Legislation NBI

The main provisions concerning the organisation, the tasks and the funding of the NBI are contained in art. 74 ff. of the Road Traffic Law (SVG) and art. 39 ff. of the Legal Ordinance on Vehicle Insurance (VVV). The legal tasks of the NBI consist in covering road traffic accidents caused by foreign vehicles, in operating the National Information Centre and in coordinating the conclusion of frontier insurance policies (art. 74 par. 2 SVG).

Basic principles

The insurance undertakings active in the motor third party liability insurance branch constitute and administrate together the National Bureau of Insurance, which has its own legal personality (art. 74 par. 1 SVG). The affiliation to the NBI is a precondition to obtain the authorisation to carry out the motor third party liability insurance business from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA (art. 13 of the insurance supervision law VAG).

The tasks of the National Bureau of Liechtenstein are fulfilled by the NBI (art. 1 of the exchange of notes dated 3.11.2010 between Switzerland and Liechtenstein).

The NBI covers the third party liability for damages caused in Switzerland and Liechtenstein by foreign vehicles or trailers, provided that there is a legal obligation of insurance according to the road traffic law (art. 74 par. 2 lit. a SVG). The NBI also coordinates the conclusion of frontier insurance policies for vehicles entering Switzerland and Liechtenstein which do not dispose of sufficient insurance cover (art. 74 par. 2 lit. c SVG).

Taking into consideration that many different representation relations may apply, it has to be pointed out that in case a claim for a road traffic accident was brought into court, the NBI would have to be the defendant (art. 76b par. 1 SVG). In other words, legal action has to be taken against the NBI, and not its representative (that means neither "Zurich" nor another representative as a member company or a claim handling company).

According to art. 38 of the Civil Procedure Code (ZPO), the court of the place of the accident, the court of the place of the registered office of the NBI and the court of the place where the NBI has a branch office are competent in case of a lawsuit filed against the NBI. The registered office of the NBI is situated at the registered office of the managing insurer in Zurich. Furthermore, the NBI has two registered branch offices, one in Lausanne, and the other in Lugano. According to the previously mentioned exchange of notes between Switzerland and Liechtenstein, persons which have their residence in Liechtenstein can take legal action against the NBI in Liechtenstein in addition to the previously mentioned places.

The handling fee applicable in the relations between bureaux is calculated in accordance with the rules approved by the Council of Bureaux during the General Assembly 2001 in Andorra. The Swiss correspondent is free to agree with the insurer that requested its approval the method for calculating its handling fees. 

Handling fees NBI...

Information Centre

According to art. 74 par. 2 lit. b SVG in relation with art. 79a SVG, the NBI also administers the Information Centre, which provides road traffic victims and social security bodies with the information required to address their claim to the competent body. This task has to be connected to the autonomous application of the European motor insurance directives carried out by Switzerland. In a broader context, it has to be linked with the rest of the provisions of the directives tending to protect road traffic victims, such as the introduction of a time limit of three month to provide a reasoned reply, the nomination of claims representatives and the possibility given to the victim to address its claim to a compensation body in case the claim is not settled within the legal time limits (art. 79b-d SVG).

Considering the fact that Switzerland is neither a member of the EU nor the EEA, these provisions do not apply in an international context (because of the lack of reciprocity foreseen by art. 79e SVG). To bridge the gap, the NBI concluded so called "visitors protection" agreements with the competent insurers associations of the EEA member states.