Supervision in the insurance sector

FINMA adopts a principle-based, risk-oriented approach to its supervision of insurance companies. The greater the risk potential of an insurance company, the more intensive the supervision.

FINMA assigns all supervised institutions to one of five supervisory categories. This categorisation enables FINMA to implement an appropriate level of supervision and deploy its resources effectively.

Tools

Insurance companies are supervised more or less intensively depending on their category. Some supervisory tools are familiar and have been used successfully in the past, while others apply a new dynamic process-based approach. In general terms, they are either:

Groups and conglomerates

For supervised insurance groups and insurance conglomerates, FINMA applies the group supervision in addition to the supervision of the single entities.

Annual report and supervisory report

Insurance companies must produce an annual report as of 31 December each year as well as a supervisory report for FINMA. FINMA provides an annual overview of the sector in its report on the insurance market. The report contains general information on the market in Switzerland including aggregated sector-specific balance sheet and profit and loss data.

Branches of foreign insurance companies

Branches of foreign insurance companies are subject to supervision by FINMA. They are required to prepare annual financial statements in accordance with Swiss law and to submit annual reports and supervisory reports.