International treaties

International treaties are agreements that are binding in international law. The power to conclude them fundamentally lies with the Federal Assembly; in exceptional cases this power may be transferred to the Federal Council. To date, Switzerland has concluded three international treaties related to insurance which have a bearing on financial market supervision.

International agreement with the EU on direct insurance other than life in-surance

This agreement grants Swiss and EU insurance companies in branches other than life insurance free-dom of establishment in the European Union or Switzerland. One requirement of the agreement is that an agency or branch operation must be licensed. Identical access and operating conditions must apply in the host states of the contracting parties. The agreement sets out who is to supervise the agency or branch office.

The agreement does not apply to life insurance, re-insurance or social insurances. It is similarly not applicable to cross-border services that do not go through an agency or branch office.

International agreement with the Principality of Liechtenstein on direct insurance

This agreement guarantees Swiss insurance companies freedom of establishment in the Principality of Liechtenstein and freedom to provide direct insurance services there; Liechtenstein insurance companies enjoy reciprocal rights in Switzerland. Companies require a licence issued in their home country, which is valid in both countries. Licence holders are supervised by the supervisory authority in their home country. The agreement provides for the mutual recognition of the countries' supervisory legislation. It is not applicable to reinsurers or social insurance schemes.

International agreement with the Principality of Liechtenstein on insurance against natural disasters

The agreement on insurance against natural disasters supplements the Direct Insurance Agreement and increases legal certainty and transparency in the cross-border insurance business relating to natural disasters. Damage from natural disasters in the sense of the agreement refers to damage to buildings and chattels (movable property) caused by specific natural events.