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Insurance Law in Switzerland

Insurance Law in Switzerland

Updated on Wednesday 03rd February 2016

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Insurance-Law-in-SwitzerlandMain laws on insurance in Switzerland

The Swiss legislation on insurance is quite comprehensive considering it covers a lot of activities. The following activities fall under the Insurance Law in Switzerland:

 

  • -          life insurance activities;
  • -          non-life insurance activities;
  • -          reinsurance activities.

It must be noted that each type of activity covers several services, such as health or car insurance services. The main laws governing insurance companies in Switzerland are:

  • -          the Federal Insurance Supervision Act (ISA) of 2006;
  • -          the Federal Insurance Contract Act (ICA) of 2005.

The Insurance Supervision Act also contains two ordinances, one covering private insurance companies and one covering intermediaries of foreign companies providing insurance and reinsurance services in Switzerland.

In 2013, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) introduced a new ordinance with respect to insurance bankruptcy.

Legislation related to insurance and reinsurance contracts in Switzerland

The Swiss legislation on insurance does not provide a specific definition for insurance and reinsurance contracts, which is why these agreements were defined by the Federal Supreme Court. Under this definition, insurance and reinsurance contracts are agreements under which an insurer promises to fulfill certain economic performances to a third party in certain circumstances. The insured party must first pay a premium for the services contracted. Insurance and reinsurance contracts must also meet certain criteria:

  • -          they must imply a risk or a danger the insured party could face;
  • -          the premium is paid by the insured party in the eventuality of facing a risk or danger;
  • -          the insurer is required to pay the insured party in case the risk or danger materializes.

Very often, insurance and reinsurance contracts in Switzerland resemble gambling and financial agreements.

Insurance and reinsurance companies in Switzerland

All Swiss insurance and reinsurance companies are subject to different registration criteria. From share capital requirements to statutory compliance requisites, these companies must also provide services related to their specific licenses. Foreign insurance companies are allowed to operate in Switzerland provided that they meet the licensing requirements imposed by FINMA.

The minimum share capital to operate an insurance company in Switzerland is 3 million CHF, while the maximum cap is 20 million CHF. Insurance and reinsurance companies can be registered as limited liability companies or cooperatives.

For assistance in setting up an insurance company, you can contact our Swiss lawyers.

 

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