Health insurer CSS seems out of control

Lucerne-based health insurer CSS is suffering from mergeritis. (Image: media service)

Lucerne-based health insurer CSS has once again landed with a group company in last place in terms of solvency. This time it concerns the health insurance company Arcosana, which only has a value of 114 percent.

These are the results from the current list from the body responsible – the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). Though the value is not only comparatively poor – because it only just meets the legally required 100 percent – it’s also because other companies in the same FOPH-list easily reach values of 400 or 500 percent.

Legal requirements not met

In the 2021 solvency test, i.e. one year earlier, two companies of the CSS Group were already the worst health insurers in Switzerland. At that time  these were Sanagate and Arcosana. Both did not even meet the statutory minimum requirements – the only health insurers in Switzerland to fail the test.

Their solvency ratios were a subterranean 87 percent and 97 percent, respectively.

Wrong values assumed

As a solution CSS presented that the solvency-weak group insurer would merge with relatively-stronger Intras Health Insurance on Jan. 1, 2022, hopefully eliminating all the problems. “After the merger, the solvency ratio of Arcosana amounts to 150 percent,” the CSS media office had also told media.

Now, however, this latest table of the FOPH shows that all this is not true. The solvency of Arcosana was at the beginning of the year with an already mentioned 114 percent  – again only the tail light among all Swiss health insurance companies with this parameter.

Therefore, the group has surprisingly announced in media information to again carry out a merger of companies.

Same pills for an old problem

This time the basic insurance company Arcosana is to be merged with CSS Kranken-Versicherung as of January 1, 2023. The insurer is thus ending its multi-brand strategy, the terse communiqué declared. According to the statement, CSS made the decision to merge in order to avoid high premium jumps and to ‘strengthen’ its solvency.

However, it is now clear that the initial rescue measures at Arcosana were simply not enough. The Intras merger did not bring any solution with it’s too-tight capitalization.

Values severely delayed

The CSS health insurance company showed a solvency value at a good 244 percent at the beginning of the year. Customers of this basic insurance company must now virtually hand it over to the capital-weak Arcosana.

The question now is what solvency level will the newly-merged company ultimately end up with on January 1, 2023, in view of capital market capriciousness, cost increases in the healthcare sector and the political storm.

Fire under the roof

All the processes of the CSS Group, led by Philomena Colatrella, are already ‘unique’ in the Swiss health insurance market. If you consider, as reported by, that the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority – Finma – has just imposed a mega fine of 129 million Swiss francs on the Lucerne-based health insurance group, it becomes clear that there is fire under the roof of CSS and that many things are obviously spiralling out of control.


Health insurer CSS seems out of control

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