Supervisory remit of the Federal Office of Private Insurance (FOPI)
Anti-money laundering measures also play a part in the supervision of insurance companies. Out of a total premium volume of CHF 51 billion (with life insurance accounting for CHF 31 billion), just over CHF 20 billion is relevant to supervision to prevent money laundering. In addition to overseeing the industry's self-regulatory organization, one of the Office's supervisory activities, which plays a key part in enforcing the Anti-Money Laundering Act, is the inspection of insurers' premises. Anti-money laundering measures are one of the points which are checked in every inspection.
The Office also participates in the legislative process and in the preparation of money laundering standards at international level and provides information in response to relevant enquiries. It also takes part in country reviews. One example that might be mentioned here is the 2005 country review of the FATF (Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering).
Objective and scope of the Anti-Money Laundering Act in relation to insurers
Under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, the FOPI monitors the measures taken by life insurers to prevent money laundering. The duties of the life insurers include in particular:
- Identifying the contracting party in question and establishing the beneficial owner;
- Clarifying the purpose of an insurance transaction which appears unusual or where there are indications to suggest that the assets concerned originate from a crime or are controlled by a criminal organization;
- Holding in safekeeping the support documents which serve as confirmation of the investigations carried out;
- A duty to ensure that adequate staff training is provided and that checks are in place.
If a life insurer knows or has reasonable grounds to suspect that a business relationship involves money laundering, he must submit a report to the Money Laundering Reporting Office (MROS) of the Federal Office of Police.
Permanent tasks of the FOPI
- Audit of the annual report of the Self-Regulatory Organisation of the Swiss Insurance Association (SRO-SIA);
- Validation of the list of SRO-SIA members and the list of non-members;
- Verification of company-specific measures during inspections at the company's head office;
- Continuous updating of legal and regulatory requirements;
- Answering of enquiries from associations, companies and third parties regarding the application of AMLA rules;
- Participation in country reviews.