The Federal Council emphasised that the situation of the Swiss export industry remains worrying and threatens to deteriorate due to the second pandemic wave. In the light of the recent adapted directive related to the Pandemic, the Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin has invited representatives of the export economy to meet in virtual mode on 24 November 2020 for a new exchange of views [SERV, Presentation 24.11.2020 below]. The Swiss Export Insurance (SERV) continues its support to reduce the risks associated with the recent epidemic and political unrest. To Swiss exporters, two financial products are of particular interest to you to lower your risk attached to your exportations to Central Asia.
Pre-shipment risk insurance and supplier credit insurance are interesting to Swiss exporters to Central Asia because both cover force risk attached to majeure outside Switzerland and risk that cannot be insured on the private market. Epidemics/pandemics are considered force majeure under their framework. Extraordinary measures taken by the government to limit the effects of epidemics, in particular COVID-19, may fall into the category of political risks. These risks are covered if:
- firstly, they were unforeseeable at the time of stipulation,
- secondly, they are the direct cause of the impossibility/unreasonableness of continued production/supply or non-payment of agreed costs,
- thirdly, it cannot terminate or cancel the contract or delivery without compensation, and,
- lastly, amicable dispute settlement failed with its customer.
The insured person must inform SERV immediately of any delays in delivery/performance of the contract, as SERV must accept these changes and amend the policy accordingly.
SERV’s pre-shipment risk insurance covers the exporter’s costs for an export transaction if production has to be stopped due to an insured risk. It can cover political risks and the del credere risk of the foreign customer. Pre-shipment risk insurance serves primarily to protect against the financial consequences of a production stoppage. If it is impossible or even unreasonable for the insured person to continue to produce or ship goods due to a breach of a contractual obligation by a customer (e.g. if the customer terminates the contract due to COVID-19 or refuses to accept other goods), your production costs are in principle covered by the insurance.
Supplier credit insurance protects Swiss exporters against the risk that foreign customers will not be able to meet their receivables in cash or on credit. Exporters receive their money from SERV if an insured risk leads to default. Generally, the insurance covers political risk, transfer risk, force majeure and del credere risk. However, the claim must be valid, binding and enforceable, which depends on your export contract. Suppose the insured claim exists and the default is due to the insolvency or refusal to pay of the foreign customer, in that case, the circumstance may qualify as an insured del credere risk. Also covered is the insolvency of the customer due to a pandemic.
Please note that exporters cannot insure deliveries against a risk that already harmed their productions or instalments. SERV’s insurance policy can only be taken out before the occurrence of an insurable risk. However, On 12 August 2020 the Federal Council approved an amendment to the Swiss Export Risk Insurance Ordinance (SERV-V). This temporary amendment enables the Federal Council to simplify the application procedure and to ease the administrative burden on companies during the recovery phase following the COVID-19 crisis. It enters into force on 1 September 2020 and expires on 31 December 2020.
We may help you to avoid and overcome your impediments, minimize legal risks while preparing your Swiss, Kyrgyz and international transaction documents and apply for the insurance at the export credit agency. If you want to know more about the services, please contact
Jomart Joldoshev Dimitrij Euler
- Website, Swiss Export Risk Insurance, https://www.serv-ch.com/ (Flyer: pdf (serv-ch.com)
- Directive, Swiss Export Risk Insurance Ordinance (SERV-V), https://www.newsd.admin.ch/newsd/message/attachments/62316.pdf – https://www.newsd.admin.ch/newsd/message/attachments/62317.pdf (German)
- Federal Council, Press Release, 12.08.2020 – Coronavirus : Assurance suisse contre les risques à l’exportation : simplification de la procédure de demande (admin.ch) (French) – Coronavirus: Schweizerische Exportrisikoversicherung: Vereinfachung des Antragsprozesses (admin.ch) (German)
- Federal Council, Press Release, 24.11.2020 – Nouvel échange du conseiller fédéral Guy Parmelin avec l’industrie suisse d’exportation (admin.ch) (French)
- Federal Council, Press Release, 24.11.2020 – Nouvel échange du conseiller fédéral Guy Parmelin avec l’industrie suisse d’exportation (admin.ch) (French) – https://www.admin.ch/gov/de/start/dokumentation/medienmitteilungen.msg-id-81295.html (German)
- SERV, Presentation 24.11.2020 https://slidesync.com/VLBDKg3v5o (German) or https://slidesync.com/VLBDKg3v5o?locale=fr (French)