Swiss Life grows its group life business and strengthens its balance sheet again
Swiss Life can look back on a successful 2019 for its group life business. Both full insurance and semi-autonomous solutions were in strong demand from SMEs and posted pleasing growth. The number of full insurance contracts increased by 6.2% over the previous year to 46 983. The creation of additional reserves totalling CHF 254 million again strengthened the balance sheet. Swiss Life thus guarantees the long-term financing of its value propositions to policyholders.
Swiss Life increased its key periodic premiums in group insurance to CHF 3661 million in the previous year (2018: CHF 3323 million). Total premiums rose from CHF 7797 million to CHF 11 540 million. The number of contracts increased markedly compared to the previous year by 6.2% to 46 983. This extraordinarily strong increase in premiums and contracts is mainly due to the withdrawal of a competitor from the full insurance business. Particularly worthy of mention in this regard is that administrative costs were reduced by 4.5% to CHF 211 million (2018: CHF 221 million) thanks to consistent efficiency-enhancing measures.
By achieving a dividend payout ratio of 94.8%, Swiss Life complied with legal requirements. Additional reserves increased by CHF 254 million. The bonus reserve was allocated CHF 148 million in 2019 (2018: CHF 245 million). The net investment yield was 2.16% (2018: 2.22%). “The market environment remains challenging. Nevertheless, thanks to an ongoing targeted and security-centred investment policy, we have managed to achieve an attractive net return on investment for occupational benefits insurance”, says Hans-Jakob Stahel, Head of Corporate Clients at Swiss Life Switzerland.
Swiss Life remains a full-range provider
Swiss Life is the only Swiss provider to offer its corporate clients a comprehensive range of occupational provisions products under a single brand. Swiss Life will continue to do so in the future. Hans-Jakob Stahel: “Demand from SMEs and large businesses remains high for security in occupational provisions. For this reason, Swiss Life remains committed as a market leader to freedom of choice in terms of occupational provisions. Our customers must decide in self-determination which occupational provisions solution is best for them.” The success of this full-range provider strategy is also shown by the significantly increased demand for semi-autonomous solutions: compared to the previous year, the share of new business in this segment increased to 20% in total of the entire group life business (2018: 14%). By the end of 2019, Swiss Life had a total of 5958 semi-autonomous affiliations, an increase of 39% over the previous year (31 December 2018: 4272 affiliations).
BVG 2022 reform must pass
There is no doubt as to the crucial and pressing need for action in reforming the 2nd pillar. In particular, Swiss Life expressly supports the reform proposed by the Federal Council to lower the minimum BVG conversion rate to 6.0 percent in one step and introduce a contribution to finance the pension conversion guarantee. “In our view, the BVG reform must aim to significantly reduce the redistribution from active insured persons to pensioners, while at the same time the pension level of those affected must be maintained”, says Hans-Jakob Stahel. That’s why adequate compensatory measures are needed for the affected transitional generation. On the other hand, the introduction of a pension supplement for all new pensioners, leading to unnecessary benefit expansion, would not be a targeted measure.
The BVG 2022 reform must now pass quickly. The Federal Council and parliament are responsible for giving top priority to the BVG 2022 reform and for approving a draft acceptable to the majority.
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The Swiss Life Group is one of Europe's leading comprehensive life and pensions and financial solutions providers. In its core markets of Switzerland, France and Germany, Swiss Life offers individuals and corporations comprehensive and individual advice plus a broad range of own and partner products through its sales force and distribution partners such as brokers and banks.
Swiss Life Select, Tecis, Horbach, Proventus, Fincentrum and Chase de Vere advisors choose suitable products for customers from the market according to the Best Select approach. Swiss Life Asset Managers offers institutional and private investors access to investment and asset management solutions. Swiss Life provides multinational corporations with employee benefits solutions and high net worth individuals with structured life and pensions products.
Swiss Life Holding Ltd, registered in Zurich, was founded in 1857 as Schweizerische Rentenanstalt. The shares of Swiss Life Holding Ltd are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (SLHN). The subsidiaries Livit, Corpus Sireo, Beos, Mayfair Capital and Fontavis are also part of the Swiss Life Group. The Group employs a workforce of around 9300 and has at its disposal a distribution network of some 14 000 advisors.
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