All companies in Switzerland, including large, small or medium sized enterprises and startups are required to take out accident insurance (occupational and non-occupational) for employees working more than eight hours per week.
This is done via a company accident insurance plan which covers employees both against accidents in the workplace and non-occupational accidents.
Federal, industrial and construction enterprises must register with the accident insurance provider Suva. Service enterprises, on the other hand, can get coverage from a list of private insurers. Some of the best-known private accident insurance providers are Allianz, Axa Winterthur, Baloise, Helsana, Mobiliar and Zurich.
What does accident insurance cover?
The coverage provided by compulsory accident insurance is laid out in the Federal Accident Insurance Act and all insurers are required to provide the stipulated coverage. In this regard, Swiss accident insurance is similar to the Swiss compulsory health insurance. However, unlike health insurance, the insured person is not obligated to pay a deductible or a copayment.
The obligatory accident insurance covers all of the costs of treatment for injuries sustained in an accident, including doctor and dentist visits, medication, hospital stays (general ward), compensation for lost income after the third day of absence (80 percent of salary), life-long benefits in the case of permanent disablement (80 percent of salary), and survivor’s benefits to provide for the insured person’s dependents in the case of their death.
More comprehensive coverage is available on an optional basis via supplementary accident insurance policies. However, these come at an additional cost to the employer or employee.
Accident insurance: who pays what?
The choice of which insurance policy to take out is up to the employer, but has a direct effect on employees as well. Employers are required to pay occupational accident insurance premiums. Non-occupational accident insurance, on the other hand, is normally deducted from employee wages. This is completely legal.
What many people don’t know: Premiums for non-occupational accidents – which normally must be paid by employees – are many times higher than occupational insurance premiums. Typically, non-occupational accident insurance premiums are twelve to thirteen times higher (sometimes even fifteen times higher) than occupational insurance premiums.
How are premiums calculated?
Comparing premiums is interesting both for employers and employees. On Swiss policies, final premiums are shown as a per-mille (‰) in relation to a salary. All charges are included in this sum, including the costs of administration and accident-prevention. Premiums for men and women are normally shown separately.
A defining factor in deciding how large a portion of your salary will go towards accident insurance is the risk level associated with your job description. If you have a typical office job, you will fall into a lower risk category than you would as an artisan. Because of this, premiums may vary depending on the nature of the company you work for, and the way in which risk is shared across employees is not exactly transparent.
Some insurers charge a minimum insurance premium (100 francs per occupational and non-occupational policy, for example), and this can affect you if your salary is low.
This example helps to clarify the way it works: The combined payroll of an office-based small business totals 1 million francs. The premium the company must pay for occupational accident insurance comes to 0.92‰ while the cost of non-occupational coverage totals 11.07‰. So the company’s annual premium in this case comes to 11,990 francs.
Paying insurance premiums correctly
Premiums are generally paid in advance, ahead of the coming year. Paying the entire premium as a lump-sum is cheaper than paying it off in installments. For example, paying your premiums quarterly may add up to 2% to your total insurance bill.
If your salary increases or decreases, these changes should be reported promptly. In any case, premiums will be adjusted in arrears.
Thousands of francs in potential savings
Premiums vary in a big way from policy to policy. Comparing offers ahead of time can save your company and employees thousands of francs per year.
Unfortunately, accident insurance providers do not make information about premiums available on the Internet, so you will have to request a quote. Which policy works out more affordable for your business and employees will depend on your company’s risk class. Make sure to get as many quotes as possible before settling on one insurer.
Get free quotes
Getting quotes for compulsory accident insurance can be done quickly and at no cost. Normally, only basic information is required. Be ready to provide the name, address and legal status of the company, employee payroll total (divided between men and women), and in some cases also the number of employees.
You do not have to provide the names of your employees or the exact allotment of salaries. Information about the nature of your business will generally be required in order for insurers to properly assess risk. Insurers will also check your company information as recorded in the commercial register.
Tips for choosing the right accident insurance
Get useful tips about accident insurance in this summary:
- Always request quotes from multiple insurers and compare the premiums.
- The risk category your company is placed into makes a big difference in the premiums you pay. But the exact definitions of which companies qualify for different categories are not set in stone. Negotiate!
- If you can prove that your company has had few or no accidents in the past, make sure to mention this. You may be eligible for major accident-free discounts.
- If your company needs other insurance coverage, as well as accident insurance, make sure to request quotes for both from all relevant insurers. Multiple-policy discounts can knock 5% off combined premiums.
- Stick to annually renewable policies, as these offer more flexibility.
- Pay your premium as a lump-sum when possible. Breaking down your premium into multiple smaller payments can add up to 2% to the total cost.
- Interim accident insurance: As an employee you can extend the accident insurance coverage you get after leaving a job by up to 6 months. You can find out more about interim accident insurance here.
The moneyland.ch team