The coronavirus is currently posing a major challenge to many companies. We are happy to provide you with information on this page about:
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you are uncertain or have any questions. We would be glad to help.
Do you as an entrepreneur need support on questions relating to the coronavirus or your insurance with AXA? If so, your personal advisor would be happy to provide you with assistance.
What you can expect from us:
Don't hesitate to contact us. We are always there for you.
If you don't have an advisor yet or don't have their contact details on hand, you can find a contact here.
The Federal government and the cantons are providing a large number of aid packages. But gaining an overall picture of what is on offer is really not easy – especially as there are differences from one canton to the next. We would like to help you. Working in collaboration with our partner Consulta, we have put together canton-specific coronavirus kits for companies.
AXA-ARAG lawyers have summarized the answers to our customers' most frequently asked legal questions.
Here you will find information about short-time work, shop closures and the general challenges being faced by employers.
The following links provide information about the coverage provided by your AXA insurance products:
Epidemic insurance: You can find information about the coverage provided by your epidemic insurance here.
"Professional" business travel insurance: You can find information about the coverage provided by your "Professional" business travel insurance here.
Transportation insurance: You can find information about the coverage provided by your transportation insurance here.
Freight forwarder's liability insurance: You can find information about the coverage provided by your freight forwarder's liability insurance here.
Property insurance: You can find information about the coverage provided by your property insurance here.
Daily sickness benefits insurance: You can find information about the coverage provided by your daily sickness benefits insurance here.
Mandatory accident insurance (UVGO): You can find information about the coverage provided by your mandatory accident insurance (UVGO) here.
Legal protection insurance: You can find information about the coverage provided by your legal protection insurance here.
Pillar 2 (AXA collective foundations): You can find information on the coverage provided by your AXA collective foundation here.
The General Insurance Conditions, coverage and exclusions may vary depending on the version of your insurance product. Please refer to your insurance documents and if you have any questions, contact AXA or your personal advisor.
The Federal Council has introduced drastic measures to fight coronavirus that have far-reaching consequences for the economy as well as the working environment. Many new legal questions have arisen in this regard. We are happy to answer your most frequently asked questions.
Employers can normally instruct employees to take vacation subject to three-month advance notification, but they must take employees' interests into account. Due to the current situation, there may be a pressing operational need to spread out vacation periods in a different way. To date, there have been no court judgments on employers instructing employees to take vacation at short notice under the current circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic. Employees must also be willing to demonstrate a measure of compromise in this extraordinary situation. We therefore advise you to talk to everyone involved in order to find individual solutions.
Essentially, yes they do. If employees would like to cancel approved vacation, they can only do so if the employer agrees to this as a gesture of goodwill. Although the measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic involve restrictions, rest and relaxation (the purpose of a vacation) are still guaranteed at the moment.
Based on the authority to issue instructions, an employer can require employees to work from home. In this case, employees must follow this instruction.
Employees must agree to compensate for overtime. It is permissible if an employer has the contractual right to unilaterally order compensation.
Employees may be required to work overtime; a pandemic may result in mass layoffs or additional work, therefore it is reasonable for employees to work overtime. Nonetheless, their personal circumstances, and family commitments in particular, must be taken into account.
Parents have to stay home under their statutory duty to look after their children. However, there is disagreement as to whether the employer is obliged to keep paying their salary or not. The newly introduced coronavirus compensation - which parents can apply for directly from the AHV compensation fund - has eased the situation in this respect.
The compensation is conditional on the following requirements:
The need for the applicant to look after his/her children must be due to measures implemented to fight coronavirus, such as closure of schools, daycare centers, nurseries etc.
The claim begins on the 4th day on which all claim requirements have been met, i.e. March 19, 2020 at the earliest, as all schools in Switzerland officially closed on March 16, 2020. The claim ends for employed parents if a childcare solution has been found or the measures to fight coronavirus are lifted. For self-employed parents, the claim ends if a childcare solution has been found, but at the latest if daily benefits have been paid for 30 days.
The obligations are set out in the COVID-19 Ordinance 2. An employer should allow people in this group to work from home, but this obligation is only mentioned in Sections 2 and 3 of the Ordinance. If it is not possible for these employees to work from home, the employer is only obliged to comply with the Federal Council’s recommendations on hygiene and social distancing through suitable organizational and technical measures. If neither measure is possible, the employer is obliged to continue paying the employees’ salaries.
