Insurance News

Insurance in Switzerland: Popularity Survey

March 5, 2019 - Benjamin Manz

A representative survey by independent online comparison service reveals the popularity of different insurance products among Swiss consumers. The results show that the reach, popularity and customer loyalty vary significantly between genders, age groups and regions.

Switzerland is the land of insurance, but how do Swiss insurance products perform in popularity polls? A survey by unbiased online comparison service aimed to answer that question. Participants were asked which insurance products they use and to indicate how satisfied they are with their insurance services.

The verdict: Some insurance products are vastly more popular than others. That pattern shows in the numbers of policies in use, the levels of importance placed on individual insurance types by consumers, customer satisfaction levels and customer readiness to migrate to other insurance providers.

The most widely-used insurance products

Basic health insurance is the most widely-used insurance product by far – which is only logical because it is legally compulsory for all residents of Switzerland. The second most popular insurance product is liability insurance, which is used by 71% of adults between the ages of 18 and 74 years old. It is followed by household insurance (70%), car insurance (64%), supplementary hospital insurance (41%), legal insurance (39%), travel insurance (39%), supplementary health insurance (26%), the simple theft away from home rider for household insurance (25%), loss of income insurance (18%) and whole life insurance (16%). Other insurance products with a fair reach include term life insurance (9%), mobile phone insurance (9%), home rental deposit insurance pledges (8%), pet insurance (5%) and cyber insurance (2%).

Satisfaction varies between insurance products

Survey participants were asked to state their satisfaction with insurance products on a scale of 1 (completely unsatisfied) to 10 (fully satisfied). The results show that on average, Swiss insurance policy holders are content with their insurance coverages. But satisfaction varies between insurance categories.

The highest levels of satisfaction are seen in car insurance (8.3 out of 10 points). This is followed by accident insurance, motorcycle insurance, liability insurance, household insurance and travel insurance – each of which scored 8.2 points. Next on the customer satisfaction ladder are mobile phone insurance (8 points), legal insurance (7.9 points), supplementary hospital insurance (7.8 points), earthquake insurance (7.8), supplementary health insurance (7.7 points), whole life insurance (7.7 points), term life insurance (7.7 points) and loss of income insurance (7.7 points). Insurance products which received lower customer satisfaction ratings include compulsory health insurance (7.5 points), compulsory Old Age and Survivors Insurance (7.5 points), home rental deposit insurance pledges (7.5 points), unemployment insurance and cyber insurance (7.4 points each).

“The high level of customer satisfaction with car insurance surprised us,” says CEO Benjamin Manz. One possible explanation for the low customer satisfaction with home rental deposit insurance and cyber insurance is that consumers may not fully understand how these insurance products work when they sign up for them. Cyber insurance, for example, only covers very specific expenses related to Internet use. In the case of home rental deposit insurance, many policyholders do not understand that this insurance protects their landlords and not them as renters.

Importance of insurances to consumers

Switzerland is a land of insurance consumers. It is not surprising then that Swiss insurance policy holders generally consider their insurance policies to be a worthwhile investment. But the importance placed on insurance varies between insurance categories.

Employer-based accident insurance is the insurance product which Swiss consider to be the most valuable: 92% of those covered by this insurance consider it to be somewhat important to very important. This is followed by car insurance (90% of policy holders find it important), liability insurance (89%), Old Age and Survivors Insurance (88%), motorcycle insurance (88%), household insurance (87%), loss of income insurance (87%), whole life insurance (85%), pet insurance (85%), compulsory health insurance (84%), supplementary hospital insurance (84%), unemployment insurance (83%), the simple theft away from home rider for household insurance (83%), cyber insurance (81%), supplementary health insurance (80%) and legal insurance (80%).

Insurance products which scored less highly with regards to importance include travel insurance (78%), term life insurance (75%), mobile phone insurance (75%), home rental deposit insurance pledges (73%) and earthquake insurance (67%).

Readiness to migrate varies between insurance types

Swiss are generally loath to switch service providers, and this is apparent in insurance as well. The majority of survey participants do not see themselves migrating to different insurance providers within the next few years. Only 11% of life insurance policy holders see a move to another insurance within the next few years as likely or very likely. 14% of household insurance and legal insurance policy holders see a move as likely to very likely. Health insurance is the one sector in which willingness to migrate is fairly high. Around one-fourth (25%) of policy holders are likely or very likely to migrate to different health insurance providers within the next few years.

Differences between French-speaking and German-speaking Switzerland

One notable pattern across virtually all insurance types is the fact that German-speaking Swiss are generally more satisfied with their insurance coverages than their French-speaking counterparts. That also applies to Old Age and Survivors Insurance (7.3 out of 10 points on average in French-speaking Switzerland, 7.6 points on average in German-speaking Switzerland), unemployment insurance (7 points in French-speaking Switzerland, 7.6 points in German-speaking Switzerland) and compulsory health insurance (7.1 points in French-speaking Switzerland, 7.8 points in German-speaking Switzerland). Not surprisingly, readiness to migrate between insurance providers is also significantly higher among French-speaking Swiss than among German-speaking Swiss.

Notable differences are also apparent in the market penetration of different insurance types. For example, home rental deposit insurance pledges are much more widely used in French-speaking Switzerland (13%) than they are in German-speaking Switzerland (5%). Whole life insurance and legal insurance are also more widely used in French-speaking Switzerland. Supplementary health insurance, on the other hand, is more widely used in German-speaking Switzerland.

Age-based differences

Depending on the insurance type, age-based differences are also apparent. The fact that people are more likely to take out certain insurance types as they get older and their financial situations improve is hardly surprising.

Car insurance is one example of an insurance which is more popular among older adults (many young adults cannot yet afford cars): 29% of adults aged 18 to 25, 64% of adults aged 26 to 49 years old and 76% of adults aged 50 to 74 years old have car insurance. Demand for household insurance, liability insurance, travel insurance and legal insurance also increases with age. But there are exceptions to the rule: Nearly one-fifth (18%) of young adults have mobile phone insurance, compared to just 8% of adults in the middle-aged group and 7% of older adults.

The importance placed on insurance also increases with age. “Young adults have less money to spend on insurance and generally have less responsibilities than older insurance users. The importance which they place on insurance is, correspondingly, lower,” states Benjamin Manz.

On the whole, insurance customer satisfaction levels increase with age. A possible explanation for this pattern is that older individuals are more likely to have made use of their insurance coverages by claiming insurance benefits, rather than just paying insurance premiums. The Old Age and Survivors Insurance is a good example of this. While adults between the ages of 18 and 25 and those between the ages of 26 and 49 scored this insurance 7 points out of 10 for customer satisfaction, adults aged 50 to 74 years old scored it 7.8 out of 10 points.

Car insurance customer satisfaction also increases with age. This effect is likely amplified by the fact that young drivers are typically required to pay higher premiums and have higher deductibles than older drivers. However, there are also insurances which show higher customer satisfaction levels among young adults than among other age groups. The simple theft away from home rider for household insurance and unemployment insurance are two examples.

Differences between women and men

Women are generally more satisfied with their insurance coverages than men. This pattern is most notable in compulsory health insurance (women: 7.8 out of 10 points, men: 7.3 points), car insurance (women: 8.4 points, men: 8.1 points) and mobile phone insurance (women: 8.3 points, men: 7.8 points). Women are less ready to migrate between insurance providers than their male counterparts.

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Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of and an independent expert on banking and finance.