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2020 in numbers

+18,2 %
Premiums, consolidated
in USD million
8  %
+1 %
Cost ratio, consolidated
+8,8 %
+31,7 %
Premiums, Group Life & Health
in USD million
~ 2 Mio.
Insured persons

Business Report

elipsLife’s 2020 financial year was characterised by ongoing change and further strong premium growth of 18%. We have systematically continued the transformation and associated professionalisation initiated in 2019. Nevertheless, a loss of USD 88.0 million resulted from additional reservations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, investments in market development and restructuring costs. However, with the completion of the 2020 financial year, we laid a solid foundation for further qualitative growth and expansion into new markets. In addition, elipsLife’s move to Corporate Solutions demonstrates the great confidence of the Swiss Re Group in the future of elipsLife.


«With the completion of the 2020 financial year, we definitely left our start-up mentality behind and laid the foundation for further, qualitative growth

Christoph Gaus, Group CEO

2020 in charts

Premiums and claims

consolidated, in USD million

Cost ratio


Premiums and equity

consolidated, in USD million

Result before income tax

consolidated, in USD million

Premiums and claims

Group Life & Health, in USD million

Cost ratio

Group Life & Health


Group Life & Health, share by market

Full-time equivalents at end of financial year

Stated in accordance with Liechtenstein law until 2016, from 2017 according to US GAAP.

Shaped by change

In 2020, we continued to systematically pursue the transformation launched in the previous year. The year under review was marked by ongoing change and a final farewell to the start-up mentality. We advanced our level of professionalisation, further increased our focus on profitability and invested in improving our understanding of risk. Along the way, we stuck to our proven success factors of premium growth, service quality, customer focus and cost leadership.

The renewed focus on profitability led to the decision to exit the US market and concentrate our expansion on Europe. We managed to take crucial steps forward despite the major challenges we faced in the reporting year.

An important component of our professionalisation was the optimisation of our business intelligence solutions, which enabled a more profound understanding of data and risk and allowed us to respond to business developments more quickly and in a more targeted fashion. On this basis we are improving our underwriting excellence and also elevating our management of pricing, actuarial services and claims to a new performance level.

Strong premium growth

Since the company was founded in 2008, elipsLife’s success has been based on expert knowledge, an IT platform that can be used worldwide as well as efficient claims management. These factors were also the basis for achieving strong premium growth and cost leadership again in the 2020 financial year.

The earned premium volume increased by 18% in 2020, from USD 1 157.5 million to USD 1 368.6 million. The consolidated expense ratio remained at 8%, the same as in the previous year. In the Group Life & Health business, we were able to increase the premium volume by 32%, from USD 472.0 million to USD 621.6 million. The expense ratio remained unchanged at 17%.

The upward trend in premiums was brought about in particular by the Switzerland/Liechtenstein and Benelux markets, where we were able to increase premiums by 25% and 27% respectively. The loss of USD 88.0 million was due to additional reservations stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in methods to improve the quality of underwriting and revaluations of risks. There was also an impact from investments in the development of markets, restructuring costs and meagre earnings due to the low interest rate environment. Although the additional reservations resulted in a loss, they also enabled elipsLife to take an important step in the direction of becoming an established insurance company.

Coherent development

In order to safeguard our success in the future, we have systematically continued on the path of transformation in 2020, which we embarked upon in the previous year, and we intensified our focus on profit aspects and profitability once again. At the same time, we improved our understanding of risk and further professionalised underwriting. In future we will continue to strive for premium growth while simultaneously maintaining our focus on risk selection and quality.

The 2020 financial year was also a year of consolidation. Our focus in terms of expansion as a success factor was on Europe and the opening of the Austrian market.

Improving profitability

In 2020, premium growth was once again offset by the negative profitability trend. This is primarily due to the provisions made due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that the initiated transformation is a long-term task. In most markets, three-year contracts are in force, which can only be renewed and adjusted over time.

Cost leadership maintained

elipsLife’s success is largely based on cost leadership combined with high-quality services and great proximity to the client. The generic, globally scalable IT platform, which allows us to greatly reduce operational costs, plays a key role here. In the reporting year, we were able to further automate administrative, non-client-related processes. At the same time, we initiated investments in future automation steps and in the improved data exchange with client.

The COVID-19 crisis

In addition to the financial losses that are hardly surprising for a life insurance company, the COVID-19 pandemic caused us to be confronted with several challenges and uncertainties – also on the client side. Few of our client switched providers, which further boosted our already high retention rate. At the same time, we had to accept a higher claims ratio.

We were able to cope well with the effects of the crisis in terms of logistics. The changeover to working from home went quickly and smoothly, and customer service was fully ensured at all times. We also managed to stay in close contact with our clients and partners after switching to virtual communication.



In the current business year, change will continue to be a determining force in our everyday lives. We will continue to drive the systematic focus on profitability and strengthen our cost leadership – and we want to expand further. Even though the times of rapid premium growth are over, we are striving for qualitative premium growth in 2021.

In underwriting, we will be wielding a finer blade thanks to improved understanding of risk and optimised business intelligence solutions, and we will be more selective in our growth. This approach will also define the coming stages of expansion into new markets.

As the 2020 financial year has drawn to a close, we can see that the first step towards financial turnaround has been taken. The restructuring of our portfolio is well underway, with the basis for further qualitative growth having been laid. With this solid foundation and the strong backing of Swiss Re, we will continue to be a reliable partner for our clients.

All figures are reported in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the US, US GAAP.

Key Figures 2019

Read the Key Figures 2019 here