At the Annual General Meeting 2014 of the Swiss Insurance Association (SIA) in Bern, the delegates elected three new members to the association's Managing Board. In his speech to the delegates, Urs Berger, Chairman of the SIA, underscored the importance of the private insurance industry as a driving force in Switzerland's economy, but warned of the consequences of the current trend towards excessive regulation. Guest speaker Federal Councillor Alain Berset informed the audience about the lead the Federal Council has taken in passing its Message on the Pension System 2020 Reform.
Bern, 27 June 2014 – The Swiss Insurance Association (SIA) today held its 84th Annual General Meeting in Bern. Managing Board members Philippe Egger, former CEO of Axa Winterthur, and Klaus-Peter Röhler, former CEO of Allianz Suisse, stepped down as of 31 December 2013, while Bruno Pfister, Group CEO, Swiss Life, resigned as of the date of the Annual General Meeting. Their positions were filled by the following new Managing Board members, whom the delegates elected today:
• Ivo Furrer, CEO Switzerland, Swiss Life
• Severin Moser, CEO, Allianz Suisse
• Antimo Perretta, CEO, Axa Winterthur
Addressing the insurance industry as guest speaker at the AGM, Federal Councillor Alain Berset called for the delegates’ constructive support of the Pension System 2020 reform: «The objective is a balanced reform.» He went on to show which lead the Federal Council has taken in passing its Message on the reform. In his view, the consultation procedure had evidenced support for two main goals – maintaining the current benefit levels and reforming the first and second pillar of the system. «Any successful reform will be based on these two requirements» he said. He also discussed the Federal Council’s modifications of the draft reform in reaction to the consultation results – such as capping VAT increases at 1.5 per cent or waiving the coordination offset.
In his chairman’s address, Urs Berger described the private insurance industry as being stable and highly efficient. «Once again, our industry has lived up to its reputation as a driving force in the Swiss economy. In terms of value added, the insurance sector is one of Switzerland's leading industries,» he stated. He went on to say that insurers had to fulfil quite diverse expectations and that they were one of the reasons for Switzerland's continued success. However, maintaining that success means re-evaluating the current trend towards excessive regulation. From the insurance industry's standpoint, the biggest risk in recent years are the interventions in the liberal economic system.
In his report as CEO of the SIA, Lucius Dürr elucidated the main areas in which the association had represented the interests of its members in 2013, focusing on the Pension System 2020 reform, various legislative processes related to social health insurance and regulatory developments. The association will continue to concentrate on these matters, as well as on the local impact of international trends. That is why insurers are paying close attention to regulatory projects at international level, such as FATCA and Solvency II.
The talks of the two guest speakers who rounded off the AGM centred around social change: Suzanne Thoma, CEO of BKW Energie AG, reflected upon altered perceptions of the economy by politicians and society and the resulting implications for the business world. Prof. Kurt Imhof of the Research Institute for the Public Sphere and Society at the University of Zurich described the changes of recent years in the media landscape and explained how the public's perception of the economy, politics and society had altered as a result.