The Swiss insurance industry has had a successful year – premium volumes in both non-life and life insurance rose again in 2019 compared with the previous year (+1.7 per cent and +0.6 per cent respectively). In terms of gross value added, private insurers make up about half of the Swiss financial market, reflected in their increasing significance for Switzerland as a business location.
By underwriting risk and thereby strengthening macroeconomic resilience, the insurance industry releases private and commercial resources and enables the economy and society to develop and grow. It contributed 4.6 per cent to the value added of the overall Swiss economy and comprised half of the value added of the Swiss financial market. At the end of 2018, private insurers managed CHF 582 billion in capital investment and had paid out about CHF 139 million a day for claims and pensions in the same year. They thus make a significant contribution to the stability of the financial system and the national economy.
Philipp Gmür, member of the Managing Board; Rolf Dörig, SIA Chairman et Thomas Helbling, SIA director
«Swiss private insurers enjoyed further growth in the last financial year,» says Rolf Dörig, chairman of the Swiss Insurance Association (SIA). «This confirms our role as a driver of the financial industry, as a significant and attractive employer and as an important taxpayer; this is also due to our continuing strong position in key foreign markets. We are therefore a central pillar of the Swiss economy and society, and are pleased to assume this position of national economic responsibility,» explains Dörig.
Non-life insurance experiences stable growth
According to the SIA’s calculations, the premium volume in the non-life business rose by 1.7 per cent compared with the previous year, continuing its consistent growth trend.
- + 2.0 per cent in fire, natural hazard and non-life insurance. In Switzerland, insured values rose due to economic growth and prosperity, which in turn contributed to an increase in premium volume.
- + 2.7 per cent in personal insurance. This was due to increased demand in supplementary health and accident insurance and higher tariffs caused by rising healthcare costs.
- - 0.5 per cent in motor vehicle insurance. Slightly lower tariffs and reduced demand for motor vehicle liability insurance led to a small decrease in premium volume.
- According to the SIA’s estimates, the claims burden will be slightly lower in 2019 compared with the previous year.
Renewed growth in life insurance
The SIA expects premium growth in the life insurance business of 0.6 per cent compared with the previous year. The previous year’s growth was confirmed, despite the historically low interest rates and significant supervisory constraints, which continue to present life insurers with considerable challenges. The growth in premiums in group life insurance and individual life insurance was as follows:
- + 0.4 per cent in group life insurance. This refers to the sector in which life insurers offer SMEs and their employees occupational pension plans. This net growth consists of a fall in periodic premiums and an increase in single premiums of almost the same amount due to the withdrawal of AXA from full insurance at the end of 2018.
- + 2.0 per cent in individual life insurance. Individual life insurance policies have become slightly more popular as a means of covering risk and as an alternative to savings policies with very low or even negative interest rates. Unit-linked products have been particularly popular.
Robust reinsurance business
The SIA is also expecting slight growth in 2019 in this area of business. The reinsurance business is a significant part of the Swiss insurance sector. The greater Zurich area has become a major location for the reinsurance business, with the number of reinsurance companies based there doubling to 20 over the past two decades. The SIA is pleased to note that many of these companies have now joined the association and account for about 85 per cent of the premium volume generated.
Private insurance headcount increases
The SIA calculates that the headcount in the private insurance industry has increased by 2.5 per cent to 47,740 in Switzerland. This confirms the insurance industry as both a significant and attractive employer with a wide range of career paths.
Strategic importance of sustainability
Sustainability is of strategic importance to the insurance industry as it is a key prerequisite for the insurability of current and «future risks. It is in our own interests to improve the sustainability of the business continuously,» says Philipp Gmür, member of SIA’s Board of Directors and Group CEO of Helvetia Insurance. «However, sustainability is not only about the environment and the climate. It has a significant impact on old-age provision, so that young people can rely on a well-functioning pension system when they retire,» says Gmür.
Note to editors
The Swiss Insurance Association (SIA) represents the interests of the private insurance industry at national and international level. The association comprises around 75 primary insurers and reinsurers, which together employ 47,700 people in Switzerland and a further 100,000 abroad. The member companies of the SIA account for more than 85% of premiums generated in the Swiss market. As a major force in the Swiss economy, the insurance industry assumes economic responsibility at a business, social and political level wherever key success factors of its locations are at stake.
Swiss Insurance Association SIA,
Sabine Alder, Tel +41 44 208 28 20, sabine [dot] aldersvv [dot] ch,
Head Office +41 44 208 28 28.