Beyond ”insurance for insurers”

Reinsurance’s core function is to act as an ”insurer for insurers”. However, this is only part of the value for clients. Swiss Re’s Reinsurance Business Unit has two further strategic pillars that complement the traditional risk transfer business.

The first pillar, ”Transactions”, provides tailored reinsurance transactions to solve a client’s specific strategic need. The ”Solutions” pillar provides clients with access to new technologies, products and ideas to grow their business or improve profitability. Together, these two additional pillars open up important new business opportunities for Swiss Re.

Tailored transactions

Tailored reinsurance covers are designed to transfer risk in a way that helps a client realise a specific strategic goal. Although tailored reinsurance covers can be complex, they can make all the difference for the underlying financial goals of the client.

Firstly, a client may have a very specialised type of business that requires equally specialised protection. For example, in 2021, Swiss Re structured a longevity deal for an insurer covering the annual pension payments for a large UK manufacturer. This specialised reinsurance agreement covers the insurer against the risk that people invested in the pension fund live longer than what is budgeted for.

Another reason to use a tailored risk transfer arrangement is to unlock statutory capital. In 2021, Swiss Re worked with a US life insurer to develop a strategic, tailored reinsurance agreement covering term life insurance policies issued over the past 12 years. This reserve transaction unlocked USD 1 billion of statutory capital for the client.

Tailored reinsurance covers helped several clients in 2021 in the wake of man-made disasters and natural catastrophes, where Swiss Re’s expertise can ensure the long-term stability of the client’s capital adequacy following large payouts.

Swiss Re also helps clients with so-called “long-tail business”, for example, where a casualty insurer has built up a portfolio covering claims decades into the past. This type of insurance business can be capital intensive to maintain and requires significant operational resources. Swiss Re’s tailored reinsurance helps clients to better structure their legacy portfolios and make the best possible use of their capital and operations.

Swiss Re’s Reinsurance Business Unit completed a record number of tailored reinsurance covers in 2021. By providing this highly specialised expertise, and sharing in the risk, tailored transactions give Swiss Re a significant market advantage.

“Solutions”: Technology and expertise

Reinsurance is a great source of technological know-how for insurers. For example, Swiss Re is transforming the life insurance business through its automated underwriting solutions. Its suite of automated underwriting tools creates a much more streamlined onboarding process for life insurance customers. This can cut costs for insurers by reducing their workload. It can also grow their business by making life insurance more accessible for new customers.

L&H Re underwriting solutions

Swiss Re’s clients can benefit from access to the leading underwriting tools in the business. These tools help insurers more accurately understand risks and improve the onboarding process for customers.

Life Guide


Smart Access

Our strategy in action
Discover how Swiss Re advanced its business in 2021 by focusing on three strategic pillars: risk transfer, risk insights and risk partnerships.