on the placement of insurance companies under group or conglomerate supervision
status: 15 December 2010
These guidelines are intended to explain the application of the requirements for the placement of in-
surance groups and conglomerates under FINMA's supervision and to outline the procedural approach
adopted by FINMA. They do not constitute any legal rights.
Scope of application
Under Art. 64 of the Insurance Supervision Act (ISA; SR 961.01), an insurance group is formed by
two or more companies if at least one of them is an insurance company, they operate as a whole pri-
marily in the insurance sector, and they constitute an economic unit, or are otherwise interlinked
through influence or control.
According to Art. 72 ISA, an insurance conglomerate is formed by two or more companies if at least
one of them is an insurance company, at least one of them is a bank or a securities broker of substan-
tial economic significance, they operate as a whole primarily in the insurance sector, and they consti-
tute an economic unit or are otherwise interlinked through influence or control.
Under Art. 65 and 73 ISA, FINMA may place an insurance group or an insurance conglomerate that
has an undertaking in Switzerland under group or conglomerate supervision, which is complementary
to individual supervision. As a prerequisite, the insurance group or conglomerate is actually managed
from Switzerland, or from a foreign country, but no equivalent group or conglomerate supervision is
exercised in that country.
I. Supervision of insurance groups
The criteria for placing insurance groups under supervision can be derived in particular from the fol-
lowing objectives of supervision: securing solvency, securing financial stability, and preventing market
and competition distortions.
Moreover, the application of these rules, which complement individual supervision, is to take the prin-
ciple of proportionality into account.
Einsteinstrasse 2, 3003 Bern
Phone +41 (0)31 327 91 00, Fax +41 (0)31 327 91 01
Based on these considerations, groups are therefore placed under supervision if they fulfil at least one
of the following criteria:
• International groups
In the case of large, internationally active insurance groups, the supervisory authority can only
comprehensively perform its duties if, in addition to information on the individual companies in its
home country, it also obtains an overview of the interaction of all the companies within a group.
• Complex group structures
Additional supervision is necessary and appropriate if the group has a complex structure. Complex
structures arise from the number and nested relationships of the involved companies, and from the
broadness of business areas covered.
If, on the basis of the above criteria, FINMA decides to place a group under supervision, the insurance
group is notified of this decision and placed under group supervision by way of an individual decree.
Under Art. 191 para. 3 of the Insurance Supervision Ordinance (ISO; SR 961.011), FINMA designates
the company that shall serve as a contact with respect to the responsibilities of the insurance group
under supervisory law.
Subsequently, the supervised insurance group must comply with Art. 64-71 ISA and Art. 191-203 ISO.
II. Supervision of insurance conglomerates
Complementary placement under conglomerate supervision is based on the criteria of group supervi-
sion. Furthermore, the characteristic of substantial economic significance of the financial sector (espe-
cially banks and securities brokers) for the conglomerate must be evident. This is assessed in accor-
dance with the following criteria:
The entire financial segment of a group must reach or exceed the following threshold values:
• the balance sheet total of the financial segment must amount to more than 10% of the balance
sheet total of the group; and
• the capital requirements for the financial area must amount to more than 10% of the solvency re-
quirements at group level.
An insurance conglomerate may also be placed under supervision if:
• the balance sheet total of the financial segment is greater than CHF 5 billion; or
• other important reasons justify placement of the group under conglomerate supervision.
If, on the basis of the above criteria, FINMA decides to place a conglomerate under supervision, the
insurance conglomerate is notified of this decision and placed under conglomerate supervision by way
of an individual decree. Under Art. 204 ISO in conjunction with Art. 191 para. 3 ISO (SR 961.011),
FINMA designates the company that shall serve as a contact regarding the responsibilities of the in-
surance conglomerate under supervisory legislation.
Subsequently, supervised insurance conglomerates must comply with Art. 72-79 ISA and Art. 204-206