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International Agreements

To date, two international agreements have been concluded by Switzerland in the insurance sector: one with the European Community (1) and one with Liechtenstein (2). Memoranda of Understanding focusing on information exchange and administrative cooperation have also been concluded with each Member State of the European Economic Area (EEA) (see under "international cooperation").

Agreement CH-EEC

Negotiations were opened once the EEC adopted the First Non-life Directive (73/239/EEC) which established the freedom of establishment between the EEC member states to ensure non-discriminatory establishment conditions for Swiss insurers in EEC member states. The agreement came into force on 1 January 1993.

Its aim is the freedom of establishment of Swiss insurance companies active in the area of non-life insurance in all the states of the European Union, and vice versa. The agreement contains all the necessary and adequate conditions which must be met so that a non-life insurance company may open a branch in the territory of the other contracting party.

Amongst the most important conditions are compulsory authorisation and ongoing supervision by the home country of the branch (principle of supervision in the country of activity). If the requirements mentioned in the agreement have been met, authorisation must be granted. Ongoing supervision must at least include control of actuarial reserves and the corresponding assets covering them. Assessing the solvency of the insurance company must be carried out by the country of the company’s headquarters based on the solvency margin calculations, details of which are to be found in the agreement, and guaranteed by means of a solvency certificate for the attention of the country or countries of activity.
All of these requirements have been adapted to the Swiss system of supervision.

Agreement CH-FL

It was concluded at the request of Swiss insurers, following Liechtenstein joining the EEA Agreement. The Swiss insurers did not wish to be discriminated relative to EEA insurers in respect of business in Liechtenstein which, up to now, had been regarded as Swiss business. The agreement came into force on 9 July 1998.

The agreement provides guarantees to insurers which have their headquarters in one of the two countries concerning freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services on the territory of the other state with unique approval granted by the home country and which is valid in both countries (principle of supervision by the home country). The agreement is based on the mutual recognition of supervision rights and only contains provisions lacking in national law concerning how supervision by the home country operates. Its clauses are self executive and not adopted in Swiss legislation.

Since 1 July 2007 insurance intermediaries enjoy the same advantages as the insurance companies. The amended agreement was signed on 20 June 2007 and has been provisionally applied subject to final approval by the Parliament.

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Agreement CH-EEC

Agreement between the EEC and the Swiss Confederation
Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Swiss Confederation on direct insurance other than life assurance

English translation can be found under:

Agreement CH-Liechtenstein

This text is only available in German, French and Italian.

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