(GRI 102-14)

Dear readers,

This is now the second editions of our industry-wide sustainability report. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has naturally pushed a whole number of issues into the background over the past year, including that of our society’s sustainable development. However, it is true to say that sustainability remains a key issue for people – and will move back into the spotlight in the future. 

The discussions surrounding ‘sustainable development’ are of concern to people as individuals, as well as to policymakers, investors and regulators across the globe. And Switzerland is no exception, as this year’s vote by the Swiss electorate on the amendment to the CO2 Act shows. The legislator and the supervisory authority are also focusing increasingly on sustainability issues with the required transparency on climate-related risks on the books of financial market institutions and the mounting reporting obligations. 

There are many reasons why the insurance industry is uniquely able to help shape this process of sustainable development. One relates to our core mission as insurers: our job is to cover risks for people and companies that arise not least from the fact that ‘sustainability’ is not implemented across the board, be it in the area of property insurance, health, mortality and longevity, financial provision, cyber risks or natural catastrophes. So it has always been one of our key responsibilities to recognise risks, reflect them in our models and thus make them manageable. In terms of investment policy, too, due to the long investment horizon of the premiums, insurance companies have a vested interest in ensuring that their investments are attractive over the long term, i.e. sustainable, and that opportunities arise to enter new business fields. 

Our association strategy for 2020-2024 pursues six strategic approaches – three of which are directly related to sustainability issues: as well as firmly establishing sustainability and enabling innovation, these are the design of future occupation profiles and the world of work, and the further development of pension provision. 

This Sustainability Report of the Swiss Insurance Association (SIA) (GRI 102-1, GRI 102-5) showcases the vast range of activities through which private insurers contribute to society’s sustainable development. Despite the diverse spectrum of measures taken by our member companies, the common denominator is important: all approaches to sustainability must be holistic. This includes economic well-being, a society based on solidarity and, last but not least, securing Switzerland’s exemplary education and employment standards. 

Furthermore, as the Swiss insurance industry, we want to actively participate in finding specific solutions to the climate issue. As an association, we are committed to ensuring that the term ‘sustainability’ is not used to put ineffective or counterproductive regulations for Switzerland as a business centre in place. After all, a weakened business location ultimately harms our economy’s competitiveness in the global market, which in turn is detrimental to our prosperity and our environment. 

The contribution made by the Swiss insurance industry to sustainable development in a comprehensive sense is highly relevant. Worldwide, the gaps in risk coverage and thus also the impending economic costs are growing by the day. Support of our clients in closure of these gaps has a stabilising impact on economic activity and is an important contribution to sustainable development worldwide. We are proud of this contribution – and we want to continue to make it. 

Rolf Dörig, SIA chairman    

Thomas Helbling, SIA CEO