The negative sentiment on financial markets is dominated by coronavirus fears. The global economic consequences of the health crisis have triggered heightened volatility on equity markets in recent days and sent share prices plummeting. We assume that volatility will remain high in the coming weeks.
This can be mainly attributed to the fact that the extent and future progression of COVID-19 and its associated negative effects, including secondary reactions, in the USA in particular, are not yet known in their entirety. A lot of countries have taken national and regional measures to slow down the pandemic and its further spread. (e.g. quarantine, school closures, ban on holding events and travel restrictions). All this is having a serious impact on various branches of industry and is leading to the collapse of global supply chains, which is slowing down economic growth (lower GDP forecasts for 2020).
Although a number of central banks and governments are trying to stimulate the economy by means of interest rate cuts and fiscal measures, such efforts take time to take hold, being naturally subject to a delayed effect. Even experts cannot yet fully estimate the economic implications of the coronavirus on the basis of current information.
At AXA Asset Management, we are closely monitoring the financial markets and current news as well as stepping up our exchange of views with our analysts so as to ensure that our portfolios are as well positioned as possible.
The investment strategies and asset allocation of the AXA collective foundations are factoring in risk capacity, are broadly diversified and are optimally aligned to guarantee the greatest possible protection for the pension assets of their insureds.
Our collective foundation portfolios are defensively positioned relative to the pension fund market with a lower average equity weighting of 25-30%. Furthermore, our diversified portfolios have proven their worth in recent weeks. For example, both our real estate (25-30% portfolio allocation) and our bonds (around 30% allocation) have gained in value and have been able to substantially mitigate the impact of the equity correction.
Capital markets, especially equity markets, are subject to fluctuations at regular intervals. The portfolios' professional diversification (in terms of asset class, region, currency, investment style etc.) has a stabilizing effect on their performance and the coverage ratio. Experience has shown that it is best to stay calm during turbulent times, to adopt a long-term perspective to the chosen investment strategy and to avoid any excessive reactions.
In addition to diversified investment strategies, our transformed collective foundations feature an optimized structure and financial base (high coverage ratio, low technical interest rate and market-appropriate conversion rates, very low share of pensioners). All the past financial crises have proven that a solidly managed foundation can resolve any underfunding over time and without the need for restructuring contributions.
The security of a semi-autonomous solution is guaranteed by a healthy structure, robust size and sufficient amount of equalization reserves. The risk of any underfunding of a collective foundation is borne primarily by the foundation itself and not by the insured SME. Given their very high coverage ratio since the beginning of the year, AXA's semi-autonomous solutions have a very solid financial cushion.
The environment has definitely continued to become more adverse for pension funds. In the case of the largest asset class – bonds – in which Swiss pension funds usually invest around one third of their assets, returns can no longer be generated due to negative interest rates. The BVG conversion rates laid down by law and the current retirement age require a certain target return, however, to ensure that pension promises can be kept. As we will probably have to contend with negative interest rates for some time yet, pension funds will continue to have difficulties to generate the required returns in the future.
The AXA collective foundations are ideally equipped, which is why we are looking to the future with optimism. Our insurance roots mean that we have long been entrusted with the task of investing the premiums and pension assets of our insureds securely and profitably. We duly targeted at an early stage attractive asset classes such as Swiss real estate, Swiss mortgages, foreign real estate, corporate loans and private equity and have acquired the requisite expertise to invest on behalf of our customers in attractive and sustainable investments. The switch from full-value insurance to semi-autonomous solutions has enabled the collective foundations to, among other things, raise their equity allocations as they are no longer subject to the strict regulatory regime of full-value insurers. This gives them additional options to seize high-earning opportunities for their insureds.
You will find the requirements here.
Additional information: In the case of risk persons or those in quarantine who do not work in a home office or cannot work from home, employers can apply for coronavirus EO compensation from their AHV/IV office.
