancer Luxembourg and Fondation Kriibskrank Kanner (children with cancer). Both foundations are committed to fighting cancer. Although they were not founded by Swiss Life International, the foundations have been supported with donations for years.
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 general 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.