An Interview With A Team Member

We interviewed Marcus Vinti, a member of the team and senior advisor assisting expats with insurance issues.  We asked him whether he would like to provide some insights into frequently asked questions on insurance here in Switzerland. Not only did he provide us with his experiences of insurance issues facing English speakers, he went the ‘extra mile’, as usual and produced a report for English speakers.

Marcus, Do you find that expat insurance needs in Switzerland are similar for all your clients?

As you would expect, I’m often asked the same or similar questions when I meet expats living in Switzerland. These vary somewhat depending upon whether they’ve just arrived or whether they’ve been here for a couple of years already.

New arrivals need to get the obligatory insurances such as health insurance quite quickly on settling here. There are also questions about car importations and third party liability. I really enjoy helping with the more complex issues such as a couple arriving already expecting a baby but without Swiss health insurance. Obviously they have a right to basic cover but there is a wide range of options which can give greater peace of mind.

Individuals and families who have settled here often have specific needs or questions about their insurance portfolio or even need another English speaking insurance agent after their previous one moved on. On other occasions, I’m often asked to review their total insurance coverage and determine whether there are duplications or overlaps in their portfolio. Helping people to have the same benefits but also save money on their premiums is something I can get my teeth into.

 Do you find that having spent time in London and Toronto earlier in your career has helped you?

Having lived in London, which is a cultural melting pot, it helped me understand not only the British people but also various other cultures. When I meet my clients we talk the same language and with that I don’t mean only the English language but the way I perceive and respond to their needs as I have also been in the same situation while living abroad. Having worked on projects for Deloitte Consulting in North America, Europe and Japan for many years, I’m very much aware of the differences between these parts of the world and Switzerland.

Which insurance issues give your English speaking clients the most difficulty?

Mostly they have difficulty in knowing which are the compulsory and which are the other important insurances that they need to have in Switzerland as laws and regulations for individuals who rent or buy property, have children at school in terms of personal liability issues etc, are very strict compared to other countries. Most of the time, if they do not seek advice to understand and thereby have the right cover for their individual situation, they get confronted with nasty surprises when unfortunate events occur. It’s unfortunately too late, then, to seek insurance cover.

I heard that you got quite deeply involved in a car import case and ended up at the Strassenverkehrsamt?

 Yes, I often help my clients with the paperwork of the Strassenverkehrsamt (Dept. of Transport) and accompany them when they have their car checked to get the Swiss number plates; very few speak English at the Strassenverkehrsamt and all documents are only in the three national languages: German, French and Italian.

Which regions of Switzerland do you cover?

 I mainly cover the German speaking part of Switzerland but have also customers in Geneva and surroundings as well as other French speaking cantons.

Marcus, Is there much difference between one Swiss insurance company’s offerings and the next one, aren’t premiums pretty much the same. Some would say we have a cosy cartel here?

 Some companies fluctuate with the premiums more than others, coverage is packaged in different ways so it’s not always easy to compare but the important thing is to have an honest insurance advisor who knows the market and can be open with his clients about the pros and cons of his product portfolio.  At the end of the day, some people don’t mind paying a bit more to have the certainty they have the right cover, for their individual needs.

How easy is it to change from one insurance company to another, I always thought that they try to get you to sign long term contracts?

It really depends on the type of insurance and what you want to save. For example, with car insurance, if you have an accident record you may find that changing insurance company will prove to be more expensive. The contract would anyway become renewable if you bought a different car so this is often a good time to shop around. Long term contracts help to keep the administration costs down,  insurance companies are happy to pass on some of these savings. if you have a one or two year contract, the insurance consultant would need to contact you every year/two years to renew the contract, this creates an overhead which is not cost efficient.



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Insurance in Switzerland located at Florastrasse 13 , 8800 Thalwil, Switzerland . Reviewed by 24 customers rated: 4.5 / 5