The insurance undertakings active in the motor third party liability insurance branch constitute and administrate together the National Guarantee Fund. The NGF is an association and has its own legal personality. The tasks and the financing of the Swiss National Guarantee Fund are ruled by Articles 76, 76a and 76b of the Swiss Road Traffic Law (SVG).
The NGF covers the third party liability for damages caused in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein by unidentified or uninsured motor vehicles and trailers (art. 76 par. 2 lit. a number 1 SVG). It also covers the third party liability for damages caused in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein by users of bicycles and devices which can be assimilated to a vehicle. However, it is a precondition that the offender cannot be identified or that the damage is neither covered by the latter nor a third party liability insurance or a third liable party nor another insurance (art. 76 par. 2 lit. a number 2 SVG).
Furthermore, the NGF covers the third party liability for damages caused by motor vehicles or trailers which are registered in Switzerland or Liechtenstein, provided that the liable MTPL insurer has been declared bankrupt (art. 76 par. 2 lit. b SVG).
Claims settlement is carried out by the signatories of the Swiss Interclaims Agreement. This cooperation is based on the Claims Regulations of the NBI & NGF.
The tasks of the National Guarantee Fund of Liechtenstein are fulfilled by the Swiss NGF (art. 1 of the exchange of notes dated November 3, 2003 between Switzerland and Liechtenstein).
In case a claim for a road traffic accident was brought into court, the NGF would have to be the defendant (art. 76b par. 1 SVG). In other words, legal action has to be taken against the NGF and not against a representative. Representatives of the NGF are Zurich or another member company.
According to Art. 38 of the Civil Procedure Code (ZPO), the following courts have jurisdiction:
The NGF's head office is situated in Zurich, at the siege of the managing company Zurich Insurance Company Ltd. The NGF has branch offices in Lugano and in Lausanne.
If the plaintiff is a resident of the Principality of Liechtenstein, not only the court at the place where the accident occurred but also the courts at the plaintiff's domicile in Liechtenstein and the courts at the NGF's domicile or at the place of an NGF branch office have jurisdiction (see the treaty concluded between Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein).
In case of damages caused by unidentified or uninsured motor vehicles, trailers and bicycles, the liability of the NGF is merely of subsidiary nature. In the second degree, the liability of the NGF is reduced in a proportion corresponding to the indemnities which can be claimed from damage insurances and social insurers (art. 76 par. 4 SVG). In other words, the claimant has to address his claim primarily to these undertakings. These undertakings do not have any right of recourse against the NGF.
Material damage deductible of CHF 1000 per victim normally applies in cases of liability for damages caused by unidentified motor vehicles, trailers and bicycles (see Art. 76 Swiss Road Traffic Act). It is not applicable if the injuring party is liable for considerable personal injuries due to the same accident (Art. 52 par. 3 of the Swiss Motor Insurance Ordinance VVV). Personal injury is deemed to be serious when a medical consultation is objectively required (consultation of a physician or in a hospital).
A different regulation applies when the accident occurs in Liechtenstein. According to Art. 53 par. 3 of the Ordinance on vehicle insurance (VVV), the excess amounts to EUR 500 or the equivalent in Swiss Francs.
Claims are handled by member companies in the name of the NGF. Handlers are entitled to be compensated with a handling fee. At the same time, handling fees do not have any effect on payments to victims. A regulation for the handling of claims in the name of the NGF was introduced in 2009 and has been amended in 2012. It applies to all pending cases as per 1 May 2012.
The NGF tries to reclaim costs from persons responsible for accidents in all events of damage. The NGF is entitled to a complete right of recourse to any indemnification paid. Revenues generated by recourses are low compared to claims payments, since in most cases the persons responsible for accidents cannot be identified.