Federal Office of Private Insurance FOPI

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Principle of self-regulation
The Money Laundering Act allows for the development of self-regulation by the financial intermediaries concerned. Life insurance companies have made use of this option. In 1998, the Swiss Insurance Association (SIA) set up a self-regulatory organization: the SRO-SIA. However, self-regulation does not release the special statutory supervisory authorities, i.e. in this case the FOPI, from their supervisory duties as regards the financial intermediaries who come under their jurisdiction. Thus, under the Money Laundering Act, the FOPI is responsible for the supervision of insurance companies' compliance with their obligations (i.e. duty to exercise due diligence and obligations in case of suspicion of money laundering), regardless whether or not an insurance company is a member of the SRO-SIA. The FOPI carries out exclusive and direct supervision of insurance companies which are subject to the Money Laundering Act, but are not members of the SRO-SIA. These companies must complete an annual questionnaire providing information on their activities in the field of measures to combat money laundering. The majority of life insurers who have their head office in Switzerland are members of the SRO-SIA. Only five companies have not joined this organization.

The Self-Regulatory Organization of the Swiss Insurance Association (SRO-SIA)
In a code of conduct, the SRO-SIA spells out the obligations defined in the Money Laundering Act. The code obliges member companies to set up a specialist internal unit to combat money laundering. It provides for a system of monitoring and sanctions. For example, if a company infringes its obligations, the Chairman of the SRO-SIA may decide to impose sanctions ranging from a warning to a fine of up to CHF 1 million.

Demarcation of the legal framework for private insurer SROs
Self-regulatory organizations for insurance companies – the only such organization currently in existence being the SRO-SIA referred to above – need to be recognized by the FOPI and also come under its supervision. They must keep a register of their member companies. The FOPI must be informed of the activities of the SRO on an annual basis. If the SRO infringes the applicable rules, in extreme cases the FOPI may withdraw its recognition.

List of members of the SRO-SIA
  • Allianz Suisse, Zurich
  • AXA Vie, Lausanne
  • Baloise Insurance, Basel
  • Die Mobiliar, Bern
  • Generali Personenversicherungen, Adliswil
  • Groupe Mutuel Vie, Martigny
  • Helvetia Patria Insurance, Basel
  • La Genevoise Vie, Genf
  • National Versicherung, Bottmingen
  • Pax Leben, Basel
  • Phenix Vie, Lausanne
  • Rentes Genevoises, Genf
  • Retraites Populaires, Lausanne
  • SEV Versicherungen, Basel
  • Skandia Leben, Zurich
  • Swiss Life, Zurich
  • UBS Life AG, Zürich
  • Vaudoise Vie, Lausanne
  • Versicherung Schweizer Ärzte, Bern
  • Winterthur Leben, Winterthur
  • Zurich Financial Services, Zurich
  • Zenith Vie, Pully
  • Forces Vives AG, Lausanne

List of companies subject to direct supervision by the FOPI
  • AIG Life Insurance Company Ltd., Breganzona
  • Convia Lebensversicherungs-Gesellschaft, Luzern
  • Financial Assurance Company Limited, Zurich
  • Império S.A., Lausanne
  • Cardif Assurance Vie, Zurich

Specialist staff: info@bpv.admin.ch
Last updated on: 28.03.2006

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Federal Office of Private Insurance FOPI
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