150 years of managing risks

Since 1863, together with our clients and partners, we’ve been learning and gathering the knowledge and expertise needed to manage diverse portfolios of risks all over the world.


Swiss Re is founded in Zurich, prompted by the fire that had swept through the thriving town of Glarus in May 1861. The fire highlighted the threat to the Swiss insurance system posed by catastrophic losses.


The San Francisco earthquake strikes, and Swiss Re steps in. Almost half of the company’s annual non-life premium income goes toward claims from the catastrophe, demonstrating its capital strength and consolidating its reputation worldwide.


Swiss Re opens an office in New York.


Swiss Re signs its first contract in Japan: a fire reinsurance contract with Kobe Marine Transport & Fire Insurance (Kobe Kaijo Unso Kasai Hoken Kabushiki Kaisha).


Swiss Re pays out circa CHF 1 million for claims arising from the Spanish flu.


The Marine department of Swiss Re organises sea voyages on behalf of the Red Cross during the Second World War and enables prisoners of war throughout the world to receive Red Cross supplies.


Swiss Re establishes the Swiss Insurance Training Centre (SITC). The SITC provided courses in technical areas of insurance, particularly for insurers from emerging markets.


Swiss Re’s economic research team publishes the first edition of sigma, a flagship expertise publication featuring original data and analysis of re/insurance markets. sigma has been in continuous publication ever since, available online since 1996.


Swiss Re begins issuing insurance-linked securities (ILS), an innovative market in which it remains a market leader.


Swiss Re becomes one of the first companies to appoint a Chief Risk Officer.


Swiss Re opens new London headquarters. Designed by architect Norman Foster, the 41-storey building was one of the first ecological skyscrapers, setting the benchmark for a new generation of tall buildings. The iconic building is soon to be known as “the Gherkin”.


Swiss Re celebrates its 150th anniversary by connecting generations around the theme of risk.