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An Innovative Payments Approach at Swiss Re

by Damien Taets van Amerongen, Vice President, Information Technology, Swiss Re

Swiss Re is one of the world’s largest re-insurers with over 10,000 employees and operations in 20 countries across over 200 entities. Swiss Re has over 2,000 accounts globally with around 50 banks. Because of changing market conditions and a greater emphasis on transparency, efficiency and risk management within the business, Swiss Re made the decision to review and revise its bank connectivity.

Changing connectivity requirements

As well as taking steps to enhance efficiency, controls and risk management, Swiss Re recognised that its existing banking connectivity infrastructure had a series of complexities (figure 1). With a multi-channel infrastructure in place, it was cumbersome and time-consuming to set up communications with each respective bank. At that time, Swiss Re used a core bank proprietary workstation with a variety of other bank links including fax, telex and electronic banking systems. This led to data and process fragmentation with a lack of visibility, a restricted information flow and delays in execution due to the variety of manual processes. Furthermore, by relying on a single bank, there were concerns about counterparty risk which became particularly evident after the events of both September 2001 and 2008. In addition to concerns about bank connectivity, fragmentation of internal systems meant that cash management information was frequently delayed, disjointed and incomplete.