05.05.2020 – Helvetia Holding AG

Helvetia is offering a settlement solution to those Swiss gastronomy companies with a pandemic exclusion in their insurance policy, thus providing security for all involved

Media release

Basel, 5 May 2020

Helvetia is offering a settlement solution to those Swiss gastronomy companies with a pandemic exclusion in their insurance policy, thus providing security for all involved

Based on the clear exclusion clause in the epidemic insurance policy, Helvetia rejects pandemic coverage and continues to maintain this position – confirmed by a legal opinion. However, it is offering a settlement solution to Swiss gastronomy companies that have such an epidemic insurance and which have experienced losses as a result of measures to contain COVID-19. This gives affected companies an opportunity to compensate some of these losses, despite the pandemic exclusion. The settlement solution enables them to recover quickly from the effects of the pandemic and provides security for all.

Helvetia has developed a settlement solution for Swiss gastronomy companies that have epidemic insurance with a pandemic exclusion. This settlement solution is Helvetia's response to the fact that there are conflicting views on the effectiveness of the pandemic exclusion in epidemic insurance. Helvetia regards a pandemic as a risk that is insurable only to a limited degree, and has therefore excluded this event from epidemic insurance. Where there is no insurance coverage, Helvetia is not obliged to pay out claims. This view is also supported by a legal opinion provided by a prestigious law firm at Helvetia's request. However, until the Federal Supreme Court rules on the pandemic exclusion clause, uncertainty surrounds its interpretation. Such a ruling is likely to take place in a year or two at the earliest, which is of no use to anyone in the current situation. With this settlement solution, Helvetia aims to provide immediate security with a pragmatic solution in the form of a fixed sum to help compensate companies for losses caused by officially mandated closures designed to contain COVID-19. This is urgently required to ensure the successful reopening of gastronomy companies on 11 May 2020 after this unprecedented COVID-19 event.

Compensation for half of non-covered costs and loss of profits

The settlement payment, which is based on a flat rate and comes into effect regardless of legal conditions and without prejudice, compensates Swiss gastronomy companies with epidemic insurance that contains a pandemic exclusion clause for 50% of non-covered costs and loss of profit. This amount is determined based on the company's annual revenue, and will cover the duration of the mandated operational closure (16 March to 11 May 2020) and an additional half-month following relaxation of the Federal Council's measures. With acceptance of this settlement solution, the companies concerned also agree to adjust their current insurance product. Thus, Helvetia creates transparency and clarity. Although operational hygiene risks such as salmonella and legionella remain insured, no distinction is made between a local, temporary epidemic and a worldwide pandemic. The effects of epidemics and pandemics are excluded equally.

Security for everyone concerned

The proposed solution brings security to everyone concerned. Gastronomy companies will receive rapid compensation. The settlement solution will also provide additional certainty to all Helvetia's customers that their premiums are protected against incalculable major risks. Finally, the switch to hygiene insurance assures Helvetia of a shared understanding with the customer that claims resulting from a pandemic are excluded. The limited insurable risk of a pandemic requires new solutions such as exist in the form of pool solutions for catastrophic events, including natural hazards and nuclear accidents.

Broad support for SMEs

In light of the current situation, Helvetia offers its business customers assistance through a wide range of simple, pragmatic solutions. The insurer is granting rent deferrals and rent-free periods, and rent reductions on a case-by-case basis. Helvetia offers support in the event of liquidity bottlenecks, and is freezing collection and reminder processes until 30 June 2020 for premium paymentsdue from 1 February 2020. It is also triggering claims payments without delay. Helvetia advisors are supporting SMEs in their applications for government aid, and helping to clarify legal questions in collaboration with the insurer's partner Coop Rechtsschutz. The leading transport insurer in Switzerland is offering support to business customers worldwide that are experiencing blocked goods transport and supply chains. All of Helvetia's measures can be found at www.helvetia.ch/corona.

This media release is also available on our website www.helvetia.ch/media.

For further information please contact:


Susanne Tengler

Head of Investor Relations

Phone: +41 58 280 57 79



Jonas Grossniklaus

Senior Manager Corporate Communications & PR

Phone: +41 58 280 50 33


About the Helvetia Group

In over 160 years, the Helvetia Group has grown from a number of Swiss and foreign insurance companies into a successful international insurance group. Today, Helvetia has subsidiaries in its home market Switzerland as well as in the countries that make up the Europe market area: Germany, Italy, Austria and Spain. With its Specialty Markets market area, Helvetia is also present in France and in selected regions worldwide. Some of its investment and financing activities are managed through subsidiaries and fund companies in Luxembourg. The Group is headquartered in St.Gallen, Switzerland.

Helvetia is active in the life and non-life business, and also offers customised specialty lines and reinsurance cover. Its business activities focus on retail customers as well as small and medium-sized companies and larger corporates. With some 6,800 employees, the company provides services to more than 5 million customers. With a business volume of CHF 9.45 billion, Helvetia generated an IFRS result after tax of CHF 538.1 million in financial year 2019. The registered shares of Helvetia Holding are traded on the SIX Swiss Exchange under the symbol HELN.

Cautionary note

This document was prepared by Helvetia Group and may not be copied, altered, offered, sold or otherwise distributed to any other person by any recipient without the consent of Helvetia Group. The German version of this document is decisive and binding. Versions of the document in other languages are made available purely for information purposes. Although all reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the facts stated herein are correct and the opinions contained herein are fair and reasonable, where any information and statistics are quoted from any external source such information or statistics should not be interpreted as having been adopted or endorsed as accurate by Helvetia Group. Neither Helvetia Group nor any of its directors, officers, employees and advisors nor any other person shall have any liability whatsoever for loss howsoever arising, directly or indirectly, from any use of this information. The facts and information contained in this document are as up to date as is reasonably possible but may be subject to revision in the future. Neither Helvetia Group nor any of its directors, officers, employees or advisors nor any other person makes any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this document.

This document may contain projections or other forward-looking statements related to Helvetia Group which by their very nature involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and there is a risk that predictions, forecasts, projections and other outcomes described or implied in forward-looking statements will not be achieved. We caution you that a number of important factors could cause results to differ materially from the

plans, objectives, expectations, estimates and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements. These factors include: (1) changes in general economic conditions, in particular in the markets in which we operate; (2) the performance of financial markets; (3) changes in interest rates; (4) changes in currency exchange rates; (5) changes in laws and regulations, including accounting policies or practices; (6) risks associated with implementing our business strategies; (7) the frequency, magnitude and general development of insured events; (8) mortality and morbidity rates; (9) policy renewal and lapse rates as well as (10), the realisation of economies of scale as well as synergies. We caution you that the foregoing list of important factors is not exhaustive; when evaluating forward-looking statements, you should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties. All forward-looking statements are based on information available to Helvetia Group on the date of its publication and Helvetia Group assumes no obligation to update such statements unless otherwise required by applicable law.