Compensation and benefits

Swiss Re is committed to a compensation system that is balanced and performance-oriented, and which aligns the interests of both shareholders and employees. Our compensation framework is designed to attract, motivate and retain the qualified talent the Group needs to succeed, while creating a tangible link between performance and pay. The aim is to provide compensation that is competitive in local labour markets, while ensuring that employees focus on delivering outstanding results considering our business strategy, targets, risk awareness and corporate values.

For most employees, total compensation comprises the base salary and the Annual Performance Incentive (API), which includes communication of the individual target incentive that influences the level of payout when business and individual performance objectives are achieved.

Swiss Re uses additional incentive programmes which reflect the longer-term nature of our business: Both the Value Alignment Incentive Plan (VAI), which is the deferred part of the API, and the Leadership Performance Plan (LPP) aim to reward sustained performance and long-term company success, rather than short-term results. This helps to align shareholder and employee interests more closely. The VAI applies for employees who have an API in excess of a defined threshold, and the LPP is awarded to our senior executives and select key employees.

We also encourage our employees to own Swiss Re shares by providing the Global Share Participation Plan (GSPP) and the Incentive Share Plan (for all employees who receive an API – such employee can elect to receive his or her API in form of shares at a discount under the Incentive Share Plan).

The balanced compensation package is generally complemented by competitive pension plans and other employee benefits. Such benefits include, for example, the Continuous Contribution Award, which recognises the loyalty, commitment and continuous contribution of our employees by offering them opportunities at defined milestones to enjoy additional, paid time off.

Health benefits and financial protection in case of ill-health are also an important part of our overall packages. We provide medical, life and disability insurance in excess of state provisions in many of our locations. Furthermore, we support employees in accumulating retirement benefits to supplement any state provisions.

In addition, the COyou2 Programme continues to offer our employees the opportunity to claim subsidies from the company for a range of emissions-cutting investments they want to make in their private lives.

At Swiss Re, we strive for a high performance culture in which our individual and team goals and behaviours – what we do and how we do it – are aligned to the Group’s business strategy and purpose. The what is assessed based on challenging targets and goals. For measuring the how, we use our Leadership and Personal Imperatives to ensure that all of our employees are behavioural role models for the next generation, creating an environment that inspires and engages others. Our imperatives put our values and brand promise into action and are critical to our performance and future success.

The overall performance assessment is then aligned to variable reward outcomes to reflect achievement and contribution, and to reinforce a pay-for-performance linkage.

In addition to our publicly available 2014 Compensation Report, employees also have online access to the Swiss Re Group Compensation Policy as well as deferred compensation plan rules and other compensation and benefits-related information on our intranet. Additionally, employees receive an annual Swiss Re Compensation Statement.

Dialogue and feedback are important aspects of our performance management cycle. In 2014, close to 100% of the Group’s employees completed year-end performance reviews.

Further information on Swiss Re’s approach to compensation and benefits can be found in our 2014 Financial Report.