The Foundation «Ombudsman of Private Insurance and of Suva» was established by the SIA in 1972. The Ombudsman has proven to be a solidly-founded and widely-accepted independent institution. The number of problems dealt with by the Ombudsman show that this institution enjoys the confidence and trust of the public at large. Its services – which it renders free of charge – contribute to assisting dissatisfied or uncertain customers.
Summary of the Annual Report 2020
The number of queries and complaints within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction increased by 1.7% from 3,350 to 3,408 in 2020, the year under review.
A total of 2,997 cases were resolved directly with policyholders or complainants without the need to contact the insurer. 411 of the 1383 complaints submitted in writing resulted in interventions with the relevant insurance companies (intervention rate 29.7%). The intervention success rate stood at 77.1%.
The intervention figures and the success rate achieved only partly reflect the number of policyholders for whom the Ombudsman and his team successfully intervened during 2020, the year of coronavirus. Their collective interventions in spring 2020 in relation to epidemic insurers paved the way for amicable solutions for thousands of other policyholders who did not need to contact the Ombudsman. This primarily concerned businesses in the restaurant industry which, despite holding epidemic insurance, had not initially received compensation from the insurer for the lockdown or losses during the closure of business imposed by the government.
The Ombudsman’s activities primarily focused on epidemic insurance policies in 2020. There was a significant number of queries related to such policies during the first wave of coronavirus. The dynamic development of the COVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland and abroad and the consequent country-specific measures also led to a sharp rise in case numbers (from 147 to 313) in the travel insurance industry related to continual new coverage queries.
However, in the field of mandatory accident insurance/Accident Insurance Act (AIA) and military insurance, the number of queries fell by 20% (from 869 to 692). It is assumed that this is also a result of the lockdown imposed by the Federal Council on 16 March 2020. There was also a decrease in case numbers in most areas in the private insurance sector. This may be attributable to changes in life circumstances during the health crisis on one hand (e.g. fewer cases of burglary and theft), but also to policyholders focusing their attention on the coronavirus situation and its consequences (e.g. working from home, change in recreational habits etc.).
The Ombudsman's website can be found here and the Ombudsman's annual reports can be found here.