Coronavirus: Information for companies

Status: 6/15/2020

The coronavirus is currently posing a major challenge to many companies. We are happy to provide you with information on this page about:

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you are uncertain or have any questions. We would be glad to help. 

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    Are you a private customer?

    You are currently on the coronavirus information page for companies. You will find all the relevant information for private customers at the following link.

    Private customers

What we are offering you during the crisis: We are there for you

Do you as an entrepreneur need support on questions relating to the coronavirus or your insurance with AXA? If so, your personal advisor would be happy to provide you with assistance. 

What you can expect from us:

  • Financial and mental coaching training sessions (you will find information on the “Back to Success” brochure and on the crisis coaching initiative further down the page)
  • Support with overcoming the crisis and presentation of solutions for dealing with liquidity bottlenecks
  • Help with applications for short-time work, requests for a loan guarantee and with keeping an overview of other general and cantonal instructions
  • Discussion of solutions if you have difficulties paying your AXA invoices
  • Answers to questions relating to your insurance contracts
  • Advice via video
  • Corona information brochures per canton

Don't hesitate to contact us. We are always there for you.

If you don't have an advisor yet or don't have their contact details on hand, you can find a contact here.

Return to day-to-day work with our free “Back to Success” package

The coronavirus brought about an extended disruption to the day-to-day business of a lot of Swiss companies. Most of them have now resumed operations. Nonetheless: a lot of companies have had to contend with fundamental changes in the past three months.

We’d like to support you at every level of your path back to success. 

The new protection requirements, leading and managing during times of crisis and the right financial planning are presenting a lot of SMEs with major challenges. This is why we would like to provide you with two handy documents to help.

 Our “Back to Success” brochure: Companies have taken various emergency measures in response to Covid-19 and the lockdown. The next step involves getting to grips with the challenge of resuming business operations and finding out how to best prepare for the future. We’d like to support you in this with our “Back to Success” brochure.

“Back to Success” brochur (DE)

 Our Covid-19 Cockpit: The Covid-19 Cockpit is a tool that you can use to analyze your company's individual situation fast and easily. We developed the Cockpit in May 2020 in close collaboration with Swiss SMEs and you can now use it to provide your company with some customized recommendations.

Covid-19 Cockpit (DE)

Data protection: Simply download the cockpit and store it locally. AXA has no access to your data.

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    Mental support for coping with the crisis

    A lot of managers are facing new challenges in the current situation, which can be extremely stressful. As AXA does not want you to have to deal with this situation alone, it has teamed up with Swiss Resilience Hub (SRH) to offer managers coaching by phone or video call.

    Find out more about the offer.

Corona information brochures per canton

The Federal government and the cantons are providing a large number of aid packages. But gaining an overall picture of what is on offer is really not easy – especially as there are differences from one canton to the next. We would like to help you. Working in collaboration with our partner Consulta, we have put together canton-specific coronavirus kits for companies.

Legal tips from employees and employers on the coronavirus

AXA-ARAG lawyers have summarized the answers to our customers' most frequently asked legal questions. 

Here you will find information about short-time work, shop closures and the general challenges being faced by employers. 

Information about the coverage provided by our corporate insurance

The following links provide information about the coverage provided by your AXA insurance products:

Epidemic insurance: You can find information about the coverage provided by your epidemic insurance here

"Professional" business travel insurance: You can find information about the coverage provided by your "Professional" business travel insurance here

Transportation insurance: You can find information about the coverage provided by your transportation insurance here

Freight forwarder's liability insurance: You can find information about the coverage provided by your freight forwarder's liability insurance here

Property insurance: You can find information about the coverage provided by your property insurance here

Daily sickness benefits insurance: You can find information about the coverage provided by your daily sickness benefits insurance here

Mandatory accident insurance (UVGO): You can find information about the coverage provided by your mandatory accident insurance (UVGO) here

Legal protection insurance: You can find information about the coverage provided by your legal protection insurance  here

Pillar 2 (AXA collective foundations): You can find information on the coverage provided by your AXA collective foundation here.

 

The General Insurance Conditions, coverage and exclusions may vary depending on the version of your insurance product.  Please refer to your insurance documents and  if you have any questions, contact AXA  or your personal advisor.

