Sustainability in Society
As a provider of life and pensions and financial solutions, Swiss Life assumes social and economic responsibility. In addition, Swiss Life supports projects and institutions in the fields of culture, science, education and research that promote self-determination and confidence.
Swiss Life makes a major contribution to the national economy, both as a provider of products and services and as an employer, taxpayer and investor. Swiss Life enables people to lead a selfdetermined life, and thus makes a positive contribution to society.
In Switzerland, the insurance sector as a whole generates gross value-added of approximately CHF 30 billion and makes a significant contribution of nearly 5% to the country’s economic output.
However, Swiss Life’s economic contribution is much more than that.
- Insurance companies use statistical tools to transform hazards and uncertainties into risks that can be assessed and managed. Over the past centuries they have thus fundamentally shaped society’s view of risk: instead of being viewed as a potential loss, risks are now seen rather as an opportunity to break new ground.
- Swiss Life covers risks and, with its products and services, offers people the chance to focus on their skills. That allows them to look to the future with self-determination and confidence. Swiss Life’s services help people to accumulate capital, and ensure they achieve financial security.
- Through their expertise and work, Swiss Life advisors make a key contribution to improving financial literacy in society and giving people a better understanding of their financial and pension situation.
- As a long-term investor, Swiss Life also contributes to the stability of the financial centre and provides vital risk capital to companies and institutions.
- Swiss Life is one of Europe’s leading institutional real estate investors and has the biggest private real estate portfolio in Switzerland. It invests several hundred million francs a year in the renovation of its properties; in doing so it helps to shape the urban landscape and create living and working space, while also being a major client for the construction industry.
- As a taxpayer, Swiss Life makes a contribution to the economy and to society, as well as offering jobs and training opportunities to many people in its role as an employer.
Swiss Life’s business makes an important contribution to society. The consequences of demographic change are widely underestimated and entail new challenges. As people live ever longer and state pension systems reach their limits, every single individual is having to take on greater personal responsibility for their own future provisions and financial situation. At the same time, self-determination is a basic human need, and informs the company’s purpose: Swiss Life enables people to lead a self-determined life.
Political and regulatory conditions have a major influence on Swiss Life’s operating environment. For example, they directly affect product design and processes as well as the way in which information is reported to shareholders, supervisory authorities and the public. Swiss Life therefore cultivates an active dialogue with politicians and contributes its viewpoints.
Swiss Life is committed to promoting a competitive business location and appropriate regulation in all its markets. In this, it focuses on the most significant issues for its business areas, for example pensions and insurance, investment and asset management, real estate management, customer advice, and insurance solvency and consumer protection requirements.
A Political Communication Steering Committee defines the strategic focus. Its members are the Group CEO and the Group CFO, the CEOs of the divisions headquartered in Switzerland, the General Counsel, the Chief Risk Officer, the head of Group Communications and Strategic Marketing, and the Head of Group Human Resources. The steering committee meets four times a year and defines its political communication priorities. The Swiss Life Group’s Public Affairs team is responsible for implementing the measures at operational level.
Stakeholder management and work on industry associations
Swiss Life fosters contacts with representatives of the political, administrative and business communities as well as with 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 support was provided to political parties in the markets outside Switzerland. In this area, the company is guided by the rules in the Swiss Life Group Code of Conduct, as specified in the internal directive “Code of Conduct”. These rules stipulate, for example, that donations to political parties in the home market of Switzerland must be free of any obligation.
Political advocacy 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. The Chairman of Swiss Life’s Board of Directors, Rolf Dörig, is 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.
With its Public Affairs unit, Swiss Life Germany adopts positions on the most relevant regulatory issues. These are then projected to decision-makers in politics and society as well as through the committees of key industry associations. Swiss Life Germany is a member of the German Insurance Association (GDV) and of various associations representing intermediaries. Swiss Life Germany also maintains regular exchanges with the AfW Bundesverband Finanzdienstleistung e.V. (German federal association of financial service providers) and the Verband unabhängiger Finanzdienstleistungs-Unternehmen in Europa e.V. (VOTUM).
In Switzerland, Swiss Life Asset Managers is a member of the Board of the Swiss Real Estate Association (VIS) and of the Asset Management Association Switzerland, and is also a member of the Conference of Investment Foundation Managers (KGAST) through the Swiss Life Investment Foundation. The managing director of subsidiary Livit Ltd chairs the Swiss Real Estate Association (SVIT Schweiz).
