With the entry into force of the revised Insurance Supervision Act and the revised Insurance Supervision Ordinance, insurance intermediation in Switzerland will be subject to new regulation from 1 January 2024. For the purpose of ensuring better client protection, the new regulation increases the regulatory requirements applicable to insurance intermediaries and introduces new criteria for supervision by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority ("FINMA"). From 1 January 2024, only insurance intermediaries who meet these increased requirements will be authorized to operate in the Swiss insurance market.
In this context, FINMA just published guidance which details the new obligations that insurance intermediaries will have to comply with from 1 January 2024 and outlines critical forthcoming actions that insurance intermediaries must undertake.
Consequently, FINMA is inviting participants within the insurance sector to ascertain whether their planned or ongoing activities fall under the category of insurance intermediation and whether such activities will be conducted in a tied or untied capacity. New applications for registration in FINMA's public register before the end of the year must be submitted via FINMA's online intermediary portal until 17 November 2023. Changes to existing registrations must be submitted via the same online portal until 15 December 2023. As previously indicated, untied insurance intermediaries who are currently registered must submit follow-up documentation to FINMA by 30 June 2024. Foreign insurance intermediaries will have to provide FINMA with a domicile for service in Switzerland until 30 June 2024.
Of note, insurance companies will also have obligations to fulfil in connection with their intermediation activities. They will in particular have to ensure that the insurance intermediaries with whom they collaborate meet the relevant regulatory requirements (e.g., registration of untied insurance intermediaries in FINMA's public register). Collaborating with non-compliant insurance intermediaries constitutes an unauthorized activity and will be investigated by FINMA as part of its ongoing supervision of insurance companies.
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