Contrad Widmer established Schweizerische Rentenanstalt in 1857 as the first life insurance company in Switzerland. Alfred Escher was integrally involved in the development of the cooperative. The goal of the company was to provide Swiss families a sufficiently solid foundation by providing insurance against the uncertainties of life. In 1866 Widmer obtained a license in Prussia. A year later, the annuity establishment had business operations in Hamburg and Bremen. The German branch split from the company. All of the policies were hand written in Zurich. Beginning in 1894, the establishment was one of the first insurance institutions to offer occupational insurance. Between 1866 and 1987, Rentenanstalt expanded to Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, Spain, Luxembourg and Italy. In 1988 it took over La Suisse insurance company in Lausanne.
In 1997 under the management of Martin Lopez, Rentenanstalt changed from a cooperative into a publicly traded company. In 1998 Rentenstalt/Swiss Life shares debuted on the SMI index. SwissLife then advanced on a expansionary strategy acquiring Livit, Banca del Gottardo, the Lloyd Continental and UTO Albis in 1999, Schweizerische Treuhandgesellschaft in 2000, a takeover of the real estate properties of Oscar Weber Holding AG in 2001. Finally in 2002, new acquisitions ceased as the company looked to restructure as many felt it was too big and had becoming   .
In 2003, the company changed its name to Swiss Life for all its operations except in the Netherlands where is remains under the old name Zwitser Leven. It sold its British operations to Resolution Life Group.
In November 2007, Swiss Life sold off Banca del Gottardo for 1.775 billion CHF. On December 3, 2007, Swiss Life announced that it had launched a takeover bid of AWD Holding AG. On March 13, 2008, Swiss Life had successfully acquired a total of 86.2% of AWD.
- ↑ Swiss Life > Jahr 2002 > Neue strategische Ausrichtung
- ↑ http://www.schweizerbank.ch/de/sesselwechsel/sesselwechsel.asp?pkBerichtNr=56456
- ↑ http://www.schweizerbank.ch/de/sesselwechsel/sesselwechsel.asp?pkBerichtNr=56981
- ↑ http://www.schweizerbank.ch/de/sesselwechsel/sesselwechsel.asp?pkBerichtNr=59193
- ↑ Medienmitteilung von Swiss Life zum Verkauf der Banca del Gottardo
- ↑ Medienmitteilung Swiss Life, 19.03.2008 - Swiss Life hält 86,2% an AWD