Note 21 Risk assessment
The Board of Directors is ultimately responsible for the Group’s governance principles and policies, including the Group Risk Policy, which establishes both the guiding principles of risk management as well as the overall risk tolerance of the Group.
The Board mainly deals with risk management through two committees:
- The Finance and Risk Committee is responsible for reviewing the Group Risk Policy and capacity limits, as well as for monitoring risk tolerance and reviewing top risk issues and exposures.
- The Audit Committee is responsible for overseeing internal controls and compliance procedures.
The Group Executive Committee (Group EC) implements the risk management framework via the following sub-committees:
- The Group Risk and Capital Committee has responsibility for allocating capital and insurance risk capacity, approving investment and counterparty credit risk limits, and determining changes to the internal risk and capital methodology.
- The Group Asset-Liability Committee oversees the management of Swiss Re’s balance sheet, in particular its liquidity, capital and funding positions and related policies.
- The Group Products and Limits Committee determines Swiss Re’s product policy and underwriting standards, sets transaction limits, and decides on large or non-standard transactions.
- The Group Regulatory Committee is the central information and coordination platform for regulatory matters and compliance. It ensures a consistent approach to external communication on regulatory issues.
The Group Chief Risk Officer, who is a member of the Group EC, reports directly to the Group CEO as well as to the Board of Directors’ Finance and Risk Committee. The Group Chief Risk Officer is a member of the four Group EC committees, serving as the chairman of both the Group Risk and Capital Committee and the Group Regulatory Committee. In addition, the Group Chief Risk Officer leads the Group’s Risk Management function, which is responsible for risk oversight and control across the Group.
The Group Risk Management function is structured with global departments providing shared services such as Risk Reporting, as well as dedicated departments for the Reinsurance, Corporate Solutions and Admin Re® Business Units.
All of these departments have dedicated Chief Risk Officers who report directly to the Group CRO, with a secondary reporting line to their respective Business Unit CEOs. They are responsible for risk oversight in their respective Business Unit, including identifying, assessing and controlling risks as well as establishing the proper risk governance to assure proper execution of these activities.
For Swiss Re’s major legal entities, the Business Unit CROs are supported by designated legal entity CROs who are responsible for overseeing specific risk management issues that arise at the legal entity level.
The global departments support both the Group CRO and the Business Unit CROs in discharging their oversight responsibilities. They do so by providing specialised risk category expertise and accumulation control, risk modelling and reporting services, regulatory relations management and central risk governance framework development. In addition, the global departments lead the oversight of Group liquidity and capital adequacy and support the establishment of the Group frameworks for controlling these risks throughout the Group.
Actuarial management is also an integral part of Risk Management, ensuring independent assessments of reserving adequacy.
Senior managers of business and corporate units are responsible for managing operational risks in their areas of activity, based on a centrally coordinated methodology. Their self-assessments are reviewed and challenged by operational risk specialists in partnership with the dedicated risk management units. Risk management experts also review Swiss Re’s underwriting decision processes.
The Group’s risk management activities are also integrally supported by Group Internal Audit and Compliance. The Group Internal Audit department carries out independent, objective assessments of the adequacy and effectiveness of internal control systems. It evaluates the execution of processes within Swiss Re, including those within Risk Management.
The Compliance function is principally responsible for overseeing Swiss Re’s compliance with applicable laws, regulations, rules, and the Code of Conduct, as well as managing compliance risk. It serves to assist the Board of Directors, the Group EC and management in discharging their respective duties to effectively identify, mitigate and manage compliance risks.