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Swiss Re 

“Market Cap $34.7 B As of May 2014

At a Glance
  • Industry: Diversified Insurance
  • Founded: 1863
  • Country: Switzerland
  • CEO: Michael Lies
  • Website: www.swissre.com
  • Employees: 11,574
  • Sales: $36.84 B
  • Headquarters: Zurich
Forbes Lists

#132 Global 2000

  • #247 in Sales
  • #135 in Profit
  • #136 in Assets
  • #296 in Market value
Profile

Swiss Re AG engages in the provision of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer. It operates through the following segments: Property and Casualty Reinsurance, Life and Health Reinsurance, Corporate Solutions, and Admin Re. The Property and Casualty segment comprises of the business lines property, casualty including motor, and specialty. The Life and Health segment includes life and health sub-segments. The Corporate Solutions segment offers innovative insurance capacity to mid-sized and large multinational corporations across the globe. The Admin Re segment acquires closed blocks of in-force life and health insurance business, either through reinsurance or corporate acquisition, and typically assumes responsibility for administering the underlying policies. The company was founded on December 19, 1863 and is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.

“Swiss Re History

The Swiss Reinsurance Company of Zurich was founded on 19 December 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.

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. Like the fire of Hamburg in 1842 (which led to the foundation of the first professional reinsurers in Germany,), 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.

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.

In the late 1930s Swiss banker Ulrich Neukom effectively ‘took’ Swiss Re over to Beijing, China, where he introduced Asian companies to Swiss Re and allowed them to use the services which Swiss Re had to offer. However, Swiss Re were not officially present in China until the 1990s; the headquarters for China in Wanchai, Hong Kong, opened in 2003.

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

On 31 October 2008, Swiss Re completed a £762 million acquisition of Barclays PLC’s subsidiary Barclays Life Assurance Company Ltd.

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

In June 2014, the company through Admin Re acquired the UK pensions business of HSBC Life (UK) Limited worth £4.2 billion.”

*Information from Forbes.com and Wikipedia.org

**Video published on YouTube by “Swiss Re