Swiss Life wants to assume responsibility beyond the scope of its business operations. That includes a topic that affects everyone in Swiss Life’s core markets: Demographic development. People are living ever longer and want to maintain their self-determination and dignity as they grow old. Today most Europeans can expect to live over 80 years and some studies indicate the life expectancy of newborns today will even reach 100. By comparison: In 1900 people lived to about 45 on average. This development has far-reaching consequences.
Self-determination and pension provision are an opportunity for Swiss Life, as a co-founder of private pension provision in Switzerland, given demographic trends, to improve its solutions and products and add customer value in a growing pensions market by providing high-quality, targeted advice. Politicians and society are being called on to bring about changes that take the many consequences of rising life expectancy into account. Swiss Life set the ball rolling in Switzerland at the start of 2015 by launching the “Look after yourself” image campaign; in 2016, the “longer self-determined life” campaign will be rolled out across the Swiss Life Group. The company wants to engage in public discussion to raise cross-generational awareness around the subject of the social and economic consequences of ageing.
You can find further information on a “longer self-determined life” from 29 March 2016 at www.swisslife.com.
Swiss Life’s operational environment is heavily influenced by political and regulatory decisions. For example, legal principles and their practical application in the form of ordinances have a direct effect on product design, processes and the manner of reporting to shareholders, supervisory authorities and the public.
That is why Swiss Life needs to know what topics are being discussed in political circles, so it can better understand the opinions, expectations and perceptions of political groups. It is also important to gauge how the enactment or amendment of legal principles could affect Swiss Life’s business. Swiss Life is committed to promoting a competitive business location and appropriate regulation density in all its core markets.
The company is also in direct contact with representatives of political committees and organisations as well as supervisory authorities on a number of levels. Political work and cooperation are closely coordinated with business associations in all the core markets. Moreover, a number of company executives are members of various national business associations: For example, Patrick Frost, Group CEO of Swiss Life, is on the Board of the economic umbrella organisation economiesuisse, while Ivo Furrer, CEO of Swiss Life Switzerland, is on the Managing Board of the Swiss Insurance Association (SIA) where he is also Chairman of the Board Committee.
Swiss Life also fosters relationships with politicians and industry groupings in France and Germany as part of its socio-political responsibility. Swiss Life Germany is represented on all the major committees of the German Insurance Association (GDV) and maintains regular contact with the Bundesverband der Verischerungskaufleute (BVK, a German association for self-employed insurance brokers) and the Verband unabhängiger Finanzdienstleistungs-Unternehmen in Europa (Votum, an association representing the interests of financial service providers operating throughout Europe).
Charles Relecom, CEO of Swiss Life France, is a member of the Board of Directors of the French Insurance Association (FFSA); Nils Frowein, CEO of Swiss Life International, sits on the Board of the German Chamber of Commerce; and there are also other examples of Swiss Life representatives being members of committees relevant to the company’s business.
Furthermore, Swiss Life cultivates direct contact with members of parliament at a regional and national level. In its dealings with politicians it is guided by the rules of the Swiss Life Group Code of Conduct, as specified in the internal directive “Code of Conduct”. These rules decree, for example, that donations in the home market of Switzerland to political parties are to be free of any obligation.
In Switzerland, parties of the political centre-right and individual politicians receive financial support mainly for their election campaigns. The total amount of support provided during the year under review was CHF 400 000. No donations are provided in Germany or France.
Swiss Life is committed to the militia principle in Switzerland and it encourages its employees to exercise public and political mandates. As a company operating in the social insurance sector, Swiss Life has an interest in promoting a fully functional and integrated society. This led Swiss Life to join an initiative launched by economiesuisse and the Swiss Employer’s Association in June 2015 designed to strengthen the militia system.
The Public Affairs organisational unit is responsible for monitoring political challenges. In addition, the Political Communications Steering Committee meets four times a year. This internal committee is chaired by the Group CEO and sets the topical priorities.
Swiss Life has been supporting a host of charitable projects for many years. The emphasis here is on projects and initiatives compatible with confidence and self-determination.
The “Perspectives Foundation”, founded in 2005, has a leading role in the Swiss home market. It promotes charitable initiatives in the areas of health, science, education, culture and sport, donating between CHF 1.3 and 1.5 million every year to social and charitable projects in Switzerland.
Swiss Life is also a co-founder of the Swiss Climate Foundation, which promotes improved energy efficiency and innovative climate protection solutions and supports small and mediumsized enterprises engaged in climate protection initiatives.
In France, Swiss Life gives support to the Fondation Swiss Life, which was founded in 2009 and works with charitable healthcare institutions, such as the Institut Curie or Association France Alzheimer.
Swiss Life Germany has been a contributor to the Nicolaidis Foundation since 2007, a non-profit organisation for widows, widowers and their children.
Swiss Life Select, with locations in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic, has been helping children in need since 1991 through its charity known as “Foundation Confidence for Children”.
Swiss Life has been an active supporter of film-making in Switzerland for many years. The films usually centre around people and their stories – just as Swiss Life does. For example, Swiss Life is committed to the Solothurner Filmtage, the Festival del Film in Locarno and the Zurich Film Festival.
The Fondation Swiss Life in France supports cultural initiatives in France through its “Art en partage” initiative. The project focuses mainly on events for people whose daily lives make it difficult to obtain access to culture. For example, the foundation finances concerts and art exhibitions for the benefit of people in nursing homes, sick children or patients with dementia.
In Switzerland, Swiss Life has sponsored the Swiss Football Association for over ten years; it is also a partner of Swiss Orienteering and of schweiz.bewegt, the biggest personal mobility and nutrition project in Switzerland.
Swiss Life in Germany has also been committed to regional grass-roots and disabled sporting activities for several years.