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Revision to the Swiss Insurance Contract Act: what is changing for you?

Feb 18, 2022.

The Swiss Insurance Policies Act governs the relationship between insurance companies and their customers. The revision means that new rules apply from 1 January 2022. Below is an overview of the key changes so that you know exactly what your rights are.

The revision to the insurance act has many benefits for you as a customer and applies to all private insurance contracts. For example, it applies to third party liability insurance, legal protection insurance, vehicle insurance and health and accident insurance. It does not apply to basic health insurance, however.

 

Six key changes and benefits for you:

 

14-day right of cancellation for policyholders

If you sign an insurance application, you can now cancel the conclusion of the contract within 14 days. The 14 days start from the date that you sign the application. The date on which you send the cancellation determines whether you fall within the 14-day cancellation period; this is not determined by the date that the insurance provider receives the cancellation. We recommend sending the letter by registered mail so you are able to prove that you met the deadline.

  • Example: You signed an insurance application on 4 January 2022. The cancellation period starts on this date. You have until 18 January 2022 to send the cancellation letter to the insurance provider.
  • Good to know: The insurance provider is obliged to notify you of this right of cancellation in a form that allows proof by text. If you are not made aware of your right of cancellation, or if you are only made aware of it after the 14-day cancellation period has expired, you have four weeks to exercise your right from the date on which you are made aware of it.

 

Template letter for the right of cancellation in accordance with the information obligation

A template letter can be found here; you can use this to exercise your right of cancellation in accordance with the information obligation.

 

Ordinary right of cancellation after three years

All insurance contracts can now be cancelled after a three-year term of contract and in all subsequent years. This is the case even if a longer term of contract has been agreed without a right of cancellation. You are required to meet a period of notice of three months. Cancellation must be made in writing or in another form that allows proof via text.

  • Example: You concluded a health insurance contract with a term of five years on 1 November 2019. You can cancel the contract by 31 July 2022 with effect from 31 October 2022, as the contract has been in place for more than three years.
  • Good to know: Cancellation after a three-year term of contract also applies to contracts concluded before 1 January 2022.

 

The parties may also mutually agree a shorter term of contract and a shorter period of notice. However, the period of notice must be the same for both parties.

 

Template letter for a right of cancellation after three years

Use our template cancellation letter; to exercise your right of cancellation.

 

Unilateral right of cancellation for health insurance in the event of a claim

Sometimes, your health insurance provider cancels your supplementary insurance after you have reported a claim that is then paid for by the health insurance provider. This is referred to as “Cancellation in the event of a claim”. From now on, only policyholders can cancel insurance in the event of a claim. This means that only you as the customer can cancel your insurance policy if you report a claim. The health insurance provider can no longer cancel in this case.

  • Example: You have supplementary insurance cover for alternative medicine. You ask your health insurance provider to reimburse you for sessions for exactly this kind of alternative medicine. Your health insurance provider reimburses you for this. You now have the right to cancel the policy. Check the period of notice in the General Policy Conditions first. If there is no mention of this, you can cancel on payment of the compensation at the latest. However, your insurance provider cannot cancel in this case.

 

Unilateral right of cancellation for supplementary health insurance

A template letter can be found here; you can send this to your health insurance provider if you want to cancel your policy after such a claim.

 

Limitation period extended from two to five years

From 1 January 2022, it is possible to extend insurance benefits to up to five years after a claim event.

  • Example: You accidentally cause damage to a flat that you rent. From the date on which the damage is caused, you now have five years to report the claim to your insurance provider for them to cover the costs of this.
  • Important: This does not apply to daily sickness benefits insurance. The limitation period for this is still two years. In addition, events that occurred before 1 January 2022 are still subject to a two-year limitation period.

 

Electronic communication

In future, communications can be sent electronically and no longer only require the written form with a handwritten signature. It is also no longer necessary for you to sign contractual documents. You can simply send an e-mail if you want to cancel your insurance, for example.

  • Good to know: This also applies to contracts concluded before 1 January 2022.

 

General direct right to make a claim for all third party liability insurance

If someone causes you damage, you can contact that person’s third party liability insurance provider directly for compensation.

  • Example: You lend your smartphone to a friend. Your friend drops it and it breaks. You can contact your friend’s third party liability insurance provider directly to be compensated for this damage.

About the author

«The revision to the Swiss Insurance Policies Act was long overdue. Insured persons’ interests are better taken into consideration in the new version.»

 

Jennifer Couto, Lawyer at Fortuna Legal Protection Insurance

Jennifer Couto, a lawyer at Fortuna, has been a legal consultant since January 2020. In her day-to-day work, she develops pragmatic solutions in many fields of law, such as tenancy, employment and consumer law. She is also responsible for coordinating projects aimed at improving the customer experience.

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