Swiss car insurance premiums found to be based on nationality

Swiss car insurance premiums found to be based on nationality

A new report by LémanBlue has revealed that car insurance providers in Switzerland use nationality to calculate premiums. The Swiss newspaper found that the practise has existed since 1996 and that some nationalities pay almost double the price for insurance than others.

Kosovar drivers pay near double for car insurance in Switzerland

To discover how insurers charge based on nationality, the newspaper used a test case of a woman who has been driving since 2011, and was looking to insure a car dating from 2017. When the newspaper applied for civil liability insurance as a Swiss citizen, the amount came to 316 Swiss francs a month on average. Then, when changing the nationality to a person with a residence permit, such as an Italian national, the price rose to 341 francs. Then, when the newspaper applied as someone from Kosovo, the price jumped again to 612 Swiss francs.

The newspaper found that the differences between nationalities varied depending on the provider, but most companies still use the system. According to Jean Tschopp, from the Consumers’ Association of the Romande region, prices for car insurance may jump as much as “80 percent, depending on insurance and nationality. It is unjustifiable.”

Swiss insurers argue car insurance premiums based on statistics

When contacted by LémanBlue, insurance provider Axa said that their “pricing policy consists of setting the amount of the premium according to the risk of the driver and the vehicle. It is also based on several claims statistics, carried out over many years.” A spokesperson for Generali explained that their “criteria are re-examined at regular intervals and applied only if they have a good predictive capacity and are stable over time.”

The newspaper explained that the system came about in 1996, when "single premiums" for all drivers were scrapped and providers were able to charge different prices based on various criteria. While the practise of charging different insurance rates based on nationality is completely banned in Europe, the Swiss government found that the system was legal if it was applied uniformly to all drivers.

Equal premiums would mean subsiding accident-prone drivers, insurer says

In an investigation carried out by the state-run Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority in 2011, authorities found that the study "did not reveal any differences in premiums on the market depending on nationality that were not statistically justified or that they did not comply with actuarial principles in setting prices.”

Responding to LémanBlue's allegations, Axa said that a “standardised premium” for all nationalities would mean higher average prices for most people. “It would have the effect that people who statistically have fewer road accidents would be forced to finance those who have statistically more,” a spokesperson concluded.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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