SOCIETY

Swiss Life has been providing pension services for over 150 years, and with its two million plus customers in Switzerland and the rest of Europe, it stands at the centre of public life. This traditional Swiss company is aware of its social responsibility. It supports community life in a variety of ways and works towards constant improvement of its ecological balance sheet.

SOCIAL ENGAGEMENTCaring support for people in need — All Swiss Life’s national companies and their employees support people in need and a range of meaningful projects. In Switzerland the Perspectives Foundation funds domestic charitable initiatives in the fields of health, science, education, culture and sport, focusing on integration and education. Created on the occasion of Swiss Life’s 150th anniversary in 2005, the Perspectives Foundation donates more than CHF 1 million every year. In 2010 it supported 85 projects. The Foundation also donated considerable sums to relief organisations offering emergency aid following the earthquake in Haiti and the floods in Pakistan. In addition, Swiss Life’s sales force supported various local organisations. The real estate sector of Swiss Life is also socially active, building a hostel in Winterthur that provides reasonably priced accommodation for 105 students.

Swiss Life in France has had its own foundation, the Fondation Swiss Life, since 2009. In 2010, this foundation supported the Institut Curie (a cancer research institute and hospital) and the Association France Alzheimer (providing training for Alzheimer patients). The Fondation Swiss Life provided funding for concerts and art exhibi- tions for people in nursing homes, sick children and patients with dementia. It also supported four charitable projects, run by Swiss Life employees, for disabled children and children with leukaemia.

In Germany, Swiss Life has been providing support since 2007 for the Nicolaidis Foundation, a non-profit organisation for widows, widowers and their children.

Likewise in Germany, AWD has been helping children in need since it created the AWD-Stiftung Kinderhilfe foundation in 1991, which the local AWD companies in Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic also support. The foundation is funded mainly by contributions from the salaries of AWD employees. It runs two large-scale operational projects of its own. The Noma project run by the AWD-Kinderstiftung in Sokoto in West Africa is devoted to the surgical rehabilitation of victims of a disease caused by a mixed infection which results in severe facial disfigurement. In Bischkek in Kyrgyzstan, the Swiss AWD-Kinderstiftung is building a treatment centre for children with facial malformations (like cleft lip and palate); EUR 100 000 was donated for this purpose in 2010 alone. Altogether, AWD employees donated EUR 122 000 in 2010 to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti and the floods in Pakistan.

COMMUNITY SERVICE — Full support for voluntary work — Swiss Life is committed to the principle of voluntary public service. For Swiss Life, as a company operating in the social insurance area, it is important that society should function smoothly and its members should be well integrated. Voluntary public service means taking personal action in matters of public life, in effect unpaid work for the whole community. An unpaid commitment in society and the private economy promotes a sense of community and public welfare, and it enhances social skills.

Swiss Life is convinced that raising the social competence of individual employees increases the competitiveness of the company. So employees who are active in a military capacity or in public service are acting in the interests of the company, and Swiss Life is strongly in favour of their commitment to the community. The staff regulations expressly approve the engagement of employees in political and military functions. The company offers all reasonable support for such engagement, for example through a flexible approach to working hours.

At present about 40 employees are voluntarily active in Switzerland in a political or judiciary function, holding executive, legislative, or judiciary office at commune or cantonal level, on school boards, church councils and welfare authorities. Other employees sit on the central committees of political parties within their communes or cantons. These office-holders cover the whole gamut of political parties, and about a third of them belong to no party. Every year Swiss Life organises an event for its socially engaged employees. The theme in 2010 was the changes occurring in the Swiss political party landscape.

POLITICS — Swiss Life’s active approach to dialogue — Swiss Life regards an exchange of ideas with political bodies as extremely important. The company brings its expertise into political discussion and defends its interests in the public arena at all stages of the decision-making process. In this way it tries to exert influence throughout the whole political cycle, aiming for optimal and appropriate outcomes for all concerned. Through its specialists, Swiss Life advises the various decision-makers in political parties, committees and parliamentary bodies, bringing its expert knowledge to bear at all stages from the drafting of legislation to the formal processes of consultation and approval. In addition, the company supports individual politicians and selected political parties with financial contributions.

Swiss Life is in permanent contact with politicians of all parties, for example on occupational benefit issues (conversion rate, minimum interest rate, statutory minimum distribution ratio). Among other themes, the company is actively involved in the total revision of the Federal Law on Insurance Contracts (VVG). Swiss Life runs an annual event for young politicians, for which an attractive and informative programme is drawn up.

The company conducts its dialogue with the public and decision makers on insurance- and pension-related topics through the industry groupings and professional associations. It plays an active part in the committee work of the professional associations and specialist bodies. The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Swiss Life is a Member of the Board Committee of the national business association economiesuisse, while the Group CEO is a Member of the Board and the Board Committee of the Swiss Insurance Association (SIA). In fact the company is particularly well represented in the SIA. The CEO of the Swiss Division chairs the central Life Insurance Committee; the Group CFO is a Member of the Finance and Regulation Committee, and further experts represent Swiss Life in some 15 committees and working groups. Other representatives of Swiss Life Management are likewise active in local industry associations in other markets.

Swiss Life also has a clear commitment in the teaching and research fields at colleges of further education and universities. A considerable number of employees teach at various institutions, and Swiss Life also sponsors the Walter Saxer Prize for actuarial studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.

In September 2010, Swiss Life organised a conference in France on the planned pension reform, which attracted a great deal of attention. In Germany, at the “Salon Palais Leopold” series of events held several times a year in Munich, decision makers from the worlds of business, politics, academia and the media engaged in regular dialogue on key social and political issues. In 2010 Federal Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle attended the event. Since 2007, Swiss Life has been regularly providing a platform for dialogue at its Munich Specialist Forum series of events for corporate clients, business partners and experts. Another event which attracted a great amount of interest was the fourth German Swiss Life Pension Day in October 2010 with former Federal Minister of Finance Peer Steinbrück as the keynote speaker.