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Financial Report


SERV closed its 17th financial year with a positive net income (NI) of CHF 13.4 million, despite above-average loss expenses.

The essential accounting requirements for SERV are formulated in the SERV Act (SERVG) and in the SERV Ordinance (SERV-V). SERV must keep its own accounts, be economically viable as an insurance company and manage risks for public and private debtors separately. To meet these requirements, SERV prepares financial statements on the closing date (cf. PDF Financial Statements, p. 61), consisting of the income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, proof of economic viability, segment accounting and notes.

Individual items of the income statement, the balance sheet and segment accounting are explained in more detail in the Notes. Items shown net in the financial statements are broken down in the Notes, which renders the calculation of net results transparent. This is significant particularly in the case of claims from losses, claims from restructuring, credit balances from debt rescheduling agreements and loss provisions, as these are valued in accordance with the accounting principles (AP) and reported on a net basis.

Income statement

SERV closed its 17th financial year with a positive net income (NI) of CHF 13.4 million, despite above-average loss expenditure due to defaults by two African countries (previous year: CHF 46.7 million), albeit with an operating loss of CHF 20.1 million.

Premium income fell from CHF 156.1 million in the previous year to CHF 88.1 million, largely attributable to the early termination of two insurance policies with partial repayments of CHF 44.8 million. The net special effect at the level of earned premiums amounted to CHF 24.2 million. Compared to the last 10 years, this was a slightly below-average year in terms of premiums. Average premium income amounted to CHF 94.4 million. At CHF 170.6 million, SERV again achieved the highest result in its history in terms of earned premiums.

Net income

in CHF million


Premium income

in CHF million


Interest income from debt rescheduling agreements amounting to CHF 17.6 million was largely attributable to the renegotiation and adjustment of interest rates in the agreement with Argentina. The special effect from the restatement of previous years amounted to CHF 11.8 million and interest income of CHF 3.3 million was recognised for the period to 2023. Pakistan also managed to meet its payment obligations again in 2023 (CHF 1.0 million). Furthermore, smaller interest payments were received from various other countries.

Loss expenses of CHF 222.3 million were largely attributable to provisions for losses resulting from defaults by two African countries with large projects.

The debt rescheduling results of CHF 26.6 million resulted from the reversal of value adjustments due to payments made and the improvement in the country risk category of one debtor country.

The strategic objective of becoming a “trade facilitator” remains an important cornerstone for SERV’s further development. As a result, new positions have been created in the core business as well as in the areas of insurance and finance. This has led to an increase in personnel expenses of CHF 0.7 million to CHF 17.4 million.

Financial income mainly comprises foreign currency differences and was positive in 2023 at CHF 11.3 million due to the strong Swiss franc. As set out in the SERV Act, SERV may only invest surplus funds with the Federal Treasury at market interest rates. The interest rate turnaround to combat inflation again allowed SERV to generate interest income of CHF 33.5 million on its financial investments, which currently amount to CHF 3.143 billion.


“The year was dominated by special effects, which contributed to a positive net income despite the high loss expenses.”

Yvonne Pusch

Chief Financial officer

Balance sheet

On the assets side, cash in hand and at bank increased by CHF 46.1 million compared to 2022 and are at a significantly higher level than in previous years, which is attributable on the one hand to the almost doubled interest income from financial investments totalling CHF 33.5 million and on the other hand to increased repayments from debt rescheduling agreements (particularly from Pakistan, Argentina and Serbia) as well as the very successful recovery efforts.

Credit balances from debt rescheduling agreements decreased by CHF 8.5 million in the year under review. On the liabilities side, the driving factors were the reduction of the unearned premium reserve by CHF 82.5 million and the increase of CHF 151.6 million in loss provisions.

As of 31 December 2023, capital totalled CHF 2.892 billion, CHF 13.4 million higher than the previous year. The total of RBC and CEC of around CHF 1.942 billion was CHF 129.5 million lower (– 6.3%) compared with the previous year as a result of the reduction in exposure to Category 7 countries. The compensation reserve (CR) increased accordingly by CHF 176.2 million to CHF 937.2 million. The CR allows SERV to manage the major volatility it is exposed to through country and debtor downgrades and elevated losses as a result of political and economic crises. This reserve also allows SERV to continue covering risks for export transactions.

All in all, SERV has a solid capital base for fulfilling its legal mission of promoting the Swiss export industry by providing effective insurance solutions, even in periods with an uncertain economic outlook. At the same time, SERV is able to soften the impact of any deterioration in risk ratings for countries and enterprises and has the buffer necessary to deal with any type of crisis.

Cash flow statement

SERV’s 2023 cash flow statement (cf. Cash Flow Statement, p. 63) posted a net increase of CHF 64.6 million (2022: CHF 151.0 million). In previous years, SERV generated an average cash flow of CHF 122.3 million per year. SERV continues to have excellent liquidity with CHF 3.252 billion, consisting of cash in hand & at bank and time deposits.

Cash flow from business operations was negative at CHF –13.9 million in 2023. Premium revenues in 2023 were lower than in the previous year and in some cases were not paid until December, as a result of which many were not received until 2024. At the same time, loss payments remained stable (decrease of CHF 1.1 million) and amounted to CHF 53.6 million. Loss repayments increased by CHF 17.3 million to CHF 30.6 million, which had a positive impact on the cash flow statement, while payments for personnel and operating costs increased (+ CHF 3.1 million).

Cash flow from investment activities includes both regular and unscheduled early repayments of credit balances from debt rescheduling agreements plus the corresponding interest, as well as payments in connection with capitalised IT project costs under intangible assets and interest income from investments. At CHF 79.6 million, this represents an increase of CHF 15.6 million over the previous year and is largely attributable to the almost doubled interest income from financial investments. Cash flow for this area averaged CHF 104.5 million in the past.

Proof of economic viability

In 2023, SERV showed positive loading in all segments. This means that earned premiums exceeded the actuarial risk, i.e. the average expected annual loss, which is the theoretical probability-weighted average potential loss calculated for an annual reporting period. The calculation is based on the loss probabilities and assumed recovery ratios.

The “public debtors” and “private debtors with del credere” segments posted a combined surplus cover of CHF 113.4 million on an operational level (economic viability 1), while the “private debtors without del credere” division posted a negative economic viability 1 of CHF 1.4 million. Due to the interest income from cash investments, SERV posted significant surplus cover of CHF 145.5 million for economic viability 2 for all segments except “private debtors without del credere”. Even with the interest income from cash investments, the “private debtors without del credere” segment remained slightly negative (CHF –1.3 million).

Since SERV was founded, the average surplus cover for economic viability 1 for the primary segment “public debtors” has been CHF 10.4 million and CHF 13.4 million for the primary segment “private debtors”. This means that economic viability 1 has so far been significantly exceeded for the primary segments. If economic viability on an operational level (economic viability 1) is positive, so is economic viability 2, unless SERV’s capital is burdened with negative interest rates.

Segment accounting

In the income statement by segment, items that are not directly related to an insurance transaction in a segment are distributed across the three segments using an allocation formula (cf. PDF Notes regarding the income statement, Comments 12–18, p. 71). Items are not broken down into segments on the balance sheet where doing so has only limited indicative value.

In the profit and loss account, the “public debtors” division closed in the red. This was primarily due to loss expenses. The success of the two segments “private debtors without del credere” and “private debtors with del credere” offset the loss of the other line. Experience shows that the annual results for segment accounting are influenced to a large extent by the loss expenses incurred and are thus very volatile.

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