insurance france | Swiss Life posted a segment result of CHF 40 million in France. The sale of ERISA and ERISA IARD in July 2007 renders a year-on-year comparison difficult. On a comparable basis, the segment result for 2007 amounted to CHF 187 million. The decline was largely caused by the lower financial result – down 93% at CHF 57 million in 2008.

Premium income in the French life insurance market slid 11%. In health insurance, premium volume rose by 5%. Overall, Swiss Life generated premium income of CHF 5763 million. On a comparable basis, Swiss Life grew premium income by 4% (8% in local currency), whereby life insurance was up 7% (11% in local currency) and health insurance gained 2% (5% in local currency). Premium volume at Swiss Life outperformed the market due to the strength of its multichannel distribution and the attractive range of products.

Insurance benefits were up 20% at CHF 2804 million on the back of the higher premium volume. Policyholder participation generated income as a result of large differences between the local, statutory valuation guidelines and IFRS valuation guidelines. Although personnel expenses were down, operating costs rose 12% on a comparable basis. This increase is due in particular to higher expenses for commissions as a result of the growth and costs associated with the expansion of distribution. In addition to acquiring the internet broker Placement Direct, the company intensified relationships with independent financial consultants in particular, and bought a stake in Financière du Capitole, an independent asset management company.

On 1 July 2008, Charles Relecom, formerly CEO of Swiss Life in Belgium, took over as CEO France from Jacques Richier, who has assumed a new challenge outside the Swiss Life Group.

Key figures for Insurance France 
In CHF million20082007+/–
Gross written premiums, policy fees and deposits received5 7637 411–22.2%
Net earned premiums and policy fees3 6183 4016.4%
Asset management and other commission income664643.5%
Financial result (without share of results of associates)571 326–95.7%
Other income16155–89.7%
Total income3 7574 928–23.8%
Net insurance benefits and claims–2 804–2 37218.2%
Policyholder participation472–777n.a.
Interest expense–219–287–23.7%
Operating expense–1 166–1 168–0.2%
Total expense–3 717–4 604–19.3%
Segment result40324–87.7%
Assets under control25 39924 0715.5%
Insurance reserves20 71623 657–12.4%
Number of employees (full-time equivalents)2 1342 191–2.6%