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Management Report

Financial year 2022

SERV issued new insurance policies worth CHF 3.296 billion for Swiss exporters in the 2022 financial year. Premium income amounted to CHF 156.1 million and new insurance commitments in principle totalled CHF 1.434 billion.

At CHF 3.296 billion, new commitment was markedly higher than in the previous year (CHF 1.933 billion). As a result, premium income was significantly higher at CHF 156.1 million, which is the second-highest income in SERV’s history. Buyer credit insurance for large infrastructure projects and projects in the textile sector in Ghana, Egypt, Türkiye, the United Kingdom and Uzbekistan were the chief contributors to these high premium revenues. Significantly more long-term loan maturities were insured than in previous years via some 56 buyer credit insurances. The highest single premium was generated from a large railway infrastructure project in Türkiye, for which SERV reinsured the UK export credit agency (ECA) UKEF for the Swiss share of the project.

The insurance income of CHF 131.5 million also includes interest income from debt rescheduling in the amount of CHF 10.1 million. Following the exceptional posting of negative loss expenses (income) of CHF 5.9 million in the previous year, loss expenses were higher than average at CHF 96.9 million in 2022. Not surprisingly, SERV had to set aside higher provisions for imminent losses in Russia. Although the repayments for some insured projects in Russia and Belarus were received without delay, the maturities of other insured transactions had to be restructured. Where payments remained overdue beyond the waiting period, SERV had to set aside provisions in accordance with its accounting principles (AP). Insured transactions to Russia are also expected to have a significant impact in the coming years.

At CHF 14.7 million, the debt rescheduling results exceeded the figure for the previous year (CHF 11.7 million). Personnel and non-personnel expenses were roughly in line with the previous year’s figure, while the financial result remained positive at CHF 1.2 million. All in all, this resulted in an operating profit of CHF 29.3 million. For the first time since 2016, SERV was able to generate interest income from funds deposited with the Federal Treasury. As a result, corporate income exceeded operating income by CHF 17.4 million.

Premium income

in CHF million


New Commitment



“The Switzerland Infrastructure team offers us a good instrument to market the expertise of Swiss industry in buyers’ markets and the attractive financing options that SERV cover can open up.”


Chief Insurance Officer

Marketing & acquisition

SERV expanded its acquisition team by two positions in 2022, thus further advancing its Pathfinding Initiative. By actively marketing in buyers’ markets, it gives Swiss exporters access to major international projects, particularly those in the infrastructure sector. In collaboration with SECO, Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), Swissmem and Swissrail, SERV forms part of the international “Team Switzerland Infrastructure”, which jointly markets the Swiss industry’s expertise in infrastructure projects in buyers’ markets and the attractive financing opportunities opened up by SERV cover. The team’s activities during the year included accompanying Federal Councillor Parmelin on a visit to India in October 2022.

SERV insured three projects via the Pathfinding Initiative in 2022. To date, 30 exporters have benefited from subcontracts totalling CHF 175.0 million. Several new projects are already in the pipeline for 2023. In addition, S-GE has brought in infrastructure experts as part of the federal government’s “Access to major infrastructure projects for Swiss SMEs” initiative. These experts identify interesting infrastructure projects for Swiss suppliers in the six focus countries of Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the USA. SERV therefore expects demand to increase in the coming years.

An important building block for Swiss suppliers’ access to infrastructure projects is attracting general contractors (EPC) to Switzerland. SERV is currently in regular contact with 14 EPCs for the purposes of implementing infrastructure projects. All in all, SERV considers itself to be well on the way to achieving its desired transformation into a trade facilitator.

Development of new exposure and new commitment

SERV approved 701 new applications in 2022, of which 582 were insurance policies (IPs) and 119 insurance commitments in principle (ICPs). The value of those 701 applications is significantly below the figures achieved in the past, although it should be noted that there is a tendency to bundle subcontracts. This means that SERV theoretically has a single policyholder, for example an EPC or a packager, as a customer. In reality, however, this single customer combines a large number of smaller subcontractors into one single transaction under its contract. New commitments rose by 71 per cent to CHF 3.296 billion. As ever, the volumes of insured transactions ranged widely, between CHF 16,547 and CHF 390.0 million. As is customary, the majority of transactions insured by SERV were for SMEs, which received around three-quarters of the IPs. However, the five largest individual commitments alone account for almost 40 per cent of the total new commitment. The most important destination countries for insured exports were Türkiye, Uzbekistan and the United Kingdom (major project with guarantors from Luxembourg). In contrast to previous years, two-thirds of the new exposure was accounted for by credit transactions with terms of more than two years due to the comparatively large number of buyer credit insurance policies issued.