Labor and contract law for SMEs during the coronavirus pandemic

The Federal Council has introduced drastic measures to fight coronavirus that have far-reaching consequences for the economy as well as the working environment. Many new legal questions have arisen in this regard. We are happy to answer your most frequently asked questions.

Labor and contract law

  • Can an employer instruct employees to take vacation?

    Employers can normally instruct employees to take vacation subject to three-month advance notification, but they must take employees' interests into account. Due to the current situation, there may be a pressing operational need to spread out vacation periods in a different way. To date, there have been no court judgments on employers instructing employees to take vacation at short notice under the current circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic. Employees must also be willing to demonstrate a measure of compromise in this extraordinary situation. We therefore advise you to talk to everyone involved in order to find individual solutions.

  • Do employees have to take vacation that has already been approved?

    Essentially, yes they do. If employees would like to cancel approved vacation, they can only do so if the employer agrees to this as a gesture of goodwill. Although the measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic involve restrictions, rest and relaxation (the purpose of a vacation) are still guaranteed at the moment. 

  • Can an employer instruct employees to work from home in the current situation?

    Based on the authority to issue instructions, an employer can require employees to work from home. In this case, employees must follow this instruction. 

  • Can an employer ask employees to compensate for overtime?

    Employees must agree to compensate for overtime. It is permissible if an employer has the contractual right to unilaterally order compensation.

  • Can an employer instruct employees to work overtime?

    Employees may be required to work overtime; a pandemic may result in mass layoffs or additional work, therefore it is reasonable for employees to work overtime. Nonetheless, their personal circumstances, and family commitments in particular, must be taken into account.

  • What claims do parents have if they need to stay away from work to look after children?

    Parents have to stay home under their statutory duty to look after their children. However, there is disagreement as to whether the employer is obliged to keep paying their salary or not. The newly introduced coronavirus compensation - which parents can apply for directly from the AHV compensation fund - has eased the situation in this respect. 

    The compensation is conditional on the following requirements:

    • External childcare is no longer guaranteed. 
    • The applicant is covered by mandatory insurance with AHV (i.e. they live or work in Switzerland).
    • The applicant is in paid employment or works on a self-employed basis.

    The need for the applicant to look after his/her children must be due to measures implemented to fight coronavirus, such as closure of schools, daycare centers, nurseries etc. 

    The claim begins on the 4th day on which all claim requirements have been met, i.e. March 19, 2020 at the earliest, as all schools in Switzerland officially closed on March 16, 2020. The claim ends for employed parents if a childcare solution has been found or the measures to fight coronavirus are lifted. For self-employed parents, the claim ends if a childcare solution has been found, but at the latest if daily benefits have been paid for 30 days.

  • How should employees in a risk group be protected?

    The obligations are set out in the COVID-19 Ordinance 2. An employer should allow people in this group to work from home, but this obligation is only mentioned in Sections 2 and 3 of the Ordinance. If it is not possible for these employees to work from home, the employer is only obliged to comply with the Federal Council’s recommendations on hygiene and social distancing through suitable organizational and technical measures. If neither measure is possible, the employer is obliged to continue paying the employees’ salaries.

  • Do I have to pay salaries if......
    • an employee cannot return from vacation because the authorities at the holiday destination are not allowing anyone to leave? No, there is no obligation to continue paying the employee’s salary. 
    • public transport has been reduced or canceled and the work cannot be performed at home? No, there is no entitlement to salary in this case either. 
    • an employee’s entire residential area has been placed under quarantine? Employees who are ordered to stay in quarantine by a doctor or the authorities are entitled to daily benefits under loss of earnings insurance (EO). Daily benefits amount to 80% of salary, subject to a maximum of CHF 196 per working day. Employees must themselves apply to the compensation office for this allowance. The claim ends when quarantine is lifted, but at the latest if daily benefits have been paid for 10 days.

Information about the implications of the coronavirus for your pension fund 

Financial markets

  • What impact is the coronavirus currently having on the financial markets?

    The negative sentiment on financial markets is dominated by coronavirus fears. The global economic consequences of the health crisis have triggered heightened volatility on equity markets in recent days and sent share prices plummeting. We assume that volatility will remain high in the coming weeks. 

  • What can this be attributed to?

