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150 years of Swiss Life

16.01.2007

In 1857, in a small, tucked-away building near Zurich’s Paradeplatz, Conrad Widmer of Thurgau founded Schweizerische Rentenanstalt, the first national life insurance company under Swiss law. 150 years have since passed. The former Rentenanstalt is now called Swiss Life and employs over 9,000 staff. Swiss Life is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year with a range of activities around the central theme "perspectives for people".

Pension provision was practically non-existent in the second half of the 19th century. Those who did not have a family to count on lapsed quickly into poverty and destitution. As the industrialisation of the country gained momentum, the issue of social and financial safeguards in cases of illness, disability or death became more critical. At the time, foreign companies divided the insurance business with Swiss customers among themselves. There was no interregional life insurance company with a Swiss heritage.

First Swiss life insurance company
In 1855, the Zurich cantonal government urged Conrad Widmer to look more closely into the idea of a Swiss life insurance company. The experienced lawyer and organiser soon recognised that a new company would not be successful without adequate capital resources. We have him to thank that Schweizerische Kreditanstalt, another young company, whose founder, Alfred Escher, knew Conrad Widmer from their school days together, stood as guarantor with its entire equity capital for the new Schweizerische Rentenanstalt. This laid the foundation for the successful development of the company that today is the leading provider of pensions and life insurance in Switzerland.

Perspectives for people

In 2007 Swiss Life is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a variety of activities focussing on people in Switzerland. The recurring theme of the anniversary year – “perspectives for people” – is based on the company's mission: “Swiss Life is committed to helping people create a financially secure future. For life.” It reflects Swiss Life’s self-confidence as a company of people for people. Swiss Life offers its customers, its staff and its shareholders perspectives and is also committed to building perspectives for society beyond the scope of its business activities. The official celebration will take place in Zurich on 28 September, the day the company was officially founded.

An overview of activities:

150 young ideas for Switzerland
The national competition "Young people design living space" is aimed at young people between the ages of 12 and 20. In 2007, 150 school classes and groups of young people from all over Switzerland will be developing their ideas and visions for future-oriented living space in "their" Switzerland. The competition is organised by the HSR Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil (University of Applied Sciences in Rapperswil) with the support of Swiss Life. Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger is chairman of the committee of patrons.

Kids Festival for the football stars of tomorrow
The Kids Festival is a football event for children between the ages of 6 and 10. At 20 tournaments all over Switzerland, 6,500 children will demonstrate their football skills and show just what they can do. There will also be special activities for family and friends during the tournaments. The Kids Festival is a joint project to encourage young talent organised by the Swiss Football Association together with Swiss Life and Ochsner Sport.

Foundation supports charitable initiatives
The newly founded foundation "Perspectives" is a sustainable anniversary project that supports charitable initiatives in the areas of integration and education in order to open up new perspectives for people.

Proximity through regional client events
Swiss Life is hosting ten special client events all over the country to celebrate its anniversary and further strengthen its presence in all regions of Switzerland.

"C'est la vie!" board game – fun for the whole family
To mark its anniversary, Swiss Life has produced the exciting “C’est la vie” board game in cooperation with Carlit + Ravensburger. The game is suitable for players from ten years of age and can be ordered from the Swiss Life website for the special price of CHF 20 from the end of January.

Making young people aware of retirement planning
Together with the association "Jugend und Wirtschaft", Swiss Life is producing learning materials aimed at making young people aware of the importance of retirement planning. At the same time, teacher seminars and project weeks for school classes will be held on the subject of “getting older”.

Anniversary publication provides insight
To commemorate its anniversary year, Swiss Life is publishing an anniversary magazine that illustrates the company and its environment from a variety of perspectives and provides an exciting insight into the economic history of the 150-year-old company.

Contact

Media Relations
Phone: +41 43 284 77 77
media.relations@swisslife.ch


Swiss Life

The Swiss Life Group is one of Europe’s leading providers of pension and life insurance products. The Swiss Life Group offers individuals and companies comprehensive advice across a broad range of products via agents, brokers and banks in its domestic market, Switzerland, where it is market leader, and selected European markets. Multinational companies are serviced with tailor-made solutions by a network of partners in over 60 countries and regions. With Banca del Gottardo, the Swiss Life Group is also a provider of private banking services. The bank, with its head office in Lugano, has an extended national and international network and around CHF 34 billion in customer assets under management.

Swiss Life Holding, registered in Zurich, dates back to the Schweizerische Rentenanstalt founded in 1857. Shares of Swiss Life Holding are listed on the SWX Swiss Exchange (SLHN). The Swiss Life Group employs a staff of around 9000.

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