A medical certificate pursuant to Art. 10c para. 2 of COVID Ordinance 2 (hereinafter: C-VO) does not trigger the obligation for AXA to provide benefits. Art. 10c C-VO serves primarily to ensure that people at especially high risk do not go to work and work from a home office instead. Pursuant to Art. 10b para. 2 C-VO, such people are deemed to be those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, debilitating diseases and therapies, cancer. If the employer cannot offer a home office, it must grant the persons in question leave and continue to pay their salary (see Art. 10c para. 1 C-VO). It is generally sufficient that an employee provides personal confirmation of being at especially high risk. If the employer has any doubt about such confirmation, it can request a medical certificate containing information as to whether the person in question is subject to one of the risk situations described in Art. 10b para. 2 C-VO. The certificate thus serves as confirmation or as a statement of the employee being in one of the above risk situations but is not evidence of their incapacity to work. In the case of risk persons and those in quarantine who do not or cannot work from a home office, employers can apply for coronavirus EO compensation from their AHV/IV office.
AXA provides daily benefits only if a doctor has certified incapacity to work. In the case of short-term incapacity to work, however, AXA does not strictly interpret its GIC rule in terms of the date of the medical certificate. Generally, the start of incapacity to work is based on the date of the reported start of incapacity to work, even if the medical certificate is provided a few days later.
AXA only verifies the date of the first examination if the certified incapacity to work appears questionable or is subject to doubt. In this case, the date of the beginning of the incapacity to work can be shifted.
AXA provides daily benefits only if a doctor has certified their incapacity to work.
AXA pays no daily benefits if a non-infected person who is albeit able to work is sent home in quarantine as a purely preventive measure upon the instructions of the employer. There is no illness that would entitle this person to benefits in such a case.
These are two different compensation systems that generally exist in parallel: Daily sickness benefits insurance compensates for illness-related loss of income. Short-time working compensation (KAE) provides 80% of the (effective) loss of income due to imposed short-time work recognized by the unemployment insurance office (ALV).
Yes, employers must pay social insurance contributions in the case of short-time working compensation in accordance with normal working hours, i.e. 100% of the salary. They must therefore pay contributions to the AHV, IV, EO, ALV, family compensation funds, occupational benefits and accident insurance. The unemployment insurance office reimburses employers their share of contributions paid to the AHV, IV, EO and ALV along with the payment of compensation. Payroll amounts must also be reported under daily sickness benefits insurance that are required in the AHV declaration.
Yes. Those for whom short-time working compensation has been drawn remain employed and continue to be covered by daily sickness benefits insurance. If both benefits are paid out in parallel, the question as to the coordination of benefits can be raised (see above "What takes precedence?"). Third-party benefits cannot be offset in the case of fixed-sum insurance.
In the case of infections with the coronavirus contracted while carrying out an occupation in a hospital or laboratory and that are thus deemed to be occupational diseases, our accident insurance covers the statutory insurance benefits, that is we assume the costs of medical treatment and provide daily benefits for incapacity to work related to the illness. This means that an occupational disease within the meaning of Art. 9 para. 1 UVG in conjunction with Appendix 1 no. 2 letter b UVV is present.
Yes, as long as the hospital or laboratory staff tested interacted with an identified patient or an infected patient and there is suspicion of their having possibly been infected.
No, these activities are not listed in the ordinance (Appendix 1, para. 2 letter b UVV) and thus do not fulfill the criteria of an occupational disease.
Answer (from the Federal Social Insurance Office): "An increasing number of companies are making use of the option of having their staff work temporarily from home/via telecommuting. If they work a limited amount of time from home, this does not change the insurance subordination of the cross-border commuters in question given the current extraordinary circumstances. This does not qualify as regular employment in multiple countries. Cross-border commuters from EU/EFTA countries who temporarily work fully or partly from their country of residence thus continue to be subject to Swiss social insurance legislation. It is not necessary to issue them systematically with certificates in keeping with the temporary posting provision (e.g. Form A1). A temporary fluctuation in the activity carried out in the country of residence as a result of the coronavirus has no effect on the insurance subordination of cross-border commuters who had already been working on a regular basis in multiple countries."
In these cases this is usually only short-term and temporary staff leasing. UVG coverage remains with the current company, i.e. with the company lending out the staff, because the employment relationship continues to exist with this company.
UVG coverage of temporary staff working on an on-call basis ends upon expiration of the extended coverage of 31 days after the person last worked. The persons in question can take out interim accident insurance (Art. 3 para. 3 UVG) to continue their non-occupational accident coverage. With this insurance, they can extend their coverage up to six months. Here you can find more information about interim accident insurance from AXA.
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