Our commitments

... to the United Nations

Many of our efforts to expand insurance protection cover losses from natural catastrophes and weather volatility, such as tropical cyclones, drought or excessive rainfall. As climate change is predicted to increase these losses, such transactions also help communities strengthen their climate resilience. Furthermore, we have found that partnering with public-sector clients, especially national and regional governments, is an effective way to develop solutions.


(USD 10.0 billion by 2019)

Total amount of climate protection offered to sovereigns and sub-sovereigns since 2014

Building on these experiences, we made a significant commitment to the United Nations at its Climate Summit in September 2014. Personally addressing the government leaders present at the summit, our then Group CEO Michel M. Liès made the following pledge: “By the year 2020, Swiss Re commits to having advised 50 sovereigns and sub-sovereigns on climate risk resilience and to have offered them USD 10 billion against this risk”.

We are proud to have met this target as early as 2019, one year ahead of schedule (see table below). As of the end of the commitment period in 2020, we had advised 130 sovereigns and sub-sovereigns on climate risk resilience and offered a total of USD 10.7 billion in re/insurance protection. We thus exceeded our pledge by USD 0.7 billion and 80 (sub-)sovereigns advised. With this success, we conclude this commitment.

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


By 2018

By 2019

By 2020

Number of (sub-)sovereigns advised




Amount of climate protection offered (in USD)

8.2 billion

10.0 billion

10.7 billion

... working together with the Insurance Development Forum

To increase insurance protection in climate-exposed countries, the Insurance Development Forum (IDF) and the UN Development Programme, along with the government of Germany, entered into a Tripartite Agreement in which they jointly announced a series of coordinated commitments in 2019. At the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019, industry members collectively committed to offer up to USD 5 billion of risk capacity for climate risk insurance to contribute to the G7 InsuResilience target of protecting 500 million individuals by 2025 against climate risk. As a member of the IDF, Swiss Re has endorsed this commitment together with a number of peer companies.

The commitment aims to accelerate the implementation of risk management and risk financing solutions as a means to strengthen adaptation measures and the resilience to climate risks in exposed countries. In 2020, the Tripartite formed 13 country teams, with three more in the exploration phase. Swiss Re contributed to the projects alongside ten other industry members.

The IDF is a public-private partnership (PPP) led by the insurance industry and is supported by international organisations. It aims to optimise and extend the use of insurance and its related risk management capabilities to build greater resilience and protection for people, communities, businesses, and public institutions that are vulnerable to disasters and their associated economic shocks.

… with Women’s World Banking

Manal Sayed Ahmed – working in her embroidery business in Egypt (photo)

Women’s World Banking customers Manal Sayed Ahmed runs her own embroidery business in Egypt.

Since 2018, Swiss Re has partnered with Women’s World Banking to provide low-income women in Egypt with an affordable microinsurance solution that protects them against the loss of income in the case of illness or childbirth.

The programme originally aimed to reach two million customers in Egypt and beyond by the end of 2020. While there have been many achievements to date, such as the extension of coverage to include the women’s immediate family members, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic created a number of logistical and practical challenges that hampered the expansion of the programme during the year.

296 000

Customers and their family members benefitting from insurance cover by the end of 2020

But where there are challenges, there are opportunities. The past year has also offered important lessons, prompting Women’s World Banking to make adjustments to the design and distribution of the microinsurance solution in Egypt and elsewhere in order to better serve its beneficiaries.

A total of 95% of microinsurance customers work in the informal sector. As communities went into lockdown, many of these customers lost their income, forcing them to prioritise basic needs and household expenses over paying their microinsurance premiums. To support its customers, Women’s World Banking has worked with its local microinsurance partners to allow customers to pay their premiums in arrears, ensuring they can maintain their health coverage in times of financial difficulty.

One unexpected outcome of the pandemic was a drop in claims, rather than an increase. As the pandemic raged on, overwhelmed hospitals limited non-COVID-19 admissions, some customers were unable to reach hospitals due to a lack of transportation options during lockdown, and others avoided hospital visits out of fear of becoming infected. In response, Women’s World Banking has been encouraging its local partners to waive premiums or offer coverage for home births, for example.

Microinsurance providers on the ground also had to cope with the practical challenges surrounding local COVID-related restrictions as their own employees went into lockdown. To ensure that customers’ claims are processed quickly and efficiently in times of financial need, Women’s World Banking is working with its local partners to offer digital filing solutions.

As microfinance and microlending institutions, the local partners themselves also suffered the financial impacts of the pandemic as their own customers struggled to repay their loans. In turn, they focused their efforts on safeguarding their core business needs rather than expanding the microinsurance arm of their business, limiting the programme’s ability to provide health coverage to more customers.

Despite these challenges, around 296 000 customers and their family members benefitted from insurance cover by the end of 2020. Swiss Re remains committed to reducing the protection gap by providing affordable health and life insurance to low-income individuals. As the lead reinsurer of the Women’s World Banking microinsurance programme in Egypt, we will continue to support its expansion across Egypt as well as its potential replication in other countries in Africa and Asia. Although the rate of this expansion will largely depend on how the COVID-19 pandemic evolves over the next few months and years, we are confident that we can reach two million beneficiaries by 2023.