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For the Swiss Re Tower, London, see: 30 St Mary Axe
Schweizerische Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft AG
Type Aktiengesellschaft (SIXRUKN)
Founded 19 December 1863
Headquarters Zurich, Switzerland
Key people Stefan Lippe (CEO), Walter Kielholz (Chairman)
Industry Financial services
Products Reinsurance, insurance, asset management
Revenue CHF 33.38 billion (2009)[1]
Profit CHF 506 million (2009)[1]
Total assets CHF 240.6 billion (2009)[1]
Employees 10,552 (2009)[1]
Corporate headquarters in Zurich
30 St Mary Axe - at 180 m, Swiss Re's London headquarters is the 6th tallest building in London

Swiss Re (Schweizerische Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft AG, SIXRUKN) is the world’s second-largest reinsurer, after having acquired GE Insurance Solutions (Ligi 2006). Founded in 1863, Swiss Re operates through offices in more than 25 countries.



The Swiss Reinsurance Company of Zurich was founded on December 19, 1863 by the Helvetia General Insurance Company (now using the trade name of Helvetia insurance) in St. Gallen, the Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (Credit Suisse) in Zurich and the Basler Handelsbank (predecessor of UBS AG) bank in Basel.

Like the fire of Hamburg in 1842 (which led to the foundation of the first professional reinsurers in Germany, [1]), the great fire of Glarus in 1861 showed that insurance coverage was totally inadequate in Switzerland in the event of such a catastrophe. Hence the need to provide more effective means of coping with the risks posed by such devastation.

On 10/11 May 1861, more than 500 houses went up in flames in the town of Glarus. Two thirds of the town sank into rubble and ashes; around 3000 inhabitants were made homeless.

The company’s articles of association were approved by the government of the Canton of Zurich on 19 December 1863. The foundation capital, which was 15% paid up, amounted to 6 million Swiss francs. The official foundation document bore the signature of the poet Gottfried Keller, who at the time was first secretary of the Canton of Zurich

The Swiss Reinsurance Company was the lead insurer of the World Trade Center during September 11 attacks which led to an insurance dispute with the owner, Silverstein Properties.

In 2009, Warren Buffett invested $2.6 billion as a part of Swiss Re's raising equity capital.[2][3] Berkshire Hathaway already owns a 3% stake, with rights to own more than 20%.[4]

Corporate headquarters

Swiss Re is headquartered in Zurich where the parent company’s main premises has stood on the shores of Lake Zurich since 1864. On 31 October 2008, Swiss Re completed GBP 762 million acquisition of Barclays PLC's Barclays Life Assurance Company Ltd.


London headquarters

Its new London headquarters are located in the award-winning 30 St Mary Axe tower, which opened on May 25, 2004. 30 St Mary Axe is London's first environmentally sustainable tall building. Among the building's most distinctive features are its windows, which open to allow natural ventilation to supplement the mechanical systems for a good part of the year.

The landmark London skyscraper, designed by architect Norman Foster and popularly known as 'the gherkin’, was confirmed sold on February 5, 2007 for over £600 million (US$1.18 billion) to a group formed of IVG Immobilien AG of Germany and Evans Randall of Mayfair (Financial Times 2007).

American headquarters

The American headquarters of Swiss Re are located in Armonk, New York on a 127-acre (52 hectares) site overlooking Westchester County’s Kensico Reservoir. The facility, which houses more than 1,000 employees from the company’s Life & Health and Property & Casualty business units, was completed in 1999 and expanded in 2004.

Swiss Re also has offices in Atlanta, Avon, Boston, Calabasas, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Wayne, Hartford, Kansas City, Manchester, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Schaumburg, Illinois. Swiss Re's Canadian office in Toronto, Swiss Reinsurance Company Canada, was named one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc. in October 2008, which was announced by the Toronto Star newspaper.[5]


Broker dealer Swiss Re Capital Markets (SRCM), is a broker-dealer and underwriter and developer in the insurance-linked securities market. Since 1997 SRCM has underwritten over USD 15 billion of ILS including Insurance-Linked Bonds (ILBs) also known as Catastrophe Bonds (Cat Bonds) for third-party clients and its parent, Swiss Re.

Swiss Re Capital Markets has developed new security types such as earthquake bonds. Swiss Re Capital Markets also developed the parametric index trigger, the ILS shelf program, the first ILS synthetic CDO, and the first extreme mortality bond (linked to life risk).

Conning Asset Management does third party asset management and is headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut.

In 2006, Fox-Pitt, Kelton completed a management buyout backed by J.C. Flowers & Co. Swiss Re had acquired FPK, a finacial services focused investment banking boutique and brokerage in 1998 for $200 million.[6]

Social responsibility

Greenhouse neutrality

Until 2011, Swiss Re supports its employees by refunding them up to 5000 Swiss Francs if they invest into technologies reducing CO2 emissions. Payments depend on the technology, its efficiency and the price of the investment. Examples of such technologies comprise hybrid cars, heat pumps, energy-saving fridges, or better insulated windows (Swiss Re 2007).


Works cited



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