The number of health insurers in Switzerland has again been stealthily reduced. But this time, for one company, the reasons for disappearing are different from the usual suspects.
Every year it’s the same guesswork: The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) publishes the list of health insurers approved for the coming year and at the same time – the new health insurance premiums .
What is particularly exciting then, however, are the names of those companies that are no longer included. The current list of health insurers for 2023 includes 50 names of approved health insurers. But the previous list still had 55 health insurers listed.
Dwindling number of big names
So five companies are missing. It is known that two health insurers of the Lucerne-based CSS Group have disappeared due to solvency problems. It concerns Sanagate and Intras, which were merged with Acrosana. In addition, it was made public that the Helsana Group has abolished its health insurance company Progrès.
The Compact health insurance company, which belonged to the Sanitas Group, also no longer exists. “As of January 1, 2022, the policyholders of Compact Grundversicherungen AG will be managed under Sanitas Grundversicherungen AG,” the group had succinctly announced.
The fifth health insurance company that no longer exists is KVF Krankenversicherung, according to research by muula.ch. The disappearance has not been noticed at all by the general public.
It was merged with the company ÖKK Kranken- und Unfallversicherungen by decision of the board of directors on 1.1.2022.
In 2021, KVF had still generated a profit of 2.6 million Swiss francs from around 30 million Swiss francs of premium income.
Death of a paper tiger
According to the commercial register, the company was then already deleted on 03.01.2022. The entry of the company had been made on 24.04.2008 at the Commercial Register Office in the Canton of Graubünden. Previously, the company name was Krankenversicherungen Flaachtal AG and had only been available to insured persons in the Canton of Zurich.
However, according to the latest annual report, KVF Krankenversicherung had in any case outsourced all work to its cooperation partner ÖKK Kranken- und Unfallversicherungen. This is the very company with which the company has now been merged.
Accordingly, KVF had no staff of its own. In other words, the health insurance company existed only on paper.
Problem of solvency
But why the merger then? Is it like the CSS Group, which merged its basic insurers and – as muula.ch found out – is also merging again so that the Lucerne health insurer can try to meet the legal solvency requirements?
“Not at all,” explained a media spokeswoman for ÖKK in response to an inquiry from muula.ch. KVF was financially ‘very healthy’ and had a high solvency, she substantiated.
In fact, as mentioned, the company recently turned a profit and had a good solvency ratio of 204 percent, according to the FOPH’s list.
Simpler IT systems
But the structural and market advantages of running KVF as a separate part of the ÖKK group of companies were no longer there, it said. With the merger, synergies could be better exploited, the health insurance company further explained.
This means that ÖKK can now simplify numerous processes as a result of the merger. Since the merger, various processes no longer have to be carried out twice. And two separate companies no longer have to be maintained with separate IT systems.
Secretly, quietly and silently
And why wasn’t there even a single media release about it, when ÖKK, to exaggerate, communicates every game of its sponsored field hockey club Davos?
There was no communiqué regarding the merger, it was said. However, ÖKK had already informed KVF customers, agents and insurance brokers in a letter about the integration of KVF into ÖKK back in the summer of 2021, the media spokeswoman elucidated in this regard.
Vanishing into thin air
Disappearances of the health insurance companies thus continues, unabated. In 1996, at the beginning of today’s mandatory basic insurance system, there were still about 150 providers on the Swiss market.
Only a third of them still have a pulse.