Getting licensed: insurers

Licences are issued to take up business operations, if the statutory requirements are met and the interests of insured persons are protected.

The basic requirements for a licence for an insurance company are set out in the Insurance Supervision Act (ISA). Other requirements and provisions are described in greater detail in the Insurance Supervision Ordinance (ISO) and FINMA circulars.

The basic requirements include:

  • legal form: limited company or cooperative;
  • minimum capital requirement: CHF 3 to 20 million, depending on sector;
  • equity capital: sufficient free and unencumbered equity capital (solvency);
  • establishment fund: covered costs of foundation, organisation and extraordinary expansion of business activities;
  • object of the company: activities directly associated with insurance;
  • insurance companies which offer direct life insurance may only additionally offer accident and health insurance;
  • foreign companies must have a branch in Switzerland and appoint a general agent.

Further supplementary provisions apply to each insurance sect