Life insurers are institutions offering insurance against risks to natural persons in the following three categories:
- Death of the insured person resulting from illness or accident, with benefits in the form of a capital payment or survivor pensions
- Disability of the insured person resulting from illness or accident, with benefits generally in the form of daily allowances or pensions, more rarely in the form of capital payments
- Age of the insured person, in the form of capital benefits in case of survival or temporary or life annuities.
Life insurance is operated in Switzerland according to 7 main classes of insurance and 10 sub-classes, defined in Annex 1 of the Supervision Ordinance.
» the link "Classes of insurance" (opposite) gives the list of these classes (in German).
Companies under supervision
By the end of August, 2007, 26 Life insurance undertakings (including two French branches and one English branch) were subject to direct supervision by the Life Insurance Division of FOPI.
Of these 26 supervised companies, 16 offered collective insurance, including 12 offering occupational pension plans (OPP).
Another 10 life insurers offering life insurance contracts in Switzerland from the Principality of Liechtenstein are supervised by the Financial Market Authority of Liechtenstein. The supervision activities of the Principality of Liechtenstein and Switzerland are mutually recognized through an international treaty and are coordinated.
Business volume in 2006
After having recorded a maximum of nearly CHF 42 billion in 2002, the global volume of gross premiums (Switzerland and abroad, not counting branches) decreased each year and reached CHF 34.5 billion in 2005, of which approximately CHF 28.1 billion were in Swiss business only.
» see also links (to the right) , “Life insurance figures 2006”, and “Assets under management” (documents in German).
As the “Life insurance figures 2006" show, the life insurance market in Switzerland is characterized by the dominance of two companies responsible for the majority of business, both on the global market and with respect to Swiss business. A comparison of the premium volume of these two companies with the premium volume of the 24 others shows:
For the global market, CHF 20.47 billion vs. 13.8 billion
For the Swiss market, CHF 15.1 billion vs. 13 billion