1. General questions
What is meant by "initial approval"?
Initial approval is the approval granted to an undertaking wanting to take up insurance activities in Switzerland that is not yet in possession of a business licence.
What is meant by "approval of updates"?
Approval of updates is the approval of changes to the business plans as of 31 December 2007 in accordance with article 216, paragraph 9 of the Supervision Ordinance. All insurance undertakings already in possession of a business licence on 1 January 2006 must submit a complete business plan to the supervisory authority for approval.
Do all the forms have to be signed?
No, only the "Certification" page has to be signed, checking the boxes for the forms submitted to the supervisory authority.
Who has to sign?
The chairman of the board of directors or the chairman's delegate as well as the CEO.
Can the general agent sign for a branch?
No, the business plan must be signed by the registered office in accordance with article 17, paragraph 3(c) of the Supervision Ordinance (see preceding question).
Does the business plan for a branch refer to the registered office or the branch?
The business plan only covers the branch, and the information concerning the branch must be included (unless indicated otherwise), such as the organizational structure, the geographical area, etc. If no specific document exists for the branch, such as rules governing the organizational structure, internal control, the directives on technical provisions, underwriting, risk management, etc., then the documents concerning the registered office must be included, along with evidence that the Swiss branch is covered by the aforementioned rules and directives.
Some of the documents requested as enclosures have already been sent to the supervisory authority. Do they have to be resent?
Yes, all documents requested as enclosures must be submitted with the business plan, even if some of them have already been submitted to the supervisory authority in the past.
Many of the documents requested as enclosures only exist in English. Do they have to be translated into an official language of Switzerland?
No, the documents requested, such as outsourcing contracts, rules and regulations, etc., may be submitted in English. However, the supervisory authority may demand a translation of the documents or of document excerpts if comprehension problems arise. Only the company statutes must be submitted in an official language (French, German, or Italian).
Are the forms final, or are they subject to change?
The forms are subject to change and will be amended depending on the development of the doctrine and practice of the supervisory authority.
2. Company statutes (form A)
Do the company statutes have to be authenticated by a notary public or by the Commercial Register?
That depends on the applicable cantonal regulations.
Is the date of approval of the company statutes the date of the licence issued by the supervisory authority?
Not necessarily. It is possible that the insurance undertaking has undergone changes of its company statutes after receiving the licence. The latest version of the company statutes should be included, indicating the date of the latest approval of the company statutes by the supervisory authority.
3. Organizational structure and geographical area of activity (form B)
What are the principal functions?
The supervisory authority has deliberately not specified the principal functions, since they depend on the organizational structure of the company. Generally, the members of the general management are in charge of the principal functions.
What is meant by "organizational rules"?
The supervisory authority does not issue directives on such rules. They may be rules defining the responsibilities in the undertaking and the relevant processes. Signing rules may be part of the organizational rules.
What is meant by "audit charter"?
The audit charter defines the internal audit processes and the internal control system.
For a branch, is the geographical area that of the registered office?
No, it is the geographical area of the branch. In principle, the geographical area of a branch is only Switzerland.
4. Licence from the competent foreign supervisory authority (form C)
Do licenses from foreign authorities have to be requested for subsidiaries abroad?
No, only if the company with registered office in Switzerland engages in activities abroad.
5. Details of financial resources and provisions (form D)
What information does a health insurance scheme have to provide concerning its financial resources?
A health insurance scheme must submit information concerning its capital structure, its capital investment rules, and an overview of its tied assets for the last three business years.
Is a balance sheet sufficient to show the capital structure?
In principle no, since information must be provided on hybrid instruments and equity capital (subordinated issues, etc.).
The directives on technical provisions have not yet been established; does this mean that no information has to be provided in this regard?
No, the insurance undertakings must indicate the current methods for establishing technical provisions. Depending on the future directives, a company may have to adjust its methods.
6. Designation of responsible persons and general agents (form G)
Are extracts from the enforcement office and the criminal register required for members of the board of directors and the general management who are already serving?
Yes, for each person who must be listed on form G, an extract from the enforcement office and the criminal register must be provided, regardless of the seniority of the person within the insurance undertaking.
Is the submission of extracts from the criminal register and the enforcement office compatible with data protection?
Yes, according to article 17, paragraph 1 of the Federal Data Protection Act (DPA), federal authorities have the right to process personal data if a legal basis exists. Moreover, especially sensitive data and personality profiles may also be processed if the fulfilment of a responsibility clearly defined by a formal law absolutely requires it (article 17, paragraph 2(a) DPA). A legal basis meeting this requirement exists in article 14 of the Insurance Supervision Act concerning the guarantee of sound and proper business conduct.
As of what date must the requested extracts be current?
The extracts submitted must be as current as possible, and in any case not older than three months.
In the case of a branch, is it correct that form G only concerns the general agent?
Yes. The supervisory authority cannot demand the same information concerning persons who are situated at the registered office of the company abroad.
Some members of the board of directors or the general management are abroad. Do the requested enclosures also have to be submitted for these persons?
Yes, the supervisory authority makes no exception for persons residing abroad. If the extracts are in a language that the supervisory authority obviously is not capable of understanding (e.g., Japanese), they must be translated into an official language of Switzerland or into English.
Some countries do not have an enforcement office. What then?
Submit an equivalent certification, such as the Schufa-Auszug for Germany.
What is meant by "persons responsible for supervision and control"?
These are the persons responsible for supervision and control within the company who are not members of the board of directors or the general management. They may be persons responsible for the internal audit or even risk management.
Does the responsible actuary fall within the scope of form G?
No, the information concerning the responsible actuary is only requested in form H.
7. Outsourcing contracts and other outsourcing agreements (form J)
Does the form only concern outsourcing of functions to third parties, or also outsourcing within an insurance group (to subsidiaries, sister companies, …)?
The outsourcing of functions to other legal entities within the group must also be reported on the form.
8. Reinsurance plan (form N)
Does the form also concern reinsurance business?
No, the form only concerns passive reinsurance, i.e., when an undertaking cedes or retrocedes reinsurance risks to another insurance or reinsurance undertaking.
9. Risk management (form Q)
What does risk management mean, and what does it entail?
FOPI Directive 15/2007 of 1 January 2007 on corporate governance, risk management, and the internal control system provides details on the measures to be taken with respect to risk management.