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Key points in brief

  • Having the right insurance is crucial for SMEs wanting to protect themselves against the financial consequences of unforeseen events, including fire, natural hazards, liability claims, accidents or illness suffered by employees and cyberattacks.
  • Some insurance, such as old-age and survivors’ insurance (AHV), occupational benefits insurance (BVG) and accident insurance (UVG), is compulsory. This may depend on the company form and the salaries it pays to its employees.
  • If you would like to change your SME insurance, our partner Zurich Insurance offers insurance solutions at favorable conditions and will also provide a free offer comparison.

Entrepreneurs and company founders have a great deal to do in performing their everyday work, meaning that the topic of “insurance” often takes a back seat. However, the dream of owning your own company can quickly fade if you fail to protect yourself properly. Just imagine, for example, that

  • your warehouse is flooded,
  • hackers steal sensitive client data and threaten to damage your reputation,
  • a defective product leads to claims for damages
  • or the euro appreciates greatly in value, meaning you can no longer afford to deliver your goods to the EU.

Scenarios such as these can blindside any SME and lead to significant financial burdens. Only those that protect themselves against risks with the right SME insurance can look ahead confidently to a self-determined future for their company.

The following tips will help you in successfully insuring your SME.

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Which types of SME insurance are compulsory?

In Switzerland, certain types of insurance are compulsory. Companies that fail to have the following insurance in place are in breach of their legal obligations:

Pillar 1: Old-age and survivors’ insurance (AHV), invalidity insurance (IV) and income replacement insurance (EO)

Pillar 1 (AHV, IV, EO) represents compulsory insurance in Switzerland. It applies to self-employed individuals as well as owners of joint-stock (AG) and limited liability (GmbH) companies and their employees.

Old-age and survivors’ insurance (AHV) is the state pension insurance scheme and aims to provide financial security in old age and for surviving dependents in the event of death. In principle, all employees resident in Switzerland are subject to AHV contributions.

Invalidity insurance (IV), which is likewise part of pillar 1, covers the financial consequences of disability, while income replacement insurance (EO) covers loss of earnings for employees performing military service or civil defense or who are on maternity or paternity leave.

Unemployment insurance (ALV)

Unemployment insurance is compulsory for all employees in Switzerland. Self-employed individuals are not eligible for this insurance. If, however, you are self-employed yourself and employ staff, these employees have to be insured with ALV.

Occupational pension provision (BVG)

Under pillar 2 (occupational pension provision, BVG), employees are insured against the risks of disability and death from the age of 17. After employees turn 24, additional savings are also made for old age. BVG is compulsory for all employees who earn CHF 22,050 or more per year.

Accident insurance (LAI)

Accident insurance is also compulsory for employees working in Switzerland. It protects your employees in the event of accidents, covers potential loss of earnings and pays for any hospital and medical costs.

Professional indemnity / commercial liability insurance

Depending on the company in question, liability insurance may also be mandatory. This is true in the case of lawyers, for example. Liability insurance for SMEs covers personal injury and property damage suffered by third parties as well as the costs of defense against unjustified claims.

As is the case with private individuals, liability claims can drive a company to the wall. We therefore recommend that all SMEs take out liability insurance.

What other insurance can an SME take out?

Group daily sickness benefits insurance: While this insurance is not compulsory, it is highly recommended for SMEs. If employees fall ill, employers are legally required to continue paying their salary for a certain period of time. In such cases, daily sickness benefits insurance covers the salary costs, thus providing financial relief.

Property insurance: Property insurance provides protection for the company’s physical property, including its buildings, inventory, equipment and supplies. It covers damage that may be caused by fire, theft, natural hazards or other risks.

Business interruption insurance: This supplementary property insurance module covers the financial consequences of business interruptions that may arise owing to natural disasters, fire or other unforeseen events.

Machinery and IT insurance: This SME insurance provides protection in the event of damage suffered due to defective machines, devices or computer systems or their theft.

Cyber insurance: In 2022, 61 percent of Swiss companies fell foul of a cyberattack .* Cyber insurance from Zurich protects you against the financial consequences of a cyberattack, including the costs associated with data and system recovery. You will also receive support in the form of cyber crisis management and are covered against claims for damages from clients and partners. Find out more about cyber insurance from Zurich.

Currency hedging: While hedging currency risks is not a traditional form of insurance, it also provides you with protection at crucial moments. This is because currency fluctuations can, under certain circumstances, represent a major risk for companies that conduct business abroad. If, for example, you purchase raw materials from abroad and the foreign currency of the country in question suddenly appreciates massively in value, your margin will shrink, which could plunge your company into financial difficulties. Currency hedging allows you to reduce this risk. Find out more.

In addition to the SME insurance listed above, there are many other specialized insurance products. As every company is exposed to different risks and also assesses them differently, there is no standard solution for SMEs. It is therefore important that you seek individual advice for your SME.

* According to the Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index 2022

Secure rewards when taking out your SME insurance

If you take out SME insurance with Zurich as a UBS client, you can benefit from many advantages:

  • Up to a 30 percent discount on insurance policies
  • Free legal advice within the first year for start-ups
  • Flexible contracts with an annual right of termination

Are you new to UBS? If so, in addition to the aforementioned benefits, you will receive the UBS banking package free of charge for two years.

Get convenient advice on your SME insurance now online or by calling 0848 77 11 22.

Would you like to have your current insurance situation reviewed, cancel existing insurance contracts or take out new policies?

Below, we answer the most frequently asked questions about changing insurance.

Your insurance comparison from Zurich

Are you thinking about changing your insurance or have you already received an offer?

At 0848 77 11 22, a Zurich advisory team is exclusively on hand to advise you on suitable SME insurance and, should you wish, will compare offers from other providers. Get an offer comparison from Zurich – simple, free and with no obligations.

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