Security and stability have taken on greater significance over the past two years. They require financial and physical security, legal certainty and security of supply. The private insurance industry is a key pillar of the Swiss economy, with a business model that shields its customers from the financial impact of unforeseen events and bolsters financial security. The industry also considers itself bound by a duty to contribute to resolving socio-political issues. Swiss private insurers are committed to ensuring the successful and sustainable development of the areas in which they operate, both in business and in social and political terms.

Our overarching aim is to ensure that future generations enjoy the same conditions that we have now, if not better. That is why we have placed sustainability at the centre of the Swiss Insurance Association’s strategy. The Sustainability Report 2021 is the third edition of this publication. It sets out how the industry is living up to its corporate responsibility and how we are building on our earlier efforts to fulfil our promise to future generations. The report uses consolidated company-level data covering the majority of insurers operating in Switzerland. It explains why our industry is striving to be socially, financially and environmentally sustainable and details the actions that have been taken, their impact and further measures in the pipeline.

The insurance industry is ready and willing to help shape the debate around sustainability, and it has a range of tools at its disposal to do so. Firstly, its core business of taking on risks helps makes the economy more resilient. Having insurance means companies do not need to accumulate as much risk capital, giving them more funds to use to innovate. This means that Switzerland can employ cutting-edge solutions to drive down CO2 emissions and have an impact that exceeds what would be expected of a country of its size. Secondly, private insurers are key institutional investors, together managing assets of over CHF 545 billion, so they have it in their power to invest these funds in line with ESG criteria. Underwriting is another powerful lever. Our industry can perform an important advisory role for the real economy through its underwriting activities. It can also have a positive impact in its claims processing by opting for sustainable remedial solutions. Like all other industries, our sector is required to make our operations energy-efficient as part of efforts to mitigate our own corporate environmental impact.

Sustainability is not limited to environmental considerations, however. We also bear in mind social and financial sustainability in our work, to ensure that future generations can enjoy the same conditions we have today. As an industry we work for generational equity in pension provision, building on the established three-pillar system. Pension reforms are urgently needed if social sustainability is to be achieved in the near future. This same ethos informs our work in other areas too, such as advancing technology, shaping the world of work and promoting a focus on sustainability within financial policy.

With the war in Ukraine, rising inflation and major risks that include cyberattacks, power outages and earthquakes, our industry’s scope is getting broader, not narrower. Our member companies are ensuring that sustainability doesn’t slip down the agenda – we owe it to future generations to keep it front and centre.

Dr. Rolf Dörig, SIA Chairman
Urs Arbter, SIA CEO