AXA Switzerland has already dealt with more than 760,000 claims this year. We took an impromptu look at some of the affected customers and brought a little surprise. The Ebner family has had a particularly turbulent year.
A nice weekend at the Europa-Park theme park came to an abrupt end one Sunday morning: “My mother sent a cell phone picture of our apartment block which was billowing out white smoke”, remembers Lora Ebner. She initially thought it was fog, then her husband Claudio received an SMS from a neighbor: “There’s a fire at the block, please get in touch!” Lora Ebner burst into tears thinking of the two cats at home and whether she had perhaps forgotten to turn off the cooker. “We were panic-struck and set off immediately. We spent three long and painful hours on the highway, not knowing what our home would look like”. In the middle of this, their small daughter Lia was only five weeks old at the time of the fire.
The young family finally arrived home around noon and were initially looked after by the crisis intervention team. The fire hadn’t broken out in their apartment, but in the one diagonally opposite, but despite that, there was major smoke and water damage. All of the apartments in the block were uninhabitable. “It was an awful feeling going into the apartment and seeing the damage”, said Lora Ebner. “The smell was disgusting, everything was wet from the fire extinguishing water, everything was ruined. But our initial concern was for the cats”. One of them was really scared and had hidden under the bed, the other one had inhaled smoke.
“It was an awful feeling going into the apartment and seeing the damage”.
The AXA claims adjusters rescued what they could from the apartment, cleared up and stayed in close contact with the Ebner family. “We’re so pleased that we were well insured - we couldn’t have organized anything ourselves”, said Claudio Ebner. “There were also parties in the block that didn’t have any insurance”.
Claudio and Lora Ebner moved into a new apartment with their little daughter at the end of October. The furniture is brand new. The interior furnishings from the old apartment had to be thrown away. “We were able to save a couple of photos and souvenirs - they weren’t damaged, but they simply smelt awful”. Friends, relatives and acquaintances were immediately on hand to help with clothes and baby goods. “The one good thing out of this misery was knowing that we weren’t alone”, says Lora Ebner. The baby gave them the greatest strength, adds Claudio: “We were at our wit’s end. But we wanted to be strong for Lia: we knew that we’d get through it.” Now the first Christmas is just around the corner, the first time it will be the three of them in a new apartment. “We’ve been busy baking cookies and are looking forward to the celebrations”, says Claudio Ebner. “Christmas is the crowning glory to a turbulent year for us”.
The case of the Ebner family is one of the approx. 760,000 claims that were reported to AXA Switzerland this year. AXA paid around two billion francs in claims payments to affected customers, injured parties, partners etc. The largest claims were mass claims such as flooding, fires in production facilities or single major loss events in the liability industry segment.
For private persons, motor vehicle claims are the most common, such as collision, parking damage or breakdowns. Here are a few figures from AXA in Switzerland:
The Swiss are also well insured in the home - for good reason, given that AXA has already received more than 75,000 claims for household contents this year, one third of which (25,000 cases) are thefts. Glass breakages are also relatively common with more than 10,000 reported cases. The most expensive household contents claim cost AXA CHF 390,000.
One of the most common insurance types in Switzerland is personal liability insurance. Compared to motor vehicles, claims here are relatively rare, but if something happens, it can cost millions. Because whoever causes injury to another person or damages third-party property must accept responsibility with all their income and assets. In 2019, AXA paid out approx. CHF 40 million to claimants. Half of the approx. 40,000 claims related to tenant damage.