The Federal Council decided that the total revision of the new Federal Law on the Supervision of Insurance Companies (Insurance Supervision Act, ISA) entered into force on 1 January 2006.
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The new law continues to focus on securing the solvency of the insurance companies subject to the law and on fighting abuses. The main goals of the revision – securing the long-term stability of the insurance companies, improving the protection of policyholders, and incorporating the most important developments in the EU – were achieved by means of the following amendments, which are for the purpose of a better understanding outlined briefly below:
- With the new ISA and SO, the Swiss Solvency Test (SST) as a model for determining the risk capacity of insurers and thereby also a new risk-based supervision philosophy have been introduced.
- The new ISA partially replaces preventive product supervision with tightened solvency supervision, which in turn has required amendment to the Insurance Contract Act (ICA) to improve transparency through new information requirements. In the socially sensitive areas of occupational pensions and supplemental health insurance, the Parliament retaines preventive approval of insurance products.
- To improve consumer protection, insurance brokers are now also subject to supervision. A public register is being compiled for this purpose. Entry into the register, which requires professional, personal, and financial qualifications, is mandatory for independent insurance brokers and voluntary for other insurance brokers.
- For reasons of consumer protection, transparency has been improved in various insurance sectors.
- The new ISA establishes the legal foundation for supervision of groups and conglomerates.
- All insurance companies are now required to specify a responsible actuary to assess business risks.
- The penalties for misdemeanours and infractions have been tightened considerably.
In parallel with the Insurance Supervision Act and in the framework of the final clauses of the Act, various other enactments have also been partially revised. The most important of these are:
- Through a partial revision of the ICA, important concerns have been implemented, especially with respect to consumer protection.
- Through a revision of the Federal Act on Banks and Savings Banks (Banking Act, Classified Compilation of Federal Law 952.0) and the Federal Act on Stock Exchanges and Securities Trading (Stock Exchange Act, Classified Compilation of Federal Law 954.1) the provisions on group and conglomerate supervision have been harmonized with the provisions in the insurance sector.
- Finally, the five previous supervisory enactments have been repealed simultaneously with entry into force of the new Insurance Supervision Act.