From 2017 to 2021, the demand for working capital insurance and counter guarantees declined continuously in terms of both numbers and exposure. In 2022, demand for these products by exporters increased again, with the number of working capital insurance policies issued rising from 39 to 47. There was also an increase in the number of counter guarantees issued, with these rising from 143 to 159. All in all, new commitment from these products increased by CHF 123.1 million to CHF 591.7 million.

The volume of newly issued ICPs fell to CHF 1.434 billion in 2022. A notable feature was that many ICPs were issued for business on the African continent, for example for Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Togo.


in CHF million, as at 31 December


in CHF million, as at 31 December


in CHF million, as at 31 December


in CHF million, as at 31 December


in CHF million, as at 31 December


in CHF million, as at 31 December


in CHF million, as at 31 December

Exposure & commitment

SERV’s exposure amounted to CHF 10.174 billion as at 31 December 2022, CHF 250.5 million higher than on the previous year’s balance sheet date. The commitment on the balance sheet date was CHF 8.315 billion, which was CHF 1.226 billion higher than on the same date the previous year. The increase in exposure resulted from the new IPs.

The change in the current exposure portfolio is not solely due to the volume of new business. It is typically influenced by the writing-off of expired IPs, the repayment of insured export credits, and the liability period and exchange rate changes of the insured transactions.

As in previous years, SERV’s highest exposure by country was to Türkiye, at CHF 1.285 billion. Uzbekistan has moved up to third place in the country list by commitment, as a number of projects in the textile sector have been insured here in recent years. A further addition in 2022 was the Pathfinding project in the tourism sector, which is presented on page 25 (cf. In the field, New sales market for Swiss SMEs in Uzbekistan). Exposure to Russia has been declining for years and since the introduction of the sanctions adopted in 2022, SERV is no longer allowed to insure any new projects in the country, with very few exceptions.

National and international environment

In September 2022, the Federal Council decided to indefinitely extend the temporary simplification of the content rules adopted in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that SERV can insure transactions with a Swiss content of at least 20 per cent of the order value without additional proof. The cover ratios, which were also increased as part of the COVID-19 pandemic measures, were scaled back to their previous levels from 31 December 2022 (80 per cent for working capital insurance and 90 per cent for the counter guarantee).

International negotiations on officially supported export credits were dominated in 2022 by discussions about modernising the Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits (“Arrangement”) in order to simplify the rules and increase their flexibility. The aim of such a modernisation is to reduce the competitive disadvantages resulting from the relatively rigid rules vis-à-vis non-OECD countries. The rules must nonetheless remain in line with the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which aims to prevent the official subsidising of exports. The intention is also to incorporate the promotion of climate-friendly projects into the Arrangement. The participants hope to reach a consensus by March 2023. SERV is actively involved in ensuring that these objectives are achieved and that the Arrangement is adapted to current needs while maintaining a level playing field.

SERV can insure transactions with a Swiss content of at least 20 per cent of the order value without additional proof.

SERV again played an active part in the meetings of the Berne Union during the year. The priorities included the impact of the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic on business activity, the opportunities and risks of the increasingly important African market, and climate policy.

In addition to multilateral cooperation, SERV attaches great importance to maintaining and strengthening its bilateral relationships. It therefore maintains regular exchanges with other ECAs.

OECD country risk categories

As at 31 December 2022

Losses and claims

SERV reported 23 new losses in the year under review, for which it made indemnity payments totalling CHF 33.4 million. Most of these losses were small in size. In addition, there were several medium-sized losses and two larger losses in Poland and the United Arab Emirates.

Some losses were again able to be averted through prompt, active pre-loss management using measures such as restructuring due dates and extending cover. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the next crisis has erupted in the form of the war in Ukraine, and it is anticipated that individual – and possibly larger – losses are likely in the near future. SERV has set aside financial reserves for this purpose. To date, however, no wave of losses from the new crisis region in Eastern Europe has materialised.




in CHF million


In recovery, 217 claims in a total of 38 countries were processed. Recovery is often a challenging, protracted process that depends to a great extent on the country and on the debtor’s willingness or ability to pay. Initiation of legal action in the debtor country concerned does, however, give rise to some successes. Support from political actors such as embassies can also have a very positive effect on recovery in individual cases. The largest recoveries in the year under review came from the United Arab Emirates at CHF 6.4 million, from Congo-Brazzaville at CHF 2.1 million and from Switzerland at CHF 0.7 million.


in CHF million

Restructuring & debt rescheduling

The international agreement on a Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) for the poorest countries, reached in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, also impacts on the 2022 financial year: of the countries that have active debt rescheduling agreements with Switzerland, agreements under the DSSI were agreed with Cameroon and Pakistan to defer the 2020 maturities until the end of 2021. Repayments have been taking place since mid-2022.

Negotiations also took place with and Argentina and Cuba in 2022. No significant progress was made with Cuba; negotiations will continue in 2023. At the end of October 2022, the Paris Club creditors, including Switzerland, managed to reach a new arrangement with Argentina on the current debt rescheduling, comprising semi-annual instalments with a repayment period of six years until September 2028. The bilateral agreement with Argentina is expected to be signed in Q1 2023. The first repayment was made in December 2022.

The G20, the countries belonging to the Paris Club and other creditor countries agreed on a Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI (“Common Framework”) in November 2020. The aim of this framework is to find solutions for countries that require support beyond that of the DSSI to bridge their liquidity problems or whose sovereign debt is unsustainable. Ethiopia and Zambia have submitted applications under the Common Framework, which has implications for both SERV and Switzerland. No concrete solutions have yet been agreed with regard to the applications.

SERV is also impacted by the replacement of LIBOR at the end of 2021: six countries’ debt rescheduling agreements are based on LIBOR and will need to be adjusted to a new interest rate basis. SERV managed to reach new agreements with four debtor countries in the year under review, while Switzerland is currently negotiating with two debtor countries.

The other countries listed in the table “Credit Balances from Debt Rescheduling Agreements” (cf. PDF p. 62) with which debt rescheduling agreements were concluded in the Paris Club were able to meet their payment obligations in the year under review.

Risk Policy, Risk Management & Cover Policy

The Board of Directors is responsible for SERV’s risk management and its monitoring. It defines the risk policy and periodically evaluates the risk profile.

Risk policy and management

SERV’s Board of Directors (BoD) issued updated regulations on risk policy that entered into force on 1 January 2022. The main changes concern the treatment of ratings from rating agencies, the handling of concentration risks in the portfolio, regulations on permissible foreign currencies in the insurance business and the definition of risk tolerances for foreign banks as risk subjects and for private reinsurers.

In 2022, SERV stepped up its efforts to introduce holistic enterprise risk management.

In 2022, the BoD again examined in detail the risks faced by SERV. It determined that risk management was appropriate, both for the actuarial, financial, operational and strategic risks as well as reputation risks. The compliance management system, which was first developed in 2020, will be continuously refined to take account of the increasing requirements in this area. SERV conducts an annual audit of the risks handled by the internal control system (ICS) and adapts the key controls to reflect changes in workflows as necessary.

In 2022, SERV stepped up its efforts to introduce holistic enterprise risk management. A risk manager was appointed in November to help the BoD and the Executive Board to organise risk management. In addition, the topic of cyber resilience has been addressed in depth at all levels, various risk assessments have been carried out, and scenario and sensitivity analyses have been performed more frequently. SERV’s capacity to act remains assured in all of the tested scenarios.

On the basis of current market developments and, in particular, the business forecasts of its major clients, SERV regularly reviews its free capacities in terms of risk-bearing capital (RBC) and utilisation of the framework of obligation.

Insurance obligation

The Federal Council sets out a framework of obligation that defines the maximum scope of SERV’s insurance obligations. This currently amounts to CHF 14 billion, of which 72.7 per cent had been utilised at the end of 2022.

The BoD is also obliged to ensure that the Federal Council is able to issue instructions in the case of transactions of particular significance by informing SECO at an early stage. In 2022, four transactions underwent the process of identifying politically sensitive transactions that may be of particular significance. In the event, none were found to be of particular significance.

To increase future flexibility in managing the insurance portfolio, two insurance brokers were procured in 2021 through a public tender process to place exposures from the portfolio on the market wherever necessary. Such sales of exposures are aimed at reducing concentration risks or employed where country or counterpart limits have been heavily utilised. The insurance portfolio is analysed quarterly to determine reinsurance requirements. In 2022, cover was concluded with private reinsurers for the first time. These took place under the auspices of public procurement law.

Expiry of insurance obligations

in CHF million