Zurich and the Vita Joint Foundations taking steps to assist customers

Zurich and the Vita Joint Foundations taking steps to assist customers

The corona virus is hindering business activity in a way that is posing huge problems for many Swiss SMEs, with demand plummeting, suppliers failing and direct meetings with customers prohibited. In the worst cases, business operations are subject to complete cessation. At the same time, there are often still fixed costs that have to be covered, such as rent, salaries and baseline energy consumption.

In this extremely challenging situation, Zurich and the Vita Joint Foundations are working to assist customers in decision-making regarding the new laws and regulations on employers' contribution reserves and the suspension of debt collection/debt enforcement holidays.

We are reducing the borrowing rate on amounts down to 0% to afford customers flexibility in making payments

Savings contributions for the Vita Joint Foundations will only be due on December 31 of the current year, as we are already giving customers additional time to make the payments. The premium contribution amounts for the risk insurance element are due on January 1. Zurich and the Vita Joint Foundations have decided to temporarily suspend, through the date June 30, 2020, the charging of interest on customers' outstanding pension fund contributions, effective retroactively to January 1, 2020. This means in other words that the borrowing rate has been reduced to 0%.

Dunning processes already ongoing will continue for outstanding contributions which were payable by or before December 31, 2019, for which reminders were already issued in February or March. This is because these contributions were already deducted from employee pay in 2019. Accordingly, we are obligated to collect these amounts to fund the entitlements of the insureds, in compliance with laws and contractual provisions.

We are offering generous options to customers experiencing liquidity problems who are unable to pay contributions due from the previous year, for which reminders have been issued, in the form of payment deferrals and installment plans. Customers are invited to inquire about such possibilities by phone at +41 44 628 72 87 or by email to inkasso.bvg@zurich.ch. Additionally, we will be temporarily waiving administrative fees on payment installment plans through the date June 30, 2020.

Utilization of contribution reserves:

In an ordinance on March 26, 2020 the Swiss Federal Council declared that for the next six months, contribution reserves allocated by employers may also be drawn on to pay employee contributions due, including outstanding contributions which were due prior to March 26, 2020. All that is required is an email from the employer with the withdrawal instruction stating the amount. The affiliation contract and/or retirement provision regulation/pension plan document do not have to be amended. Contributions will still be deducted from employee pay. Customers can submit corresponding requests to their customer service administrator or customer advisor.

No new collection procedures:

The Swiss Federal Council has declared the temporary suspension of debt collection procedures between the dates March 19 and April 4, 2020. The statutory debt enforcement holiday period then commences from the ending date, lasting until April 19, 2020. During this period, no new collection procedures may be filed.

All of these measures are aimed at a single goal: assisting our customers and giving them necessary leeway to get through the crisis at hand. And we will get through it – by acting together.