Insurance litigation—Switzerland—Q&A guide
Insurance litigation—Switzerland—Q&A guide

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Insurance litigation—Switzerland—Q&A guide
  • 1. In what fora are insurance disputes litigated?
  • 2. When do insurance-related causes of action accrue?
  • 3. What preliminary procedural and strategic considerations should be evaluated in insurance litigation?
  • 4. What remedies or damages may apply?
  • 5. Under what circumstances can extracontractual or punitive damages be awarded?
  • 6. What rules govern interpretation of insurance policies?
  • 7. When is an insurance policy provision ambiguous and how are such ambiguities resolved?
  • 8. What are the mechanics of providing notice?
  • 9. What are a policyholder’s notice obligations for a claims-made policy?
  • More...

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to insurance litigation in Switzerland published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: February 2021).

Authors: Walder Wyss—Daniel Staffelbach; Dieter Hofmann

1. In what fora are insurance disputes litigated?

The fora where insurance disputes are litigated in Switzerland depend mainly on the parties (individuals or legal entities), their domicile and the subject matter of the dispute.

While Switzerland nowadays (as from 1 January 2011) has one unified (Federal) Civil Procedure Code (CPC), the organisation of the courts and to some extent the allocation of matters to these courts is a matter of the law of the cantons (member states), and there are 26 different cantons, each with its own specific court system. In other words, the issue of what court will hear an insurance dispute depends to some extent on the canton in question.

Generally speaking, there is a distinction between claims arising out of insurance contracts based on private law and claims based on public law, in particular social security insurance.

In general there are two civil court levels, a district court and a superior court on the cantonal level. However, in certain cantons (ie, in the cantons of Zurich, Berne, St Gallen and Argovia) there are commercial courts. In the canton of Zurich, it is often the Zurich Commercial Court that hears

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