17 Related parties

The Group defines the following as related parties to the Group: subsidiaries of Swiss Re Ltd, entities in which the Group has significant influence, pension plans, members of the Board of Directors (BoD) and the Group Executive Committee (EC) and their close family members, and entities which are directly and indirectly controlled by members of governing bodies of the Group and their close family members.

As part of the consolidation process, transactions between Swiss Re Ltd and subsidiaries are eliminated in consolidation and are not disclosed in the notes.

As of 31 December 2015 and 2016, the Group’s investment in mortgages and other loans included USD 287 million and USD 292 million, respectively, of loans due from employees, and USD 196 million and USD 184 million, respectively, due from officers. These loans generally consist of mortgages offered at variable and fixed interest rates.

Contributions made to defined benefit pension plans and post-retirement benefit plans are disclosed in Note 14 Benefit plans. Plan assets of the defined benefit pension plans include Swiss Re common stock of USD 6 million (0.1% of total plan assets) and USD 7 million (0.1% of total plan assets) as of 31 December 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Share ownership and loans extended to members of BoD and Group EC are disclosed in Note 16 Compensation, participations and loans of members of governing bodies. The total number of shares, options and related instruments held by members of the BoD and the Group EC and persons closely related to, amounts to less than 1% of the shares issued by Swiss Re Ltd. None of the members of BoD and the Group EC has any significant business connection with Swiss Re Ltd or any of its Group companies. The Group BoD member Susan L. Wagner is also board member of BlackRock, Inc. BlackRock, Inc is acting as external asset manager for the Group.

Share in earnings and dividends received from equity-accounted investees for the years ended 31 December, were as follows: