Annual expected losses (AEL)

AEL for weather-related natural perils can be used as an indicator for our average current climate-related risk exposure. However, AEL figures do not, by definition, provide an adequate measure for the potential risk of individual years with intense natural catastrophe losses like in eg 2019, 2018 and 2017 (below table indicates our risk exposures to four major natural catastrophe scenarios, ie single-event losses with a 200-year return period). The AEL figures are the result of expected weather activities, the vulnerability of insured objects, their values and the volume and structure of our insurance products. Changes in the AEL figures will show the evolution of our climate risk exposure. This could be due to climate change, but also due to changes in the vulnerability of insured objects, their values or changes in our business strategy. AEL figures are updated on an annual basis.

The four weather-related perils with the highest gross AEL for our business as per the end of 2019 are indicated in the table below.

Weather-related catastrophes: insured vs uninsured losses

There is a substantial protection gap between total economic losses from weather-related catastrophes and insured losses in all regions. This data does not represent a company-specific metric but is an important overall risk indicator (see graph below).

Insured vs uninsured weather-related catastrophe losses, per region

in USD bn, at 2019 prices

Insured vs uninsured weather-related catastrophe losses, per region (bar chart)

Source: Swiss Re Institute

Climate protection offered to (sub-)sovereigns

In 2019, cover against natural catastrophes accounted for approximately 15% of premiums in our P&C Reinsurance business. As we regularly update our risk models to reflect any changes in the underlying parameters and renew contracts annually, we are in a position to offer our clients re/insurance protection against current climate-related risks.

Reflecting our efforts to help expand re/insurance protection by working with public-sector clients, we made a commitment to the United Nations to advise up to 50 sovereigns and sub-sovereigns on climate risk resilience and to offer them USD 10 billion of insurance cover against this risk by 2020. You can see the progress we have made against this goal in the table below. We also made a commitment to the Insurance Development Forum (IDF), in line with the InsuResilience Vision 2025 goals. This includes delivering climate and other natural hazards risk modelling, developing risk transfer solutions as well as offering capacity for climate risk insurance to increase insurance protection for selected climate-exposed countries.

Total climate protection offered to (sub-)sovereigns since 2014


by 2017

by 2018

by 2019

Number of (sub-)sovereigns advised




Amount of climate protection offered (in USD)

5.3 billion

8.2 billion

10.0 billion

Aligning our carbon intensity

We have recently started to develop a carbon business steering mechanism. The introduction of our coal policy formed the first part of this. Additionally, in 2019, we began to work on a carbon footprint methodology, which was also conducted through the CRO Forum. Once finished, this will help us steer the overall carbon footprint embedded in our re/insurance businesses. Ultimately, it will support us in decarbonising our business model and in reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 on the liability side of our balance sheet, a goal that we committed to in 2019 by signing the UN Global Compact Business Ambition for 1.5°C, building on our earlier Paris Pledge for Action.

In 2019, we also took another important step in our carbon steering mechanism and developed a policy to shift away from high carbon intensity oil and gas production.

From July 2021, we will no longer provide individual insurance covers for those oil and gas companies that are responsible for the world’s 5% most carbon-intensive oil and gas production.

From July 2023, we will no longer provide individual insurance cover for those oil and gas companies that are responsible for the world’s 10% most carbon intensive oil and gas production.