    This can be mainly attributed to the fact that the extent and future progression of COVID-19 and its associated negative effects, including secondary reactions, in the USA in particular, are not yet known in their entirety. A lot of countries have taken national and regional measures to slow down the pandemic and its further spread. (e.g. quarantine, school closures, ban on holding events and travel restrictions). All this is having a serious impact on various branches of industry and is leading to the collapse of global supply chains, which is slowing down economic growth (lower GDP forecasts for 2020). 

  • How are central banks responding?

    Although a number of central banks and governments are trying to stimulate the economy by means of interest rate cuts and fiscal measures, such efforts take time to take hold, being naturally subject to a delayed effect. Even experts cannot yet fully estimate the economic implications of the coronavirus on the basis of current information.

  • How is AXA Asset Management reacting?

    At AXA Asset Management, we are closely monitoring the financial markets and current news as well as stepping up our exchange of views with our analysts so as to ensure that our portfolios are as well positioned as possible. 

AXA collective foundations

  • How are the AXA collective foundations set up?

    The investment strategies and asset allocation of the AXA collective foundations are factoring in risk capacity, are broadly diversified and are optimally aligned to guarantee the greatest possible protection for the pension assets of their insureds. 

  • How are the AXA collective foundations set up relative to the market?

    Our collective foundation portfolios are defensively positioned relative to the pension fund market with a lower average equity weighting of 25-30%. Furthermore, our diversified portfolios have proven their worth in recent weeks. For example, both our real estate (25-30% portfolio allocation) and our bonds (around 30% allocation) have gained in value and have been able to substantially mitigate the impact of the equity correction.

  • How are the AXA collective foundations reacting to the current situation?

    Capital markets, especially equity markets, are subject to fluctuations at regular intervals. The portfolios' professional diversification (in terms of asset class, region, currency, investment style etc.) has a stabilizing effect on their performance and the coverage ratio. Experience has shown that it is best to stay calm during turbulent times, to adopt a long-term perspective to the chosen investment strategy and to avoid any excessive reactions. 

  • What will happen if there is no major change in the situation on the financial markets this year?

    In addition to diversified investment strategies, our transformed collective foundations feature an optimized structure and financial base (high coverage ratio, low technical interest rate and market-appropriate conversion rates, very low share of pensioners). All the past financial crises have proven that a solidly managed foundation can resolve any underfunding over time and without the need for restructuring contributions. 

  • What does this mean for the coverage ratio of the AXA collective foundations?

    The security of a semi-autonomous solution is guaranteed by a healthy structure, robust size and sufficient amount of equalization reserves. The risk of any underfunding of a collective foundation is borne primarily by the foundation itself and not by the insured SME. Given their very high coverage ratio since the beginning of the year, AXA's semi-autonomous solutions have a very solid financial cushion.

Semi-autonomy

  • Why are we convinced of the merits of semi-autonomy in this situation?

    The environment has definitely continued to become more adverse for pension funds. In the case of the largest asset class – bonds – in which Swiss pension funds usually invest around one third of their assets, returns can no longer be generated due to negative interest rates. The BVG conversion rates laid down by law and the current retirement age require a certain target return, however, to ensure that pension promises can be kept. As we will probably have to contend with negative interest rates for some time yet, pension funds will continue to have difficulties to generate the required returns in the future.

  • What is our perspective of the future?

    The AXA collective foundations are ideally equipped, which is why we are looking to the future with optimism. Our insurance roots mean that we have long been entrusted with the task of investing the premiums and pension assets of our insureds securely and profitably. We duly targeted at an early stage attractive asset classes such as Swiss real estate, Swiss mortgages, foreign real estate, corporate loans and private equity and have acquired the requisite expertise to invest on behalf of our customers in attractive and sustainable investments. The switch from full-value insurance to semi-autonomous solutions has enabled the collective foundations to, among other things, raise their equity allocations as they are no longer subject to the strict regulatory regime of full-value insurers. This gives them additional options to seize high-earning opportunities for their insureds. 

Information about the implications of the coronavirus for your daily sickness benefits insurance

Daily sickness benefits insurance

Accident insurance (occupational disease, Art. 9, UVG)

Accident insurance in general

Your contact if you have any general questions

Would you like to file any claims or do you have any general service-related questions? 

Phone number: 0800 809 809

E-Mail: corona_unternehmenskunden@axa.ch

File your claims here online.

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