With immediate effect, Helvetia is stopping all reminder and warning letters until 30 June 2020 for premium invoices due from 1 February 2020 (e.g. for SME business insurance, public liability insurance, etc.). Even if the premium has not been paid, your cover will not be suspended.
Additionally, many SMEs are currently dependent on a car. For this reason, orders to remove number plates will not be triggered for outstanding premiums for motor vehicle insurance policies (including fleets).
When a claim is made, Helvetia will immediately release all payments to the biller.
For commercial tenants who can prove that they are experiencing a loss of income as a result of the coronavirus crisis and who are starting to experience financial hardship, Helvetia is offering the opportunity to apply for rent deferrals. Helvetia is thus helping to ensure that a liquidity cushion is available quickly and easily. Helvetia is open to finding individual solutions with its tenants.
The federal government has provided a relief fund through which a part of the economic losses can be offset through short-time work compensation. It has also promised further support, such as bridging loans.
Your Helvetia advisors will be happy to assist you with any applications. Our partner Coop Rechtsschutz will also be happy to help you with any questions you may have.
We are currently experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime event – a worldwide pandemic whose consequences cannot be foreseen. Whereas an epidemic is limited in terms of time and geographic scope – and is also covered by Helvetia for its Swiss business customers – pandemics are usually very difficult to insure because they are almost impossible to calculate and can entail enormous consequences. Key mechanisms for insurance companies, such as collective compensation, do not work in this case because it is no longer just individual companies that are affected but almost all companies. In a pandemic, government support is required, such as the decisions taken by the Federal Council on 20 March.
The exclusion of a pandemic from Helvetia’s epidemic insurance is well considered. Exclusions are an important instrument for insurance companies that protect them against major risks that would threaten their existence. This is in the interest of all premium payers, on the one hand, and also in that of the target group, on the other, as only in this way is the premium due for the target group. This fine-tuned system must not simply be overturned, even in an exceptional situation.
Only around 1% of Helvetia’s 150,000 corporate customers in Switzerland have taken out this product. However, Helvetia bears a responsibility to all its customers. A clear pandemic exclusion clause is thus stipulated in its Standard Terms of Insurance (STI). This is about implementing a contractual agreement that does not provide insurance in pandemics.
Helvetia is constantly reviewing how it can support those of its customers affected by this exceptional situation. For example, it has suspended reminder and legal reminder processes, granted corporate customers a deferral on premiums and is making claim payments with immediate effect. Together with Coop Rechtsschutz, Helvetia’s advisors are also assisting with requests for government support.
All corporate customers with a Helvetia SME business insurance policy enjoy the benefit of two free legal consultations by phone each year to discuss matters pertaining to the insured company – regardless of the legal area (including debt collection issues). If you have any specific questions, our partner COOP Rechtsschutz will be happy to assist you: +41 62 836 00 57.
If you also have a Helvetia policy to cover legal expenses, the costs for legal advice and lawyer’s fees are also insured, in any case up to at least CHF 5,000, for many areas of law up to CHF 500,000 (e.g. for labour, tenancy, leasing law, insurance disputes). The scope of insurance is described in your Helvetia SME business insurance policy. If you have any questions, please contact your customer advisor at Helvetia – they will be happy to help you.
Event insurance is primarily a type of property insurance that covers the loss of and damage to property, e.g. caused by bad weather or fire. Event cancellation insurance is available as an additional cover to pay for direct financial losses incurred from a cancellation, interruption or postponement of the insured event, provided that the cancellation falls into an insured event category such as a storm, hail, fire, etc.
What is not covered, for example, are cancellations that come as a result of an artist cancelling or falling ill or cancellations due to directives issued by government authorities. For this reason, events that have to be cancelled due to the officially mandated measures for curbing the spread of COVID-19 are not covered.
Helvetia is continuously exploring ways to help our customers affected by this crisis. Our advisors will be happy to assist you if you have any further questions.
If a trip is cancelled, the organiser, as a contractual partner, is generally responsible for assuming the costs. We recommend that you contact the organiser first. In many cases, services already booked, such as flights or hotel accommodation, can be cancelled or rebooked free of charge.
The Federal Council has strongly recommended refraining from all non-urgent travel abroad, as there is a risk of infection with COVID-19 worldwide. Helvetia’s travel insurance therefore covers the cancellation costs for all trips booked before 13 March 2020 that would have taken place up to and including 30 April 2020, unless the individuals in question have already been reimbursed by the service provider.
If you or your employees are currently abroad and need to return to Switzerland early, Helvetia will cover the additional transport costs of directly returning to Switzerland for up to CHF 10,000 per insured person.
If you are quarantined abroad, thus extending your stay, Helvetia will cover the additional costs incurred, such as additional hotel accommodation, for amounts of up to CHF 2,000 per insured person per day. Additional travel-related costs, e.g. rebooking flights, will be covered for amounts of up to CH 10,000 per insured person.
In terms of occupational benefits Helvetia does not distinguish between "normal" illnesses and illness resulting from epidemics or pandemics.The same conditions therefore apply to coronavirus illnesses as for other illnesses.
The applicable employee benefit regulations govern all claims made by beneficiaries. Our pension fund regulations do not make any special provision or stipulate any cover restrictions in the event of a pandemic.
In a crisis, a company can temporarily reduce or suspend the working hours of its employees by means of short-time working. This means that the federal government will pay 80% of the resulting loss of income for employees affected by short-time working.
In the event of short-time working, the current insured salary remains unchanged in the pension fund. No salary notifications/changes to working hours will be made in such cases. The contributions and the insured benefits remain the same.
For employees, the full employee contribution to the pension fund will be deducted in the event of short-time working. This also applies to other social security contributions. The employer also has to continue paying the full social security contributions.
The federal government has decided that in the current exceptional economic situation persons who, pursuant to the relevant provisions, are not entitled to short-time working compensation will also be eligible. These include persons with a fixed-term employment contract, trainees and persons in an employer-comparable position.
As a result of the coronavirus crisis many companies are having to bridge financial shortfalls and safeguard their liquidity. Available employer contribution reserves may also be used temporarily to pay employee contributions to the occupational benefit scheme. They can be used in full.
This measure can be used to bridge a liquidity shortfall. It does not affect the amount of the contributions. The deductions from employees’ salaries will remain unchanged too.
Employer contribution reserves – What are they?
Companies can build up a voluntary reserve in their occupational benefit scheme with which to finance the employer’s contributions at a later date. These payments are managed in separate accounts. These transfers can be deducted from the taxable net income, as with regular contribution payments.
Once paid in they are available only for the intended purposes, and a withdrawal is no longer possible.
With this measure the Federal Council has temporarily eased the strict purpose-related restriction.
In terms of daily sickness benefits insurance Helvetia does not distinguish between "normal" illnesses and illness resulting from epidemics or pandemics. The same conditions therefore apply to coronavirus illnesses as for other illnesses.