The Swiss export risk insurance (SERV) came into operation on 1 January 2007 as a federal government undertaking. SERV replaced the Export Risk Guarantee (ERG), which was established in 1934. SERV insures risks in the export business, providing insurance to exporters, banks and associations that are not covered by private insurance.
SERV's primary objectives are:
- the preservation and creation of jobs in Switzerland;
- the promotion of exports by Swiss companies.
Swiss exporters can take out insurance through SERV against political risks, transfer difficulties and payment moratoria, force majeure, insolvency risks and risks arising from guarantees (bonds). SERV offers benefits that are equivalent in quality and price to those offered by governments in competing countries. SERV is committed to economic self-sufficiency. SERV's services generate billions annually in Swiss exports.
SERV is regulated by the Federal Act on Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SR 946.10). SERV honours commitments Switzerland has made in international agreements. These include in particular the OECD Export Credits Arrangement and the principles of the Berne Union.
In its business activities, SERV takes account of the foreign policy objectives of the federal government in the fields of environment, development, human rights, democracy and the peaceful co-existence of peoples. The Federal Council issues the ordinance, sets the strategic objectives, approves the annual accounts and the business report, and decides on the coverage ceiling and insurance policies of particular importance. In addition, the Federal Council elects the Board of Directors as the highest management body.
The Promotion Activities Directorate supervises SERV's activities. It holds quarterly supervisory meetings with the SERV Board of Directors and the SERV Management Board. The coordinating body for SERV within the federal government is SECO's Export and Location Promotion Section, which heads the delegation in the OECD Export Credits Arrangement and in the Paris Club, thereby safeguarding Swiss interests in international forums.