Committed to the militia system
Swiss Life is committed to Switzerland’s militia system (part-time public service). This promotes better understanding between the worlds of politics, society and business and enables valuable knowledge transfer. Swiss Life therefore supports employees who take on a political or public office. Full-time employees can use up to 20% of their working hours for such work. In addition, Swiss Life organises regular events in Switzerland for employees who hold public or political mandates. During the reporting period, Swiss Life organised the fifth “Transfer” event in conjunction with Avenir Suisse, Swiss Re, Zurich Insurance Group, Helvetia, Baloise Group and Axa. At this event, over 95 mandate holders from different companies discussed current political issues.
Swiss Life supports projects and institutions in the fields of culture, science, education and research, and operates seven of its own foundations. The focus is on encouraging commitment, 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 social charity projects in Switzerland. In 2020, support totalling around CHF 1.3 million was provided for 126 projects. 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. This foundation supports medical research projects and specific charitable organisations for people with physical and mental disabilities. Swiss Life has made annual donations of around CHF 400 000 to this foundation in recent years.
- The Swiss Life Select distribution company operates the “Confidence for Children” foundation in Switzerland. This seeks to improve the life and development opportunities of disadvantaged children and give them a better chance of 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 receives key support from Swiss Life Select’s financial advisors and employees, who donated around CHF 143 000 to the foundation in 2020. Swiss Life Select Switzerland pays all the foundation’s administrative costs.
- In addition to these commitments to foundations, Swiss Life promotes Swiss film-making and helps artists go their own creative way. Due to the global pandemic, 2020 was a challenging year full of uncertainty for cultural production. Swiss Life stood by its commitments even during this challenging period and provided all the support that had been pledged. For example, Swiss Life supported both the Solothurn and Locarno film festivals in 2020. Moreover, Swiss Life has supported classical music in Switzerland for years through its financial commitment to Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, the Zurich Opera House, the Lucerne Festival and the Davos Festival.
- Swiss Life Asset Managers has sponsored the “Swiss Life Thesis Award” for the past seven 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 journal Finanz und Wirtschaft, provides a platform for innovative and practice-oriented research work at Swiss universities. The best theses in the fields of investment, 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.
- Since its inception in 2008, the “Fondation Swiss Life” has been supporting long-term projects with its partners in the fields of health, art and social engagement. The initiatives sponsored include the “Curie” institute, the “Association France Alzheimer”, the “Prix Swiss Life à 4 mains” art prize and the “Aider à Aider” social project. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the “Fondation Swiss Life” made an additional budget available to support local solidarity initiatives. In addition, a partnership was established with the “Entourage” association for a project called “Les Bonnes Ondes”. The solidarity teams, which included Swiss Life employees, provide telephone support for people who have been suffering from loneliness during the crisis. Fondation Swiss Life donated a total of EUR 291 000 to all the various initiatives during 2020.
- Through 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 advisors. Swiss Life Germany covers its personnel and administrative costs, thus allowing 100% of donation revenues to go towards project work. This organisation is a pure support foundation: it supported more than 40 initiatives with over EUR 800 000 in 2020.
- In 2019, the “Swiss Life Stiftung für Chancenreichtum und Zukunft” initiated a multi-year strategic cooperative project with “KinderHelden”, a mentoring initiative that offers improved educational opportunities to primary school children with a difficult background and helps them integrate into society. The “KinderHelden” location in Hanover was opened that same year, followed by a further location in Munich in 2020. Employees and financial advisors from the distribution operations now serve as mentors on a voluntary basis, and are even more important to children during the coronavirus period than in “normal” times.
- Corpus Sireo, a German company belonging to Swiss Life Asset Managers, supports the charitable “Cornelius Stiftung für Kinder suchtkranker Eltern”, a foundation for children of parents suffering from addictions. This 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 runs a foundation called “Zuversicht für Kinder” (Giving children confidence). During the reporting year, it supported 26 local and international aid projects as well as medical aid in specific cases. Donations of about EUR 70 000 were collected, mainly from Swiss Life Select financial advisors. With their help and the support of customers and private individuals, numerous children were given a new perspective in life. In addition, for the past four years Swiss Life Select in Austria has been the main sponsor of the “Junge Philharmonie Wien” (Vienna young people’s philharmonic orchestra).