Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Re­port 2023

SIA Reports

The SIA has reported on the sector’s sustainability performance annually since 2020. This report relates to the activities of the SIA and the insurance industry in 2023. The current edition is available exclusively online:

The mission of any insurer is to create security for companies and private individuals by offering their customers financial protection in the event of a claim, giving them greater freedom to shape the course of their daily lives. However, by virtue of the social importance of its business model and its economic strength, the industry also sees itself as having a responsibility to promote sustainable development at its locations and contribute to solving socio-political issues.

A holistic view of sustainability

Last year brought more claims than an average year for the insurance industry. In particular, the devastating storm in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the hail event in Ticino, with estimated losses of about CHF 300 million, the rockslide in Brienz, which kept Switzerland on tenterhooks for weeks, and the landslide in Schwanden placed heavy demands on the insurance industry and other players involved. Natural hazard events such as these have a direct impact on the insurance business, which is why it is in insurers' own interests to work towards a sustainable future. But it is not just ecological sustainability that is important to the industry. It is also committed to economic and social sustainability.

Based on this comprehensive understanding, the Swiss Insurance Association SIA is guided by five principles in its lobbying work. These state, inter alia, that economic performance, ecological responsibility and social justice are mutually dependent and that innovation is an important lever in sustainable development. In addition to these guiding principles, a suitable framework is required if the insurance industry, as a partner to the real economy, is to be able to support the transition to a sustainable economy efficiently and effectively.

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At a glance: Key sustainability figures of the insurance industry 2022

Connection of sustainability and business models

In our fifth report on the various sustainability activities in our industry, we showcase how Swiss insurers are driving the process of transformation towards sustainability. With its risk management, underwriting and investments, the insurance industry has the leverage to contribute to greater sustainability. Although the industry’s environmental footprint might be small compared with other sectors of the economy, a sustainable mobility strategy helps to further reduce it. 

Sustainability in the insurance industry also means that the sector is committed to its approximately 50,000 employees in Switzerland, making them ‘fit’ for the
future and further developing the training programme. And because our products and advisory services allow us to play a socio-political role, a viable healthcare system and sustainable retirement provision are also important to us.

New survey on sustainability governance

In the reporting year, information on sustainability governance was also collected for the first time as part of a survey of our member companies, which include about 70 primary insurers and reinsurers with national and international operations. This revealed that two-thirds of the insurers surveyed already have a sustainability strategy in place. Another section presents the results of a study conducted by ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences on how customers see private insurers’ sustainability activities.

The Swiss insurance sector’s 2023 Sustainability Report does not claim to be exhaustive. Nevertheless, it uses the figures available to indicate where the industry stands today and its ambitions, not least because of its importance for the Swiss economy and society at large. 

One thing is clear to us: Economic growth and ideal overall conditions for innovation are among the prerequisites for sustainable development. This requires dialogue within the industry, as well as with the legislature and other interest groups. Together with all stakeholders, the insurance industry can develop insurance and financing solutions that provide specific support to companies in achieving their goals as they transition to greater sustainability – and that also provide straightforward support to private individuals when they need it: Such as the emergencies in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Ticino, Brienz and Schwanden, which dominated media reports for days and weeks in 2023. 


All the SIA sustainability reports are available here.